Reedsburg PD, Sauk County Sheriff won’t enforce mask mandate

By: 
Heather Stanek

People wearing masks could be see outside in downtown Reedsburg in this recent photo. (Photo by Heather Stanek)

Two area law-enforcement agencies will refer mask mandate complaints to the Sauk County Health Department.

Reedsburg Police Chief Patrick Cummings said it will be up to the health department to take any action, if necessary, and work with the Sauk County District Attorney’s office regarding complaints.

Cummings reiterated that people should not stop anyone who isn’t wearing a mask as they could have a medical condition or be facing circumstances that make wearing one difficult. Due to privacy laws, people do not need to divulge medical conditions affecting their ability to wear a mask.

Gov. Tony Evers’s mask mandate does allow people to forgo a mask for medical reasons.

Cummings also emphasized leaving at least six feet of space between others.

When asked about enforcing the mandate, Sauk County Sheriff Chip Meister said the responsibility lies with the health department, not law enforcement. He said he has met with the public health director and the district attorney and they agreed that the goal “is to educate people rather than punish people with fines.”

He emphasized that people should not call 911 for mask violations.

Meister added that his office will not be issuing citations to those not wearing masks as his department doesn’t have the time or resources to investigate these complaints.

“My deputies assume that if someone is not wearing a mask, they have a medical reason for not doing so,” he said.

Business may ask a person to leave the property if they are not wearing a mask. If this is the case, the person must comply, as it is the business’s private property. If a person refuses to leave, then the sheriff’s office can be contacted to report trespassing. In those cases, deputies will focus on the individual’s failure to leave the property and not whether or not they are wearing a mask, Meister said.

 

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