EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Eau Claire County’s mask mandate expires at the end of June. With more people getting vaccinated and cities and states throughout the country lifting COVID-19 safety restrictions, when will Eau Claire stop requiring masks indoors? First News at Nine’s Max Cotton explains when you might be able to ditch your mask.
Despite more people getting vaccinated and cities and states throughout the U.S. starting to lift restrictions, Eau Claire City-County Health Department Director Lieske Giese said it’s still too soon to lift Eau Claire County’s mask mandate.
“We still have spread of COVID-19,” she said. “We still have very strong recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control federally and from the state as well as from our department that the best practice right now is to continue to wear a cloth face covering indoors and when you are gathering in larger groups.”
City Council President Terry Weld said council members are likely to follow Giese’s advice when deciding whether to terminate the mask mandate.
One downtown Eau Claire business owner, however, said he doesn’t mind the county requiring masks in indoor public places.
“I don’t think it’s a big deal. If wearing masks is what gets people back out and socializing and visiting businesses, I think it’s definitely worth wearing. As people continue to get vaccinated I think it would be good to start seeing the masks lift a little bit,” Wonders of Nature owner Chris Buske said.
He’s not the only downtown business owner who supports masking up inside.
Raggedy Man owner Matt Pabich said wearing a mask is something people need to do to get through the pandemic.
“If it has the ability to save lives, again, it feels selfish to not just do something simple like putting on a mask when you go into a public space that you don’t know everybody in,” he said.
Pabich also said he wants the city and county to listen to public health experts and follow the science when deciding whether to lift the mask mandate.
Buske said even if the mask mandate doesn’t go away soon, he still sees things improving for Barstow Street businesses.
“It’s nice to see with the vaccines rolling out that hopefully there’s an end to it at some point,” he said.
Buske says if the mask mandate goes away, he won’t require them in his business.
Pabich says he will in his.
In Eau Claire, Max Cotton, First News at Nine.
We also spoke with Eau Claire City Council President terry weld who told us he expects council members to follow the health department’s recommendations on masks.