MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee's face covering mandate expired Tuesday.
The city bumped the expiration date for the Moving Milwaukee Forward public health order up from June 15 following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's announcement that vaccinated people do not need to wear masks. The city's mask mandate is tied to the health order.
Barrett said he believes it is important to give area businesses time to make their own decisions as they determine the best policies for staff and guests.
"I think an obvious question, [...] why not today? Well, first, individual locations, such as businesses, schools, stores and event spaces can continue to establish their own masking requirements," he said. "So we are offering this upcoming 13 day period so that they can determine what's right for them. These businesses, these establishments, they know their client base, their customer base, their user base better than anyone. And we all know that the CDC is enough and was a very, very much a surprise announcement. We want to give these establishments 13 days again to decide what's right for them."
Officials said they still recommend mask-wearing, but it won't be mandatory. Additionally, businesses can still set their own mask rules.
Milwaukee health leaders said just over 45% of the county's population has received at least one dose of the vaccine and roughly 39% are fully vaccinated.
Officials are also urging anyone in households with children younger than 12, people who cannot get the vaccine, and people who are immunocompromised to still mask up.
Other Wisconsin communities are also dropping their mask mandates following the CDC announcement. Dane County's is set to expire Wednesday, while Eau Claire, Beloit and Racine are some of many municipalities that have since ended theirs.