‘We get complaints, lots of complaints’: Sauk County Public Health faces challenges while enforcing mask mandate

SAUK CITY, Wis.–  Dane County leaders said most people are following the mask order when required, but not all Wisconsin counties can say the same.

Danni Garcia understands what she sees from customers, but wishes they were more understanding of others.

“I don’t really like wearing a mask, but I know that it’s more beneficial to keep everyone safe,” Garcia said.

Garcia works for two Sauk City businesses and has double duty, her job and telling customers they need a mask.

“I find that if people come in without wearing a mask they’ll normally just turn around and leave to go get their mask, which is helpful because I don’t really like confrontation,” Garcia said.

When a business isn’t following the order, tips help Sauk County Public Health know about it.

“We get complaints,” director Tim Lawther said. “Lots of complaints actually.”

Lawther said he doesn’t have the people to police an entire country and the Supreme Court limited what he can actually enforce.

“Our limited staff really has to focus on trying the best that we can to make sure people who are positive to stay isolated, people who are in close contact and at-risk stay quarantined,” Lawther said.

As he waits for a Supreme Court decision on the governor’s order, Lawther is still counting on education, know that it won’t reach some people who consider masks a political issue rather than a health issue.

“The reality is people are not going to adhere to this guidance, despite the logic, despite science, despite the data,” Lawther said.

Sauk County Sheriff’s Office said it doesn’t enforce the state order. Local police departments said they will help public health when called on.

Lawther said he supports a mask order, but seeing as the Sauk County Board decided to not issue one before, he doesn’t expect it to if Gov. Tony Evers’ order is thrown out.