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La Crosse County pushing for personal responsibility over requirement to slow the spread of COVID-19

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The La Crosse County Health Department is launching a new initiative to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the area.

Health officials are hanging up new posters that urge people to wear a mask and practice preventative health measures, but they stop short at implementing any new COVID-19 mandates.

"The Coulee COVID Collaborative decided that instead of coming out hard and heavy and saying we need masks mandates," Paula Silha with the La Crosse County Health Department said. "Let's go to the community and ask them to do the right thing."

Health officials say that means avoiding large gatherings, like Oktoberfest.

"We aren't mandating and we aren't closing events," Silha said. "But we are saying if you cannot hold an event, that is the best action for the community."

The La Crosse County Board said they understand the concern but said it would be very difficult to cancel a major event like Oktoberfest.

"It's very difficult to say there is a board stance," La Crosse County Board Chair Monica Kruse said. "Because like society, our members are kind of all over the place."

There are no mask or vaccination requirements to attend Oktoberfest this year.