(City of Bayfield) A message from Mayor Ringberg
Before the 4th of July the Chequamegon Bay Area had five confirmed cases of COVID 19. Now two weeks after the 4th, that number has tripled to fifteen, and is expected to increase.
The City of Bayfield is the smallest city in the state in Wisconsin. We have less than 500 full time residents with an average age around 60, living in an area of about one square mile. Most of our summer residents are also in their retirement years. We need to do our best to protect the most vulnerable in our community.
The businesses in Bayfield are all family owned and operated. We need to protect these families and their employees from getting sick, which could cause their business to shut down in the middle of our busy season. I’m afraid that if one of our businesses is shut down by the Covid-19 virus, the economic impact may be so great that they will never open back up again.
Our visitors come from all over, some may even have traveled here to escape the growing number of cases in their community. We would like all our visitors to trust that we are doing everything we can so they won’t get sick on their vacation.
Most of our business have voluntarily implemented steps to slow the spread of Covid-19 in their shops, and we are grateful for that, but some of these shop owners have been abused by visitors who refuse to wear a mask. Although every business owner has the right to refuse service to anyone, provided it’s not because of race, religion, or sexual orientation, some business owners are afraid to tell people to put on a mask or leave their store. They have asked the City to back up their efforts with an ordinance.
The risk of COVID-19 transmission remains high, particularly in indoor settings with an increased likelihood of close contact and the sharing of air that may contain coronavirus contaminated respiratory droplets and/or aerosols.
Evidence cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that a significant portion of individuals with the coronavirus are asymptomatic, and that pre-symptomatic persons can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.
We know that wearing a face mask is one of the most effective ways to reduce person to person transmission of COVID-19. Face masks serve as a protection to prevent droplets from entering the air, which is known as source control. When combined with other preventive measures, including physical distancing and proper hygiene practices, wearing face masks is a simple and effective way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
So last night, July 15, 2020, our City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that states:
“While indoors in any commercial business or City office, and in an Outdoor Space that is open to the general public, all customers, employees, and any other occupants or users of such area shall wear a face covering. While wearing a face covering, social distancing (6’) shall still be maintained so far as possible as described by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.”
“Outdoor spaces” means any outdoor location where people are unable to distance themselves a minimum of six feet.
“Face covering” means a material covering the nose and mouth for the purpose of ensuring the physical health or safety of the wearer or others. A face covering can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face. It can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen. A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels. Acceptable, reusable face covering options for the general public include bandanas, neck gaiters, homemade face coverings, scarves, or tightly woven fabric such as cotton t-shirts and some types of towels.
Please refer to the full ordinance for all details.
The City of Bayfield is also requesting that the Bayfield County Health Department issue a public health order requiring the use of masks in all locations in Bayfield County that are open to the public, restricting large gatherings, and issuing other public health orders regarding the safe operations of businesses during this surge in Covid-19 cases.
Along with our Mark Ordinance which is necessary to slow and prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and more effectively protect the lives and property of people within the City of Bayfield:
• We will continue to promote best practices that come out of the County, the CDC, the World Health Organization and other scientific groups that are working to control the virus.
• We will continue to support our local businesses who have acted on their own initiative to require masks in their shops, and remind them that if they need help with aggressive anti-maskers, our police officers can be called to respond.
• We will continue to lobby County, State and Federal leaders for help to protect our citizens, businesses and visitors.
• We will do our best to remind residents and business owners not to fall into negative thoughts and finger pointing at their neighbors. We are all scared. We suggest instead that each of us make time to send a kind word or a note of encouragement to those who are trying to do their best in these uncertain times.
Bayfield is a strong and connected community and will continue to be a place where we all look out for one another.
Be Safe, Be Kind, Wear a Mask and Social Distance!
Mayor Gordon Ringberg
Find more information on the City of Bayfield website.
In addition to the city of Bayfield ordinance, here is information about Bayfield and Ashland Counties.
In addition to the above information from the city of Bayfield, the Bayfield County Health Department, you can find updates about NPS operations on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. For more information about Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, call (715) 779-3398 or visit go.nps.gov/ApostleConditions.