EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - By a unanimous vote, the Eau Claire City Council has passed a mask ordinance for the city.
The vote came after 1.5 hours of public comment and another 1.5 hours of presentation from Health Director Lieske Giese and debate among council members.
A total of 26 people spoke during public comment with 16 opposed to the ordinance and 10 in favor.
Giese said a face covering is a best practice to slow the spread of COVID-19 but it is not the only strategy needed. She said the mask is primarily to protect others.
She said there are four reasons to wear a mask; asymptomatic spread, source control - protective barrier, outbreak research and community spread research.
Some of those in favor of the mandate say while the mask may not comfortable it is a "patriotic duty." Those in favor added it protects others in society.
Those opposed say they should have a freedom of choice and that the virus is not at pandemic levels. Some pointed to case numbers increasing despite mask mandates being in effect at the state level.
This ordinance in the city of Eau Claire would only take effect if the statewide mask mandate ends - either by expiring, being voted out by the Legislature or by being struck down by a court.
The Eau Claire County Board also passed the mask ordinance at its Tuesday night meeting.
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