Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced Tuesday that police officers will now accompany city health inspectors as they conduct inspections at local bars and other dining establishments.
The move comes after an incident at Serb Hall in southwest Milwaukee this past Saturday where a pro-Trump rally was shut down after city inspectors arrived because people weren't complying with social distancing rules, a mask mandate or capacity limits.
And, Barrett said the inspectors were threatened.
"When the inspectors arrived on Saturday, they found lots of problems, lots of problems, and they were accosted, certainly, verbally. Reports are that there was perhaps some jostling that went on along with that. But they were certainly verbally assaulted, and perhaps physically mistreated as well," he said.
Milwaukee's interim Health Commissioner Marlaina Jackson said that increased enforcement is a result of the dangerous trends in positive coronavirus case numbers. She was adamant that Saturday’s enforcement was not based on any individual or group.
"I want to make it clear that all of the work that the health department has done since the beginning of this pandemic has been to focus on protecting people from harm, protecting people from death, and to address those situations where we knowingly or people knowingly and unknowingly spread disease," Jackson said.
As of Tuesday in Milwaukee County, there have been more than 57,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 584 deaths from COVID-19.