Masking Proclamation

Mayor Ted Grant reads the voluntary masking proclamation. Language was changed in the proclamation and the subject will come back up at the Common Council's next meeting, which right now is set for Monday, Aug. 24.

Should Ripon have a proclamation calling for voluntary masking?

If so, how should it read?

That was the discussion the Common Council had Monday after Mayor Ted Grant, with the help of Ald. Al Schraeder, drafted a proclamation based on one in the city of Oshkosh.

The initial draft declared “that all persons who are present within the jurisdiction of the City of Ripon are strongly encouraged to wear a clean face covering any time they are, or will be, in contact with other people who are not household members in public or private spaces where it is not possible to maintain social distance or where recommended social distancing practicing are not being followed. These spaces include grocery stores, pharmacies, business locations, parking lots, sidewalks, and public buildings, and public transit. AND,

“That everyone is encouraged to show respect to those who are not able to wear face covering for medical, religious, behavioral or other reasons and to practice patience and to educate those who may not wear a face covering because they are not aware of the benefits of face coverings, have forgotten, or are not wearing face covering for other personal reasons. Likewise, the public is encouraged to respect those who choose to wear masks.”

ISSUES WITH THE LANGUAGE

The language in the proclamation was the first focus of council members as they worried the phrasing of “to educate those who may not wear a face covering because they are not aware of the benefits of face coverings, have forgotten, or are not wearing face covering for other personal reasons” might cause issues in the community.

“I believe that ... could be divisive,” Ald. Jim Werch said, noting similar remarks were shared in public comments about the masking proclamation. “So I don’t like some of the language in the draft.”

“The premise behind this was simply that we’re taking a position where we encourage people,” Schraeder added. “We don’t want people questioning each other or working to educate each other. And I would think that a second draft will eliminate that particular statement in the last paragraph. We want people to respect each other, we want people to understand that this is something that we care about in our community. This is an opportunity for the council to do that. I’m not in favor of mandating a masking policy ... but this is advisory in an attempt to support both those that prefer to wear a mask and those who do not prefer to wear a mask.”

IS A PROCLAMATION NEEDED?

Ald. Howard Hansen agreed with Schraeder in not supporting mandatory masking, a topic City Attorney Lud Wurtz noted he believes in within a city’s authority but would like more time to research. Hansen also went a step further, questioning the need for a voluntary masking proclamation.

Read the full story in the July 30, 2020 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

Jonathan Bailey has been covering sports and general news assignments for the Ripon Commonwealth Press since 2011. He is a former reporter for The Green Laker, a summer publication produced by the Ripon Commonwealth Press, and now is its editor.

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