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The Lake Geneva City Council met on Monday night to consider things as diverse as the BID’s request to revive Octoberfest (the council unanimously approved), the Peller assessment that’s been kicked down the road for ten years (it was kicked into October), road repairs for the entrance to Snake Road and Highway 50 nearby, and finally, the wearing of masks. It appears the governor’s edict about the wearing of masks (must be worn inside buildings where people gather, basically) is not strong enough for some. The council split in its vote and the mayor had to break that tie, and did so by voting ‘no’.

No to having the city attorney write a new ordinance that would have added local enforcement, as was done in other places like Shorewood in Milwaukee. A hundred and seventy-five bucks would have been the fine for failing to wear a mask into a Lake Geneva business or restaurant or other public gathering places. The discussion was heated, although nobody had any solution to the unknown problems dealing with enforcement. The Lake Geneva Police Department is not large, with less than forty sworn officers. How is this department, with three shifts per twenty-four hour period, supposed to be out there with about ten officers to enforce and write these tickets? And the tickets? Forfeitures, not fines. And what is to keep the potential violator from saying that he or she’s not wearing the mask because of a medical condition? One council member even went so far as to say that the medical condition explanation should just be accepted if given. Say what? How long would it take for every person not wanting to wear a mask to be using that excuse?

Here’s the good and bad about wearing masks: The good things about the wearing of the mask and those things not so good; the kind of mask seemingly no longer matters:

  1. It helps minimize the spread of the virus.
  2. It protects the wearer a bit but protects those around a lot more.
  3. It makes one much more anonymous (for privacy).
  4. It makes the wearer feel like he or she is part of helping.
  5. It allows for righteous confrontation from time to time.
  6. It prevents faster healing for facial blemishes.

And then there is the bad:

  1. It makes the more verbally articulate less articulate.
  2. It makes the hard of hearing even more hard of hearing.
  3. It takes the advantage of facial beauty away (this can also be a good thing for many).
  4. It prevents the transmission of so much non-verbal communication that the continuance of wearing masks may change the complete social structure of a culture.
  5. It makes one much more anonymous (for deception).
  6. It is uncomfortable and hot although with the onset of winter in northern states, maybe less so.

What you are reading about the good and bad about the wearing of masks comes down to trading. Is the culture going to trade the lives of the few for the potential lives of the many? Can intimacy be re-established in time to allow for relationships to be established and built upon? Can jobs that require close cooperation of many workers be rebuilt? Can the economy recover after being shuddered to a near standstill? The Lake Geneva City Council decided to allow the edict put out by Governor Evers to be the rule of the day, at least until the republican congress and supreme court of the state might rescind his ruling. Only then, following another council vote, will any mask ordinance be reconsidered. The Evers’ edict does have a fine, or forfeiture, as a part of it, but once again enforcement has become the issue.

No police departments or sheriffs in the state have indicated that they will enforce the fine section of the edict.

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