The Milton City Council unanimously approved a new policy at its meeting Tuesday to require all city employees and elected officials to wear cloth face coverings inside city facilities in “public, shared, or common areas and when conducting business with the public.”

Residents who enter city buildings would not be required to have masks, city Administrator Al Hulick said.

The policy will be part of a future phased reopening plan for the city and will expire when all the plan phases are complete.

Surgical masks and N95 respirators are not recommended because those items should be reserved for health care workers, the proposal reads.

Employees will be allowed to remove their masks when working alone in their office or cubicle. When employees leave those workspaces to access public areas such as the restroom, copier/printer or other areas, masks would be required.

The city will provide cloth face coverings to employees, but they will be allowed to wear a face covering of their choosing as long as it follows the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines for face coverings and meets the city’s dress code.

Hulick said many city departments have implemented similar policies already, and the city wanted to develop “equity” across all departments.

The cities of Janesville and Beloit, the Milton Public Library, and the Milton Fire Department already have similar policies in place, Hulick said.

Hulick said the rule was important because the city wanted a policy in place for when city buildings reopen to the public in the coming weeks and months.