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Lake Geneva aldermen will not require face masks in city
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Lake Geneva aldermen will not require face masks in city

Adrianne Melby anti-mask protester at Lake Geneva City Hall

Using face masks to illustrate her point, Adrianne Melby of Burlington demonstrates against a face mask requirement today outside Lake Geneva City Hall while aldermen debated the issue to guard against spreading the coronavirus.

For the second time, Lake Geneva aldermen today voted against requiring face masks in the community to control the spread of the coronavirus.

The issue was decided by a razor-thin margin of 5-4, with Mayor Charlene Klein casting the deciding vote to block a face mask mandate for visitors and others in the summer resort town.

A petition signed by more than 2,000 people had urged Lake Geneva officials to require face masks as a way of protecting public health among tourists and residents.

Despite expert recommendations for face masks during the coronavirus pandemic, many visitors and others in Lake Geneva do not wear masks in public, including in the city's crowded downtown shopping district. Many people spoke out against a mandate today, urging aldermen to vote down the idea of a face mask requirement.

The issue came to a vote at City Hall as Walworth County recently surpassed 1,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, double the number that had been recorded one month earlier. Of those, 20 people have died from the contagious upper respiratory virus.

Voting in favor of a face mask mandate were Aldermen Cindy Flower, John Halverson, Shari Straube and Mary Jo Fesenmaier. Voting against were Aldermen Tim Dunn, Joan Yunker, Ken Howell and Richard Hedlund, along with the mayor.

The city council voted in May not to require face masks, shortly after a state supreme court ruling removed other public health safeguards, bringing crowds of tourists into the city.


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