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1. General Questions - Masks

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  1. Are masks required in the City of Milwaukee?

Yes. On July 13, 2020, the Milwaukee Common Council adopted an ordinance requiring that all persons wear a face covering in public spaces, indoors and outdoors. The ordinance goes into effect July 16, 2020 and will be enforced throughout the duration of the Moving Milwaukee Forward health and safety order. We are currently in phase 4.1. Please refer to the Order for details specific to each sector (milwaukee.gov/MMFS). This mask policy refers to any person leaving their private dwelling/property to wear a mask at all times, this includes work.   

  2. Why am I being required to wear a mask?

Research is indicating that wearing a mask is the best way to protect against COVID-19.   

  3. Where do I wear the mask?

The mask should be on your face and covering your nose and mouth.   

  4. What counts as a mask?

CDC recommends that you wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings. Simple cloth face coverings can be made at home and may help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

  • Make sure your cloth face covering:  

  • fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face  

  • completely covers the nose and mouth  

  • is secured with ties or ear loops  

  • includes multiple layers of fabric  

  • allows for breathing without restriction  

  • can be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape  

  5. How long is this policy in place?

There is no end date for the mask policy. It was in effect as of July 16, 2020 and we will continue to update as we get more information on how to best keep our communities safe.   

  6. Why did Milwaukee decide to do this now and not before?

We are learning everyday about this virus. As this is a novel coronavirus, we did not have the knowledge that we have today. The research is showing that wearing a face mask is the best way to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. We will continue to update as more information is shared.   

  7. Does my child need to wear a mask?

Any child ages 3 and older must wear a mask.   

  8. I thought the CDC said not to wear masks initially, why does the message about masks keep changing.

We are learning everyday about this virus. As this is a novel coronavirus, we did not have the knowledge that we have today. The research is showing that wearing a face mask is the best way to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. We will continue to update as more information is shared.  

  9. Do I need to wear a face covering or mask every time I go outside?  

Our ordinance requires masks outdoors when 6-foot social distancing cannot be achieved. We also have opted for self-enforcement here, meaning we hope people will use their best judgement to comply outdoors. We encourage our community members to be outside as much as possible even as temperatures fluctuate. We know that the outdoors is great for children and studies show that the virus spreads differently outdoors.  

  • The CDC does give general guidance on mask wearing. We know that the more people who wear masks, the better we are all protected.   

  • Any person 3 years old or older in the city of Milwaukee "shall have possession of a face covering when the person leaves home or other place of residence."  

  • CDC Considerations for Wearing Masks 

  • In regards to any person with a disability preventing them from wearing a mask, there is an exemption written into the ordinance. Persons who fall into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for those who should not wear face coverings due to a medical condition, mental health condition, developmental disability, or for whom no other accommodation can be offered under the Americans with Disabilities Act.   

  • Childcare centers can apply for an exemption with the MHD if they can demonstrate strong safety practices.  

  10. How do I properly wear a cloth face covering or mask?

All face coverings should:  

  • Fit snugly, but comfortably against the side of the face.  

  • Be secured with ties or ear loops Include multiple layers of fabric.  

  • Allow for breathing without restriction (cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 5, persons who have trouble breathing, or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance).  

  • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.   

  • Be frequently washed using a washing machine with detergent and hot water and dried on a hot cycle. They can also be hand washed with soap and warm water, and left to dry.  

  • After wearing your face mask, you should remove it carefully, avoiding touching your nose, eyes, or mouth until the face covering has been properly disposed of or placed carefully away to be washed.  

  •  You should immediately wash your hands before and after removal.   

  11. What precautions do I need to take when removing my face mask or covering?
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water every time you put on and take off the face covering. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  

  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when you remove the face covering.  

  • Do not put a used face covering in places where others can touch them or where germs trapped in your face covering can touch other surfaces, such as counter tops or a kitchen table.  

  • Do not throw your face covering loose in a bag or backpack. Keep a paper or plastic bag with you to store your face covering if you will be taking it off when outside the house.  

  12. How often should I wash my face mask or covering?
  • It is recommended that you wash your face covering once a day by hand or machine using detergent. The face covering should be fully dry before using it again.    

  • Disposable “procedure” masks cannot be washed, but may be used in a 5-7-day rotation to allow viral particles to become non-viable on the outer surface of the mask.  

  13. What if I am unable to wear a mask due to a preexisting health condition or physical or mental disability?

If you are unable to wear a mask due to an underlying health condition, or a physical or mental disability (that prevents you from breathing properly or prohibits you from putting on and taking off your mask properly), please do NOT wear a mask. This includes people who:  

  • Are 2 years old or younger  

  • Have trouble breathing  

  • Are unconscious, incapacitated, or not able to remove the mask without assistance.   

  • If you cannot wear a mask and need or want to go outside or to a place of business, please take important physical distancing precautions:  

  • Maintain a safe separation of at least 6 feet from others while outside, as well as inside any office or other building.  

  • Avoid crowds of any size.  

  • Try to visit grocery stores and pharmacies when they are less crowded  

  • Persons who fall into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for those who should not wear face coverings due to a medical condition, mental health condition, developmental disability, or for whom no other accommodation can be offered under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  

  14. Do I need to wear a mask inside if I live in an apartment building (or any location with more than one apartment)?

Everyone over the age of 3 years old who lives in an apartment building or location with more than one apartment should maintain proper physical distancing (also referred to as “social distancing”) in all common spaces by maintaining at least 6 feet between themselves and others. If you are not able to be at least 6 feet from others, then you must wear a mask in these common spaces, which include:  

  • Lobby  

  • Hallways  

  • Elevators  

  • Stairwells  

  • Laundry rooms  

  • Garage or parking lots  

  • Walkways   

  • Yards  

  • Other common outdoor and indoor areas shared by more than one apartment/townhouse when 6 feet of separation cannot reliably and consistently be maintained.   

  15. Who do I contact with violations or report?

We are asking that mask ordinance inquiries, violations or reports be sent to this email address: ASKMHDCOVID19@milwaukee.gov and that folks call 2-1-1. 

  16. What is the data on the monthly death data in the City of Milwaukee?

March: 16 

April: 105 

May: 72 

June: 48 

July: 21 

August: 15 

September: 3 

  17. What is herd immunity and what does that mean?

To understand herd immunity with respect to COVID-19, visit: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/herd-immunity-and-coronavirus/art-20486808.  The mayo clinic explains it better.  

Bottom line, we are learning that COVID-19 is quite an insidious infection.   That said, this poses some serious issues  when relying on community infection to create herd immunity.  

  1. It’s not yet clear COVID-19 infection makes a person immune to future infection. 

  1. Research has shown coronavirus reinfection 

  1. More research is needed to determine the protective effects of antibodies 

  1. A large number of people would have to become infected to reach the threshold of herd immunity.  

  1. The infection has led to serious complications leading to death, and recovery from COVID-19 itself can overwhelm the medical system’s ability to care for those in need of intensive care.  

  1. Allowing herd immunity to develop through natural infection will mean that many more hundreds of thousands of Americans will die.  If, however, we develop a vaccine and provide vaccinations this could achieve effective herd immunity for our population. 

 

2. Mask Distribution

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  1. Is the City of Milwaukee Health Department distributing masks?

The City of Milwaukee Health Department under resolution 200409, approved on July 13, 2020, was directed to establish a program to distribute masks to any City resident that doesn’t have one upon request. The City of Milwaukee Health Department will coordinate purchasing and distribution of free masks for the community. The Health Department will partner with other city entities including but not limited to the Milwaukee Police and Fire Departments, Public Library, and Community Development Block Grant neighborhood service programs for access. Additionally, a comprehensive community mask access plan will be developed by 7/31/2020 by the health department and vetted by the Board of Health.  

  2. Where can I find information on face mask distribution sites?  
  • In addition to the face masks distributed by the City of Milwaukee Health Department, Fiserv Forum serves as the distribution site for 2.5 million non-surgical face masks for MaskUpMKE, a Milwaukee initiative that benefits the medical and nonprofit community during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

  • The Restaurant Association are providing, for a limited time, limited amounts of free masks to businesses to make available for customers/patrons that forget their masks.   Please contact the Restaurant Association for additional details.  

  3. My organization wants to help make masks - how do we do that? 
  • MaskUpMKE is an effort to establish one central place for organizations and people in the City of Milwaukee to request handmade cloth face masks that are being sewn by local volunteers. This is a collaboration between many community partners.   

  • See the questions below for how you or your organization can give or get mask(s).Other sewing groups may join. Please email the City of Milwaukee Health Department at ASKMHDCOVID19@milwaukee.gov for more information.  

  4. I sew masks - where can I donate them? 

Log Cabin Sewing Company: We have been called to help! Join the Cause to Protect those that Help by Sewing Fabric Face Masks.   

  • We have now created a group of volunteers that are creating approved face masks for vetted local agency needs here in SE Wisconsin.  

  • 12520 W Hampton Ave ., Butler, WI 53007, US 

  • +1 262-202-8765, craftyperson@logcabinsewingcompany.com 

The Masked Sewists for SE Wisconsin - Can be found on Facebook   

MaskUp is an effort to establish one central place for organizations and people in the City of Milwaukee to request handmade cloth face masks that are being sewn by local volunteers. If you or anyone you know would like to sew masks and donate them, please contact ASKMHDCOVID19@milwaukee.gov for assisting in coordinating this effort.  

  5. I need a face covering - where can I get one?

Please check with your local pharmacy, grocery store, or other box store.

  6. Is it possible for me to make my own face covering?

You can make your face covering easily at home by using a scarf, bandana or other cotton cloth. There are a number of easy “do it yourself” videos and instructions to help you make your own cloth face covering at home, including:

· The CDC website has a few patterns, including one that involves a coffee filter and another that requires no sewing — just scissors and the willingness to sacrifice a T-shirt! Surgeon General Jerome Adams released a video of himself making a mask out of cloth and rubber bands.

· A simple no-sew mask that has a bridge for your nose, which can help keep your glasses from fogging up.

· There are many quiz sites online that may help determining what mask types may work for you such as: https://www.playbuzz.com/larak10/a-who-is-your-mask-and-the-person-behind-it or https://www.quizony.com/what-mask-do-you-wear/index.html Answer a few questions to find an easy, no-sew mask you can make and feel comfortable wearing.

· Homemade cloth masks can be found online. Look for ones made of cotton. If you order online, places like Etsy, which you can filter by location, allow you to support someone local and get a delivery more quickly.

· Residents who already have masks and/or the resources at home to make cloth masks are encouraged to defer supplies to those residents and families who are most in need.

 

3. Business 

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  1. How is the ordinance enforced?

The owner or operator of any building open to the public shall ensure all persons present in their building comply with the face covering requirements.

· The owner or operator of any building open to the public has the right to refuse entry or service to any person for failure to comply.

· Any owner or operator of a building open to the public that permits a person to violate in their building open to the public shall upon conviction, pay a fine between $50 and not more than $500.

· The Commissioner of Health and city attorney are authorized to pursue license revocation or a court order closing a building open to the public in accordance with state and local law for failing to require persons present to abide.

· Exemptions:

· In regards to any person with a disability preventing them from wearing a mask, there is an exemption written into the ordinance. Persons who fall into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for those who should not wear face coverings due to a medical condition, mental health condition, developmental disability, or for whom no other accommodation can be offered under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

· All businesses should seek legal counsel to establish a policy on face masks and how to enforce. Each business should post their policy online and on their door.

o Face mask exemptions may be denied on the basis of “direct threat.” There is still an obligation under the ADA to determine if there are other modifications that could be provided to access goods and services.

o Some examples include:

♦ Allow a person to wear a scarf, loose face covering, or full face shield instead of a face mask.

♦ Allow customers to order online with curbside pick-up or no contact delivery in a timely manner.

♦ Allow customers to order by phone with curbside pick-up or no contact delivery in a timely manner.

♦ Allow a person to wait in a car for an appointment and enter the building when called or texted.

♦ Offer appointments by telephone or video calls.

  2. Who do I contact to report business exemptions and enforcement?

CEHadmin@milwaukee.gov 414-286-3607

  3. I was told by a public venue that they will not follow the mandate or enforce it. Are businesses exempt in wearing masks if they choose?

· Businesses/operators of public venues are not exempt from the mask ordinance.

· The owner or operator of any building open to the public shall ensure all persons present in their building comply with the face covering requirements.

· The owner or operator of any building open to the public has the right to refuse entry or service to any person for failure to comply.

· Any owner or operator of a building open to the public that permits a person to violate in their building open to the public shall upon conviction, pay a fine between $50 and not more than $500.

· The Commissioner of Health and city attorney are authorized to pursue license revocation or a court order closing a building open to the public in accordance with state and local law for failing to require persons present to abide.

  4. Does the mask mandate cover weddings as well?

· Masks are required at weddings by officiant and guests just like at a restaurant.

· Brides and grooms are not required to wear a mask during the ceremony but must maintain six (6) foot distance from the guests and officiant

  5. Should I wear a face mask or covering while I exercise?

Yes! Everyone is required to wear a mask, even to exercise. If you are exercising and need to remove your face covering to breathe adequately, make sure no one is near you before removing it. Be sure to keep the face covering readily available so you can put it back on quickly and properly if someone comes within 6 feet of you.

It’s also important for you to stay at least 6 feet away from others while you are exercising outside. Only engage in types of exercise that allow you to keep a 6-foot physical distance from others and that don’t require shared equipment or close contact with others.

Cloth masks seem to allow people to breathe easier, especially while exercising, as they are more thin than other varieties.

  5. 1 Why do I need to wear a mask during fitness?

According to CDC, during fitness work out at any gym:

· Maintain at least 6 feet of separation as much as possible in areas that may lead to close contact (within 6 feet) among other people, such as weight rooms, group fitness studios, pools and saunas, courts and fields, walking/running tracks, locker rooms, check-in areas, parking lots, and routes of entry and exit.

· Ensure equipment is clean and disinfected. Wipe down machines and equipment with disinfecting wipes and use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol before using machines.

· Do not share items that cannot be cleaned, sanitized, or disinfected between use, such as resistance bands and weightlifting belts.

· Wear a cloth face covering when interacting with other people to minimize the risk of transmitting the virus.

· Wearing cloth face coverings is most important when physical distancing is difficult and when exercise type and intensity allows.

· Consider doing any vigorous-intensity exercise outside when possible and stay at least 6 feet away from other participants, trainers, and clients if unable to wear a face covering.

· Again, people who are engaged in high intensity activities, like running, may not be able to wear a cloth face covering if it causes difficulty breathing. If unable to wear a cloth face covering, consider conducting the activity in a location with greater ventilation and air exchange (for instance, outdoors versus indoors) and where it is possible to maintain physical distance from others.

  6. My organization needs masks - how can we get them?

If your organization is in need of masks, please submit your request to ASKMHDCOVID19@milwaukee.gov and someone will be in touch with you directly.

  7. When is a mask required when you are at a restaurant or bar?

Masks are required when you are not eating or drinking. If you have a drink in your hand or are seated at a table or bar with a drink or food, that is considered actively drinking and eating. Please make sure to put your mask on when you are not drinking, eating or moving throughout the bar or restaurant.

  8. Are masks required when you are in a drive thru?

Masks are required when you are at a drive thru. As an operator, you are not expected to refuse service if a customer comes to the window without a mask however it is encouraged that you make it clear to customers who approach the drive through that masks are required to ensure they are aware before they enter the drive thru line to avoid confrontational situations at the end of the transaction.

 

4. Schools

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  1. The Mayor’s order is for all schools to continue classes via virtual learning includes public AND private schools, correct?

Yes all schools must be virtual unless they have a Safety Plan approved by the Milwaukee Health Department. 

  2. What is the Department of Public Instruction Guidance for schools reopening?

The Department of Public Instruction Guidance for schools was released after Phase 4 on June 29th. It provides models for schools depending on what the state of COVID is and includes virtual and a combination of virtual and in person options.  It highlights:  

  • As schools reopen, the health of students, educators, and the community will require implementation of instructional models that are flexible and support local physical distancing guidance. Districts must also plan and be prepared for change throughout SY21. A second wave of infections could result in site, district, county-wide, or regional school closures, in which case instructional models must be able to accommodate shifts between in-person and virtual learning. The information below provides guidance for district consideration of in-person, physically distanced, and virtual learning options.  

  • The next school year will look different. DPI recommends planning for multiple scenarios.  Assumptions that go into this recommendation are as follows:  

  1. Schools should plan for change throughout the next school year. Schools and districts should monitor guidance affecting their communities and be prepared to shift between in-person, physically-distanced, and virtual learning throughout the school year.   

  1. New health and safety protocols will impact many aspects of school operations, including teaching and learning. Health and safety recommendations may change during the school year as new best practices develop and may vary from one community to another. Guidance from national, state, county, and city health officials will include general recommendations to be adapted locally. For example, guidance on physical distancing, surveillance measures, and disinfecting could impact decisions related to teaching and learning. In particular, the physical distancing guidance may lead to class size constraints best met by students attending school in staggered groups, in shifts, or in static groupings.   

  1. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “current data suggest a disproportionate burden of illness and death among racial and ethnic minority groups.” (COVID-19 in Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups, CDC).   

  1. Schools provide not only positive educational and social interactions, but also ensure students are cared for when families work outside the home. School closures and reduced time in the school building may put a strain on families needing to make additional childcare arrangements.   

Some staff and students may not feel safe coming into school buildings and may need to work and study from home.

  • Those over age 60 are in a higher-risk category due to COVID-19.
  • Staff may have underlying conditions putting them at high risk for infection as well.
  • Students may have underlying conditions or live with family members who are at high risk.  

 

Similar to how the CDC now advises on gatherings, they list school settings based on risk.  Anything beyond virtual poses a ‘more’ or ‘highest’ risk which we know as public health professionals is not appropriate to allow when our community is seeing increasing cases and considered a ‘red’ state in some analyses.  

  • Guiding Principles to Keep in Mind  

The more people a student or staff member interacts with, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. The risk of COVID-19 spread increases in school settings as follows:  

  • Lowest Risk: Students and teachers engage in virtual-only classes, activities, and events.  

  • More Risk: Small, in-person classes, activities, and events. Groups of students stay together and with the same teacher throughout/across school days and groups do not mix. Students remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects (e.g., hybrid virtual and in-person class structures, or staggered/rotated scheduling to accommodate smaller class sizes).  

  • Highest Risk: Full sized, in-person classes, activities, and events. Students are not spaced apart, share classroom materials or supplies, and mix between classes and activities.  

  3. Why allow bars to reopen but not schools?

Evaluating the two is done differently for a variety of reasons especially when looking at People, Space & Time elements of disease transmission. Children will be in school for 8 hours a day. It will be incredibly challenging to maintain distancing & hygiene consistently throughout the day. MHD has been monitoring outbreaks and honestly, bars and restaurants are not a prime source of COVID-19 in our community. We salute the restaurant and bar owners for taking the necessary precautions and voluntary closing if concerns about potential exposure to COVID-19. These establishments are also restricted under order 4 to 50% of building capacity.

  4. Many schools have done due diligence these past months in planning and implementing actions that will provide our young men and women with safe, high quality education. Why are we not opening the schools on an individual or case by case basis?

We are approving school in person instruction plans on an individual basis. 

  5. Milwaukee County suburban schools are reopening in the fall. Why would we not open schools in the city of Milwaukee?

The City of Milwaukee is following best practices and public health guidance to allow schools to open following protective measures including but not limited to: limited occupancy, social distancing and mandatory masks. 

 

5. Milwaukee Health Department

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  1. How many safety plans have you received from restaurants and bars that want to open without a capacity limit?   2. How many of those requests has the department approved to-date?   3. What are the names of the businesses approved to operate without a capacity limit?

The response to these questions will be updated through MHD press releases and will be posted on Fridays on our website: https://city.milwaukee.gov/MMFS  

Additionally, please view the MMFS Business Update - Resource Page which is also referenced on the website and is posted on our social media. 

 

6. Other

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  1. Does the mask ordinance relate to our location in 53209, city of Glendale? 

Yes. The ordinance is a mandate for the City of Milwaukee. Glendale City, 53209 is within the city limits and therefore the ordinance would be effect for that location.  

  2. Can an exemption be made for youth facilities for sports to be excluded from the mask policy? 

No. Soccer and other contact sports are not permitted during phase 4.   

  3. Are any other counties issuing a mask ordinance? 

Dane County issued emergency order in effect 7/13/20 at 8:00am that requires masks in public places. 

  4. Does the Milwaukee Police Department have to wear a face mask?

Yes, The Milwaukee Police Department is following the mask ordinance. There are circumstances in which an officer must act first prior to donning the mask. In these situations, the officer is instructed to comply with the face covering requirements as soon as it is safe and practical to do so. 

  5. Can I wear a face shield instead of a face mask?

No, face shields cannot substitute for face masks.  

  6. Can a person who is speaking to an audience, such as a pastor to his congregation, be far enough away to not have to wear a mask and therefore be able to speak clearly to the crowd?

Yes, if the speaker, presenter, pastor, is XX feet away from the audience, then the they will not need to wear a mask during the presentation. However, as soon as they are finished, they must put on a mask. 

  7. My face is breaking out from wearing a mask, what can I do to prevent this? 

The term “MASKNE” is being used for facial conditions resulting in face mask usage.  Preventative measures include: 1) changing masks frequently through the day; 2) mask washing after each use and 3) flipping the mask to use other side after washing.   

"There are no known medical conditions aside from a severe skin condition [like a very severe burn that needs medical attention] on your face that would prevent a person from wearing this type of mask,” David Kaufman, MD, pulmonologist and director of the medical ICU at Tisch Hospital, tells Health. “If you can wear a scarf to keep your face warm in the winter, you can wear a mask to prevent the spread of disease.”   

  8. Is the sun really a disinfectant? 

The sun does not disinfect Coronavirus.

  9. Is there an exception for people with religious beliefs that prevent them from wearing a mask? Is there any formal process that people need to go through in order to qualify for this exception, or can anyone just proclaim that wearing a mask is against their religion when confronted by a police officer or business owner? 

Yes there is an exemption.  There is no formal process. 

 

7. Resources

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  1. Where can I find the city’s dashboard and resources?
  2. Where can I find the city’s orders and sector specific webinars/tools?
  3. Is the city attorney weighing in on citizen questions?  

The City of Milwaukee Health Department will be routing all questions and concerns.  The city attorney will not be weighing in on citizen questions and concerns.  The state bar rules prohibit any city attorney from providing legal advice to non-clients.     

  4. Where can I find the Milwaukee dashboard and indicators?
  5. Where can I find data by the aldermanic district? 

Please visit the Milwaukee County COVID-19 Dashboard and filter for aldermanic district information. 

  

 

8. Holidays During a Pandemic

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  1. Trick or Treating in Milwaukee - Is trick-or-treat cancelled? 

No! The kids’ Halloween is not ruined. Like most things, Halloween is going to be different, but with a little creativity, we CAN have a safe version of trick-or-treat. Fortunately, most Halloween traditions in the U.S. are compatible with COVID harm reduction basics: wear a mask, keep it outdoors, and avoid crowds.  

Some parts of trick-or-treat will take a bit of modification, most especially: handling the candy and keeping our distance. Here are some specific tips to get ready for trick-or-treat.  

_________________________ 

Get your flu shot.  

What in the actual does the flu shot have to do with trick-or-treat?? Flu season starts right around the same time as Halloween, and it’s *also* really important that you not get the flu this year. Influenza is the most serious infectious disease that the United States faces in normal years, landing tens of thousands of people in the hospital. Since its symptoms are similar to COVID, the confluence of flu season and COVID is going to be one hot infectious mess. It’s more important than ever to not be that guy who gets flu and lands in the ICU this year.  

__________________________ 

If you are handing out candy:  

Your goals are keep your distance from the children, make it hard for kids to form bunches at your door, and avoid handling the treats.  

At a minimum, you need to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth, hand out candy using tongs or a grabber, and stay outdoors while you do it. In addition to the better airflow outside, being outside will reduce doorbell-touching and bunching of treat-seekers at your doorstep. Don’t let kids choose their own candy--this really slows them down, creating bunches of waiting kids we often see at Halloween. If you can’t do these minimum safety precautions, turn off your porch lights and sit it out this year.  

There are lots of ways to get creative with the idea of tossing candy. Here are a few ideas for no-contact outdoor candy delivery: dress as a detective, create a stoop “crime scene” and tape it off with caution tape, then toss candy out from within your safe zone. Build a candy delivery chute from PVC pipe and sit in a 2nd-story window, delivering precise doses of candy to the children below. Dress as a medieval knight and create a small candy-catapult. Personally, I am going to build a parade float in my front yard, dress as a pageant queen, and throw candy off of the float. Tossing treats will mean that kids need to be able to find it easily--so be sure your lighting is good.  

Coordinate with your neighbors if you can! Signs signifying “no-contact” candy delivery homes may help everyone feel more safe.  

_________________________ 

For trick-or-treaters:  

Choose costumes with masks that cover your mouth and nose. Adults too. Expert tip: be sure to test-drive the costume before the big night. Bulky masks that cover kids’ whole face (especially around the eyes) have a tendency to be removed. Take a standard, comfortable nose-mouth face mask along in case the costume mask comes off.  

Keep your group small and within your existing bubble. Do not let kids bunch up as you roam the neighborhood or form crowds waiting to get to a door.  

Keep your distance from those handing out candy. Encourage your neighbors to coordinate and find safer ways to hand out their candy using tongs, grabbers, or candy-tossing systems.  

If someone is handing out candy without a mask on, there’s a big crowd waiting at a door, or you just don’t feel safe for some reason--just skip the house and move on!  

Don’t eat candy on the road. This significantly increases the likelihood of spit and snot ending up on your kids’ hands, which can lead to germs spreading. Wash your hands when you get home. If you feel extra cautious, you could put your loot in quarantine for a couple of days before consuming.  

And finally, Be sure to tell your kids what the expectations are this year in advance, so that they know what they need to do.  

________________________ 

Of course, whether trick-or-treat is safe for you and your family--like everything else--is an individual risk calculation. There’s no way to make it 100% safe, but since trick-or-treat happens outdoors, mostly in family pods, and with masks on already--we think we can pull it off. That said, if you don't feel safe, sit it out.  

Take precautions and have a safe Halloween! 

 


 

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 FAQ (PDF)

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  What is COVID-19?

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that is spreading in the Milwaukee community. The first cases were found in China and have since spread around the world. The virus is not associated with any particular race, ethnicity, culture or age. Anyone is susceptible to COVID-19.

COVID-19 has a potential to cause severe illness is some people. It is spread through droplets in the air from people coughing or sneezing and can also live on surfaces like cardboard for 24 hours or on plastic for up to 3 days.

  What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?

Most people who have COVID-19 have little to no symptoms, but some people do and might have to go to the hospital. Most people who get sick from COVID-19 start to feel these symptoms between two and 14 days after they catch it.

Symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Body or muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of smell
  • Loss of taste


Not everyone with COVID-19 has all of these symptoms. For many, symptoms are mild, with no fever. It is important to know that you can still spread (transmit) the virus to others even if you have mild or no symptoms.

  How does COVID-19 spread from person to person?

COVID-19 is spread through droplets in the air from people coughing or sneezing and can also live on surfaces like cardboard for 24 hours or on plastic for up to 3 days.

COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person when people are in close contact with one another. When an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks these droplets can land in mouths, noses, or breathed in by people who are in close contact.

It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 from touching a surface or object that has the virus and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.

COVID-19 is very easily to spread between people. CDC has indicated that COVID-19 spreads easier between people than the seasonal flu.

  Can CoVID-19 be caught from a person who has no symptoms?

The main way the disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing. The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low. However, many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. This is particularly true at the early stages of the disease. It is therefore possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill. The World Health Organization (WHO) is assessing ongoing research on the period of transmission of COVID-19 and will continue to share updated findings.

  What can I do to protect myself and prevent the spread of the disease?

To stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • Staying home with your family
  • Washing hands and surfaces often
  • Keeping six feet or more away from others in public spaces
  • Do not meet in group of any size


Covering your nose and mouth with a mask. This mask can be made from cloth. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

You can learn more about the current situation at cdc.gov/coronavirus or by calling 2-1-1.

  Who is at risk of getting COVID-19?

Anyone who is close to someone who is infected with COVID-19 is at risk for catching the virus. The virus is not associated with any particular race, ethnicity, culture or age. Anyone is susceptible to COVID-19. This virus is now spreading person to person in the Milwaukee community.

  How can I prevent getting COVID-19?

There is no vaccine to keep you from catching COVID-19 coronavirus. The best way to keep from catching coronavirus is to: 

  • There is no vaccine to prevent you from getting sick with COVID-19. Do the following to prevent getting COVID-19:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after you have been in a public place, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not easily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Try to not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Practice physical distancing of 6 feet or more from other people. Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.
  • Stay home, save lives to prevent getting or spreading COVID-19 in the Milwaukee community.
  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
  • The CDC is recommending the use of a cloth face covering to keep people who are infected but do not have symptoms from spreading COVID-19 to others. Learn more at 
  • The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Medical face masks are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders, as recommended by CDC.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Be sure to follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product. Many products recommend keeping the surface wet for several minutes to ensure germs are killed. Many also recommend precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
  How do you treat COVID-19?

Most people who have COVID-19 get better just by resting, drinking fluids, and treating the symptoms of COVID-19. There is no vaccine for COVID-19. If you think you may have been infected with COVID-19, contact your health care provider immediately by phone. Follow all the care instructions from your health care provider and local health department. They may give instructions on checking and reporting your symptoms.

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the operator that you have or think you might have COVID-19. If possible, put on a face covering before medical arrives.

Emergency warning signs of COVID-19 are:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability arouse
  • Bluish lips or face
  What should you do if you are around someone who has COVID 19?

The symptoms you should look for are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Body or muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of smell
  • Loss of taste


If you get any of these symptoms within 14 days of being around someone with COVID-19 coronavirus, call your health care provider right away. Tell your provider that you might have had contact with someone with coronavirus and tell them your symptoms.

  I think I may have novel coronavirus (COVID-19). What should I do?

If you are having a medical emergency, please call 911. If you have health concerns that are not a medical emergency, please call your doctor before going in-person to a clinic or hospital. Your doctor will provide you with the next steps you should take over the phone.

If you do not have a doctor, please contact one of these health systems:

  • Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin- 414-805-2000
  • Advocate Aurora Health - 1-866-443-2584
  • Ascension Wisconsin - 833-981-0711

You may also visit Children’s Wisconsin 24/7 Online Urgent Care

If you do not have health insurance or you are not connected to a doctor, you may also reach out to one of the five Community Health Centers in Milwaukee:

  • Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center – 414-383-9526
  • Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. – 414-372-8080
  • Outreach Community Health Center – 800-952-1086
  • Progressive Community Health Center - 414-882-2040
  • Sixteenth Street Community Health Center – 414-672-1353

FREE Northside Testing Sites

FREE COVID-19 Testing
Open to the public. No Appointment necessary. Walk up or drive up. Monday-Thursday 11am-7pm, Friday-Saturday 11am-5pm (Closed Sunday). UMOS, 2701 S. Chase Ave. and Custer Stadium, 4300 W. Fairmount Ave.

Map of COVID-19 Testing Sites 
Anyone with symptoms should request to be tested. Try your primary care doctor first.

  Who can get tested for COVID-19?

If you have symptoms such as a cough or fever, but do not think you need to go to the doctor, stay home and rest. If you have trouble breathing or an emergency, call 911.

The rules for who is a priority for testing can change often. Please check back here for updates. COVID-19 symptoms may include cough, fever, and shortness of breath. People who work in health care or who are in the hospital will be prioritized for tests. High risk people such as people living in nursing homes or individuals with health problems will also be prioritized.

More information can be found on the Wisconsin Department of Human Services site What to Do If You Are Sick and at the CDC Priorities for Testing Patients with Suspected COVID-19 Infection

Additional testing information for Wisconsin can be found on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services COVID-19: Health Care Providers webpage under testing criteria. 

FREE Northside Testing Sites

FREE COVID-19 Testing
Open to the public. No Appointment necessary. Walk up or drive up. Monday-Thursday 11am-7pm, Friday-Saturday 11am-5pm (Closed Sunday). UMOS, 2701 S. Chase Ave. and Custer Stadium, 4300 W. Fairmount Ave.

Map of COVID-19 Testing Sites 
Anyone with symptoms should request to be tested. Try your primary care doctor first.

  I received a COVID-19 test and am waiting for my test results. What should I do now?

Follow the directions given to you by your doctor.

While waiting for your test results, stay home and stay away from other people including family and roommates living in your home. Stay in a separate room from your family members if possible. Drink plenty of water and rest while staying home.

Monitor your symptoms. If your symptoms get worse, such as shortness of breath, a worse cough, or fever (fever is over 101 for more than 3 days or your fever is over 100.4 for more than 5 days), call your doctor. If you experience a medical emergency, call 911.

Wear a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth if you need to be around others. For more information on creating a homemade cloth face covering, please view the CDC resource on the use of cloth face coverings

  I am traveling or just returned from a trip. What should I do?

Travel guidelines are changing rapidly. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services' website

  What does isolation and quarantine mean?

Isolation and quarantine are two actions that can be taken by Public Health Agencies to help protect the public by preventing and containing the spread of a contagious disease. The goal is to stop more people from becoming infected. Isolation separates sick people who are known to have an illness or disease from people who are not sick. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who have been exposed to an illness or disease while they are being monitored to determine whether they become sick. For COVID-19, the incubation period is a maximum of 14 days, therefore this is the time period that is used to determine the length of quarantine.

When Public Health Agencies takes the action of isolating or quarantining, then everyone involved may become part of the legal process. Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 252 Communicable Diseases, specifically § 252.06, authorizes the use of isolation and/or quarantine to stop the spread of a communicable disease.

  What should patients do if they are quarantined?

While quarantined, the patient:

  • May not leave their home or place of containment without prior approval by the health officer or their legal designee
  • May not have contact with any new non-previously exposed people unless approved by the health officer
  • Must be under medical supervision for monitoring, diagnostic testing and collection of blood and other samples
  • May not remove or deface any warnings or placards posted by the health department
  • Has the right to confer with legal counsel

 

Monitoring: 
14 days after the last possible exposure/return from a level 3 area, the patient must:

  • Take their temperature two-times daily; and (report above ~100.4 degrees Fahrenheit )
  • Watch for COVID-2019 symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath); and
  • On a daily basis permit a public health official to directly observe one or both of the temperature checks and review symptoms; and,
  • Immediately report to public health officials if they have any symptoms; and,
  • Discuss with public health officials their plans for activities so they can determine whether these are allowed.

 

Movement:

  • Quarantined patients should not travel by any commercial conveyances (e.g., airplane, ship, long-distance bus, or train). Local use of public transportation (e.g., taxi, bus, subway) and travel should be discussed and coordinated with the public health department. If local public transportation is used, the patient must be able to exit quickly if they feel ill. Travel by private car is permitted.
  • Do not go to bars, restaurants, shopping centers, theaters, church, or any public places where they will be sitting or standing less than 6 feet away from others.
  • Do not go to their workplace (telework is permitted).
  • Do not go to school (which is currently closed).
  • Additional movement restrictions may be defined by your health department depending on circumstances (e.g. healthcare provider, first responders).
  What is the guidance for emergency workers (MFD, MPD, EMS)?

Travel is not in the equation any longer for this group. If the individual came in contact (within 6 feet of the person) with a known case (someone who tested positive) for more than 10 minutes, they are required to self-quarantine and monitor for symptoms. Monitoring for symptoms means reporting immediately if the client has one or more of the following:

  • Fever (100.4 or higher) **must take temperature two-times daily
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  Will I be evicted if I can’t afford my rent?

No, not at this time. Governor Evers had banned evictions and foreclosures in the state of Wisconsin for 60 days starting Friday March 27, 2020. Evictions are still allowed in domestic violence cases or when someone may face physical harm. This order does not include individuals on month-to-month leases.

  Will my utilities be shut off if I can’t afford to pay them?

No, not at this time. Governor Tony Evers of Wisconsin has issued Emergency Order #11 which states that public utilities will waive late feeds and temporarily suspend utility disconnections (unless needed for safety). More information can be found in Emergency Order #11

  Can I have sex? Here are some tips.

Know how COVID-19 spreads.

  • You can get COVID-19 from a person who has it.
    • The virus can spread to people who are within about 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 when that person coughs or sneezes.
    • The virus can spread through direct contact with their saliva or mucus.
  • We still have a lot to learn about COVID-19 and sex.
    • COVID-19 has been found in feces of people who are infected with the virus.
    • COVID-19 has not yet been found in semen or vaginal fluid.
    • We know that other coronaviruses do not efficiently transmit through sex.

 

Have sex with people close to you.

  • You are your safest sex partner. Masturbation will not spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands (and any sex toys) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after sex.
  • The next safest partner is someone you live with. Having close contact — including sex — with only a small circle of people helps prevent spreading COVID-19. Have sex only with consenting partners.
  • You should avoid close contact — including sex — with anyone outside your household.
  • If you do have sex with others, have as few partners as possible.
  • If you usually meet your sex partners online or make a living by having sex, consider taking a break from in-person dates. Video dates, sexting or chat rooms may be options for you.

 

Take care during sex.

  • Kissing can easily pass COVID-19. Avoid kissing anyone who is not part of your small circle of close contacts.
  • Rimming (mouth on anus) might spread COVID-19. Virus in feces may enter your mouth.
  • Condoms and dental dams can reduce contact with saliva or feces, especially during oral or anal sex.
  • Washing up before and after sex is more important than ever.
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Wash sex toys with soap and warm water.
    • Disinfect keyboards and touch screens that you share with others
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