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Dane County health board opposes supervisor’s resolution to ‘pull back’ mask mandate

Dane County health board opposes supervisor’s resolution to ‘pull back’ mask mandate

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“Mask required” signs are posted on the doors of the Hamel Music Center.

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In a statement Monday, Madison and Dane County’s Board of Health called a Dane County Board supervisor’s proposal to “pull back” the county’s indoor mask mandate “extremely disheartening.”  

The board said in the statement that the resolution from Dane County Board Supervisor Jeff Weigand “suggests that public health decisions aren't based on science, facts, and data. 

“That is simply not true and further spreads misinformation,” the board said. 

At the end of August, Weigand introduced the resolution that urges Public Health Madison & Dane County director Janel Heinrich to “pull back” an emergency order requiring masks to be worn indoors until “public input and the consent of the governed has been achieved.” 

The emergency order, which was extended through Oct. 8, requires everyone age 2 and older to wear a mask when inside with people outside of their household. When the order was extended, Public Health included exemptions for playing a wind instrument that has a bell cover and while presenting or performing in front of an audience.  

“Wearing a mask is the least we can do to try to eradicate this horrible disease and protect our fellow citizens,” the statement said. “We should continue to follow the educated, trusted, expert guidance of our public health leaders in regards to these matters.” 

The Board of Health includes Dane County Supervisor Holly Hatcher, District 26, and Madison Ald. Lindsay Lemmer, District 3.

Weigand’s resolution also states that Public Health should hear from Dane County residents and gain consensus from supervisors before imposing mandates. 

“The issue needs to be voted on by elected officials,” Weigand previously told the Cap Times.  

The Board of Health argued that taking time to gather community input during an emergency situation could make the situation worse. The board “fully supports the use of Emergency Public Health Orders to continue to protect our community.

“Public Health deeply values the input of the community and key stakeholders and works hard to build relationships and engage with partners as much as possible,” the statement said. “However, during an emergency situation, taking additional time to gather community input could result in additional harm.”

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