By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published May 18, 2021 at 3:36 PM

Mayor Tom Barrett and the City of Milwaukee announced today that the city's Moving Milwaukee Forward health order, as well as its corresponding mask mandate, will expire on Tuesday, June 1 – for the former, two weeks earlier than previously expected.

The new expiration date for the health order – most notably eliminating prior capacity limits for restaurants, bars and local businesses – comes after the City of Milwaukee announced last week it would drop many of its COVID-19 pandemic rules and protocols (not including the mask mandate) beginning June 15. However, that timeline came just hours prior to the CDC's announcement that masks are no longer deemed necessary in most indoor and outdoor settings for those who are fully vaccinated. Therefore, according to Barrett, the city changed its plans this week to more closely align with the CDC's new recommendations.

"From the outset, I have been very, very proud and I have pledged to follow the science and the evidence," Mayor Barrett said during the daily press briefing on Tuesday. "So when the Centers for Disease Control announced that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks, I felt, as did the health commissioner, that, just as we've had with every critical point along the way follow the CDC's guidance, we would continue to follow the CDC guidance."

Mayor Barrett explained that the health order and mask mandate are not being dropped immediately in order to give businesses time to figure out the best plan moving forward individually. He also noted that while the City of Milwaukee will drop its mask mandate – in effect since July 16 last summer – businesses and establishments are still allowed to enforce their own mask requirements.

"These businesses, these establishments, they know their client base, their customer base, their user base, better than anyone," the mayor said, later adding, "I ask everyone to be respectful of the range of opinions and the circumstances that exist. But we need to remember that COVID-19 is still here, and if there is one message that we have gotten over the last week, it is how powerful and effective the vaccinations have been." 

A reminder that the CDC still recommends masks indoors for those who have not been vaccinated. For a visual guide to the current CDC mask recommendations, click here – and for a list of vaccination resources in the Milwaukee area, click here

So congrats, Milwaukee: We've reached a version of normal. But let's continue to be safe, be smart and be considerate – and let's enjoy a great Milwaukee summer once again.

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.