July 17, 2020
To our New Berlin Residents:
There has been a great deal of debate about the use of masks as they relate to the COVID-19 pandemic. The aldermen and I have been contacted by residents who want the City of New Berlin to mandate the wearing of masks in public places within the City of New Berlin. Like other Waukesha County municipalities New Berlin does not have its own health department and utilizes the Waukesha County Health Department for this service. Based on legal advice, an order from the City to require individuals to wear masks in public would not be enforceable and any such order would need to come from the Waukesha County Health Department.
Nevertheless, I encourage individuals to look beyond themselves and consider the community at large. A cloth face covering may not protect the wearer, but it may keep the wearer from spreading the virus to others. Wearing a cloth face covering may help protect people around you, including those at higher risk of illness from COVID-19 and workers who frequently come into close contact with other people. Recent studies show that a significant portion of individuals with COVID-19 lack symptoms and can transmit the virus to others. Individuals should keep in mind that in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering in public settings, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
In addition, if you personally are concerned about or in a higher risk category of contracting COVID-19 you need to take whatever steps you believe will best protect you and your family. Individuals need to avoid situations that they think may put them at risk. If you cannot avoid these situations, the CDC and the Waukesha County Health Department recommends wearing a N95 mask, which if worn correctly, will reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.
Information about Waukesha County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic may be found on the county’s website www.waukeshacounty.gov/COVID19 and on social media accounts. Waukesha County is also offering resources for businesses and residents to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through the “Stay Safe to Stay Open” campaign. More information is available at www.waukeshacounty.gov/safeopen.
I understand that this is a topic that can bring out strong emotions for people on both sides of the debate. I ask that no matter which side you are on, please try to respect others’ choices on this issue. This includes businesses that make the operational and health choice that they feel is best for their customers and their establishments.
Mayor Dave Ament