Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
A coalition of more than 70 Milwaukee businesses is calling on Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Common Council President Cavalier Johnson to require the wearing of masks in restaurants, bars and other businesses visited by the public.
In a letter to Barrett and Johnson, the coalition asks that customers and workers in places such as stores, theaters and museums be required to wear face coverings, as well as patrons in restaurants and bars when they are not eating or drinking.
The letter says masks would help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and suggests that a city requirement would give teeth to businesses' own rules about the wearing of masks.
Andrew Miller, chef and co-owner of Third Coast Provisions downtown and Merriment Social in Walker's Point, likened restaurants' situation to a dinner party at which the hosts don't know some of the guests and are left with the social awkwardness of having to explain unfamiliar house rules to them, such as the wearing of masks.
"That is alleviated a lot if it's coming from city officials and is public knowledge from the get-go," he said.
Restaurants are in the business of hospitality and want customers to be comfortable, Miller's business partner Cameron Whyte said, but he added that if masks can help lower the rate of virus transmission and protect the restaurant from having to close again because of an outbreak, "as a small business owner, that's something I can get behind."