Wisconsin State Flag

On January 18, 2022, the City of Milwaukee Common Council passed an ordinance that would require masks to be worn indoors until March 1, 2022. The city’s acting mayor has not yet signed the order, but he has signaled that he is likely to do so.

The previous mask mandate under the “Moving Milwaukee Forward” ordinance expired on June 1, 2021.

The ordinance would apply to “[a]ny person 3 years old or older who is present in the city of Milwaukee.” A mask must be worn when the person leaves his or her place of residence and “whenever the person is in a building open to the public.”

The ordinance would modify the exceptions for “[p]ersons in settings where it is not practical or feasible to wear face coverings when obtaining or rendering goods or services to the extent necessary to obtain or render such goods or services” to include:

  • performers during rehearsals or performances;
  • individuals receiving dental services;
  • individuals receiving medical treatments; and
  • individuals who are eating or drinking.

The ordinance would repeal previous exceptions for individuals present in government facilities closed to the public, institutions of higher education, public and private K-12 schools, and childcare or youth facilities with approved mitigation strategies. The new ordinance would make an exception for those engaged in athletic activities. The ordinance would not affect the other exceptions, which include:

  • “Persons who fall into the [U.S.] [C]enters for [D]isease [C]ontrol and [P]revention’s guidance for those who should not wear face coverings due to a medical condition … [or] mental health condition, developmental disability, or for whom no other accommodation can be offered under the Americans with [D]isabilities [A]ct”;
  • “Persons who have upper-respiratory chronic conditions, silent or invisible disabilities, or are communicating with an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing”;
  • “Whenever federal, state, or local law otherwise prohibits wearing a face mask or where it is necessary to evaluate or verify an individual’s identity”; and
  • “Persons whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a face covering.”

There are no fines associated with violating the ordinance, but businesses that are not in compliance may face issues when renewing their licenses if the City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) receives multiple complaints about noncompliance. If the MHD receives a complaint that a business open to the public is violating the ordinance, it may send a letter explaining the business’s responsibilities under the ordinance. If the MHD receives a second complaint about the same business “at least one week after the initial letter [was] sent,” the department may follow up in person, by phone, or virtually to “develop strategies for compliance.” If the MHD receives a third complaint, the department may conduct an in-person visit, and if noncompliance is found, the department may submit a written statement regarding the violation to the license division of the city clerk’s office.

Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and will post updates in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.

Note: The acting mayor of Milwaukee signed the ordinance on January 20, 2022.


Browse More Insights

Fountain pen signing a document, close view with center focus
Practice Group

Employment Law

Ogletree Deakins’ employment lawyers are experienced in all aspects of employment law, from day-to-day advice to complex employment litigation.

Learn more
Businessmen walking and talking in empty warehouse
Practice Group

Workplace Safety and Health

The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) practice of Ogletree Deakins is characterized by the knowledge and credibility of our attorneys, and the exceptional level of service that we provide to our clients.

Learn more
Midsection of senior woman and female healthcare worker with hands stacked at retirement home
Industry Group


The attorneys in Ogletree Deakins’ Healthcare Industry Group understand the unique legal challenges facing healthcare industry clients that must balance vital and demanding work with numerous compliance regimes and heavy regulation.

Learn more
Beautiful modern hotel room and suitcase
Industry Group


Ogletree Deakins’ Hospitality practice is as diverse as the clients we serve. From bed-and-breakfast inns to destination resorts, and from fast casual restaurants to fine dining concepts, we understand our clients’ needs and challenges and share their commitment to providing exceptional quality, service, and value.

Learn more
Inside a large shopping mall in Almaty
Industry Group


Ogletree Deakins is a retail industry leader with clients ranging from brick-and-mortar retailers to online merchants, and small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations. We represent companies in a range of retail sectors, including but not limited to: discount stores, department stores, luxury retailers, home goods and specialty stores, home improvement centers, grocers, pharmacies, online retailers…

Learn more
Team of happy female soccer players celebrating their achievement on a playing field at sunset.
Industry Group

Sports and Entertainment

Ogletree Deakins lawyers understand the complexities and nuances of sports and entertainment businesses. We regularly provide advice and education to clients on sports and entertainment-related legal topics. We also understand the pace of the industry and the vital importance of keeping our clients on stage or on the field.

Learn more

Sign up to receive emails about new developments and upcoming programs.

Sign Up Now