$376 fines in Madison, $263 outside city limits: How Dane County is enforcing its latest mask mandate

DANE COUNTY, Wis.– Nearly one month after health officials reinstated Dane County’s mask mandate, we’re learning more about how they go about enforcing it.

In a statement to News 3 Now, Public Health Madison & Dane County Communications Director Morgan Finke explained Public Health’s mission is “to educate and work with business owners” as opposed to punishing them for not following the order.

“Enforcement, in the way of fines, is our final step when all of these outreach and education efforts have failed,” Finke wrote.

What kinds of ‘outreach efforts’ are health officials using?

Since the extended face covering emergency order started Sept. 10, the PHMDC has received 24 complaints. After each complaint, the department follows up with a letter. After a second complaint, health officials follow-up in-person. Only then could businesses face a fine: $376 in the city of Madison and $263 outside city limits.

“Right now, our compliance process is 100% complaint-driven,” Finke outlined. “However, prior to issuing any citations to businesses, there would be an on-site visit from a representative from our department. If during that visit we see non-compliance, a citation will be issued.”

People can report mask compliance complaints by emailing PHMDC at coronavirus@publichealthmdc.com.

The current public health order only applies to indoor businesses, but outdoor operators like farmers’ markets and fall farms can still enforce their own rules.