You probably already know that masks are officially mandated by law indoors. In Milwaukee, the Common Council approved and Mayor John Barrett signed into law on July 13, 2020 an ordinance that anyone over three-years-old must wear a face mask in public and outdoors whenever within six feet of another person. This ordinance went into effect on July 15, 2020.
As of late, we have all seen how controversial the requirement to wear a mask has become in Milwaukee and nationwide. Some individuals feel it is their right to determine if they will wear a mask or not.
It's Your Responsibility
The law is very clear that it's the business owner’s responsibility to enforce this mandate within their establishments. Businesses are responsible for the behavior both of their customers and their employees, not the individuals themselves. If your business fails to enforce this mandate, it can and will result in a warning or fines up to $500 per violation. In cases of continued or blatant violation of the ordinance, business owners could lose their license to operate.
Enforcing The Law
This ordinance is not designed to specifically penalize the business owner, rather it was enacted as a means to protect the community against the spread. As with other policies that are designed to protect the health of customers, the responsibility for enforcing penalties for violation falls, not to police, but to the Milwaukee Heath Department (MHD).
MHD is conducting investigations for alleged violations, determining fines, and issuing penalties for businesses that violate or fail to comply. Any patron in your establishment can report a violation to the Health Department. Therefore, it is important that business owners ensure that all employees wear a face mask and adher to social distancing requirements. In addition, employees should be trained on how to enforce the mask requirements with customers.
I suggest business owners have visible signage requiring that masks be worn. Consider having face masks available for customers that do not have one but want to patronize your establishment. Enforcement of this ordinance is important because there is no penalty for the individual who violates the mask mandate; however, a violation can be reported to the MHD by anyone even a satisfied customer too uncomfortable to say anything but equally concerned about their health.
As of August 21, 2020, 18 businesses had been issued warnings with several restaurant and entertainment establishments receiving fines for violations.
Do you have questions about policies to adopt and implement in order protect your business? Could you use help training your employees with all of the new regulations? Schedule a consultation and I'd be happy to help!