Wittenberg Village Board votes to change mask mandate

Mask mandate changed from required to strongly recommended at community center
Signs are up at the Wittenberg Community Center detailing that the center now strongly recommends wearing masks rather than requiring them.
Luke Reimer | NEW Media
Luke Reimer

The Wittenberg Village Board voted to adjust the mask mandate in the village’s community center April 20.

The change in the mask mandate goes from requiring that masks are worn to strongly recommending that masks are worn.

The change is coming on the heels of vaccinations being more readily available for members of the Wittenberg community. With the staff at the community center getting vaccinated, a conversation arose of the need to keep the mandate in place.

“Now that our staff has been vaccinated, I think a lot of it was to keep our staff and visitors safe,” said Barb Buchholz, board trustee.

Members of the village board have noticed that visitors in the audience have attended the meetings without a mask on.

“We have had people come to meetings and they weren’t wearing them, even though we mandated it for business hours,” said trustee David Timm.

There was previously a mask mandate on the building, requiring everyone who comes into the building to wear a mask during the regularly scheduled business hours.

Board trustee Paul Yaeger said at the April 6 village board meeting that he was in favor of the board approving to lift the mask mandate within the community center. Yaeger said the statewide mask mandate had expired, and that he thought the community center should follow suit.

“If people want to keep wearing them, then they can,” said Yaeger on April 6. “Seeing that the state can do it, can’t we lift ours?”

Board trustee Marlene Wepner said that businesses in the communities surrounding Wittenberg were starting to take down masking signs.

“I went to town today in Wausau, and there were no signs on the stores that were saying to wear a mask,” said Wepner. “There were still some people wearing masks. The workers were wearing masks.”

The board discussed the idea that if someone doesn’t want to wear a mask then they do not have to, but that option is always there to wear one.

“I think that the big thing is the term — required,” said Buchholz. “Obviously, if you want to wear one, you can wear one — it is just a matter of requiring it.”

Board trustee David Timm made the original motion to implement a mask mandate in order to protect employees within the community center. At the April 19 meeting, he made the motion to change the community center from requiring that masks be worn to strongly recommending that masks be worn.

“I felt more comfortable after talking to Village Clerk Traci Matsche and she had talked to the employees, so I have been thinking about this a little bit,” said Timm. “This is no different than what the county just put out.”

The board agreed that changing the mask mandate would give visitors the option to wear a mask if they wanted to. The motion passed unanimously to change the mask mandate within the community center.

Signs will be up at the Wittenberg Community Center stating that masks are strongly recommended.