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Mask mandate for visitors in City of West Bend buildings fails by vote of 6 – 2

May 3, 2021 – West Bend, WI – Taxpayers in the City of West Bend turned out in sizable numbers Monday night, May 3 to encourage the common council to vote ‘No’ on a policy recommending visitors to City buildings wear masks through August 31, 2021.

Although it was not a public hearing, members of the community were allowed to speak and a majority echoed the same thoughts including, “masks don’t work, masks offer little protection, catching COVID from passing in a hallway is negligible, Dr. Fauci has flip flopped on the issue, it is day 422 of ’15 days to slow the spread’ half the country is vaccinated and deaths are low, the government can stop dictating my choices.”

One person spoke in favor of a mask mandate for visitors citing his medical background and training as how he came to his conclusion that masks were beneficial. Alderman Jed Dolnick and alderman Mark Allen also spoke in favor of the mask policy saying they listened to their doctors.

A motion was made by Dolnick and seconded by Allen to pass the mask policy however it failed 6 – 2. Those voting against the policy included alderman John Butschlick, Brett Berquist, Randy Koehler, Tracy Ahrens, Justice Madl and Meghann Kennedy.

Below is the story about the mask policy that ran earlier today.

There’s an interesting item on the West Bend Common Council agenda for Monday night, May 3, 2021.

The council will vote on a “Face Covering Policy for City Buildings.” The policy targets “visitors that enter a city building.” The new policy would run through August 31, 2021.

mask mandate

If you haven’t been to City Hall lately there are plexiglass windows from the counter to the ceiling between staff and visitors at every office from the city clerk to city assessor to parks to building inspection and city engineer.

Public bathrooms are not open to the public at City Hall.

Cleaning staff is always visible wiping down surfaces and staff wear masks which is currently recommended for visitors.

The county seat, Washington County Courthouse, is also located in the City of West Bend.

At the Washington County Courthouse there is no mask mandate for staff or visitors. There are plexiglass panels in place at the clerk’s office and highway department, county treasurer, etc. There are counter to ceiling windows in place at the Washington County Sheriff’s department, but it has been that way for years.

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Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann said, “This is strictly a policy decision from Washington County and it shows the difference on how the county runs its operation and how the city runs and what their priorities are and who they are serving.”

Schoemann said the county is very focused on the people.

“People have made it abundantly clear that they can make decisions for themselves and take personal responsibility for those decisions and exercise individual liberty,” Schoemann said. “I encourage all our staff to be courteous and do likewise if someone comes to their counter with a mask. We feel people can make adult decision and the city will make its decision.

Asked how another government building located within the city limits can affect visitors differently once they walk in. “We certainly operate out own building and I have a clear difference of opinion on how it should be run and that’s why we run it differently at the county,” Schoemann said.

District 3 alderman Brett Berquist has fielded a number of phone calls about tonight’s vote. “I will listen to hear what the rationale is and then make a decision accordingly,” said Berquist.

The update from Dist. 6 alderwoman Tracy Ahrens was posted on her social media today.

Very impressed by my neighbors and them paying attention to the Common Council Agenda. Agenda item tonight is to vote on the face covering policy for City Buildings. I am getting lots of phone calls asking me to vote no. Sounds like District 6 is not in favor of mandatory masks.

Click HERE to reach your common council representative. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. and the mask vote is the 15th item on the agenda.

There are 8 seated aldermen. If there is a tie vote, the mayor breaks the tie.

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