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UPDATE: General Order Regarding COVID-19 Mask Policy

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

This order pertains to the United States Federal Building and Courthouse at 517 East Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and to the courtroom and clerk’s office space at 125 S. Jefferson Street in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This order supersedes General Public Order 21-10 Regarding COVID-19 Virus Emergency—Mask Policy.

On June 30, 2021, the court issued an order (General Order 21-10) superseding General Public Order 20-15 Regarding COVID-19 Virus Emergency—Mask Policy. The order was based on the May 13, 2021 announcement by CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky that the CDC was recommending that anyone who was fully vaccinated could participate in indoor or outdoor activities without wearing a mask or practicing physical distancing (while advising those who were immune compromised to consult with their doctors, noting that health care providers would continue to be bound by their employers’ guidelines and warning that if infections begin to rise, the guidance may change).

On July 27, 2021, the CDC again revised its guidance regarding masks, recommending that people wear masks indoors in public in areas of substantial or high virus transmission, regardless of vaccination status. As of the date of this order, Milwaukee County (the location of the 517 East Wisconsin Avenue Federal Building and Courthouse) and Brown County (the location of the court facilities at 125 S. Jefferson Street in Green Bay) are characterized by the CDC as high transmission areas.

The United States Courts—district, bankruptcy and appellate—are public and essential institutions committed to sound administration of equal justice under the law. Other agencies housed in the Milwaukee building—including the United States Attorney’s Office, Federal Defender Services of Wisconsin, the United States Pretrial Services and Probation Office, the United States Trustee, the United States Marshals Service, the Federal Protective Service, the General Services Administration, the Secret Service and the Social Security Administration—also are essential institutions of the government and the justice system. The court and the other agencies in the courthouse at 517 East Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee, as well as the court staff in the building at 125 S. Jefferson Street in Green Bay, will continue to take reasonable and prudent actions to further that mission consistent with the health and safety needs of the public, court and agency staff, case participants and others who enter the Milwaukee courthouse and the Green Bay court space.

Effective Monday, August 16, 2021, all persons seeking entry to or occupying the Milwaukee courthouse and the Green Bay court space—including, but not limited to, court staff, security personnel, vendors, contractors, litigants, attorneys, jurors and other members of the public—must wear a face covering or mask in the public areas of the building, regardless of their vaccination status. Public areas include the atrium/lobby, elevator banks, stairwells, restrooms, public corridors, clerk’s office counters and, unless excused by the presiding judge, courtrooms. Each individual agency or court unit will develop and enforce its own policy for wearing face coverings or masks within its internal space. A face covering or mask always must completely cover the wearer’s nose and mouth. The only persons excepted from this requirement are those who provide documentation that for medical reasons, they are unable to wear a face covering.

All persons seeking entry to the Milwaukee courthouse and the Green Bay court space are strongly encouraged to bring their own face covering or mask. Persons who do not bring their own face coverings or masks may obtain a disposable mask at the screening security station while supplies last; supplies will be limited. Any person who declines or refuses to wear a face covering and does not have documentation showing that they are unable to do so for medical reasons will be denied entry to the building. Such persons may contact by telephone the agency or office they intended to visit to explore alternatives to entering the courthouse.

This order will remain in effect until further order of the court.

[Link to General Order]