Jeramey Jannene

Evers Declares New Health Emergency, Extends Mask Mandate

Scheduled to expire September 28th, mandate now runs to November 21st.

By - Sep 22nd, 2020 09:55 am
Gov. Tony Evers addresses the public during a Department of Health Services media briefing on Aug. 13, 2020. Department of Health Services via YouTube

Gov. Tony Evers addresses the public during a Department of Health Services media briefing on Aug. 13, 2020. Department of Health Services via YouTube

The Wisconsin mask mandate will continue past its September 28th expiration.

Governor Tony Evers has declared a new public health emergency because of the spread of COVID-19 at college campuses. Individuals aged 18 to 24 now have a COVID-19 case rate five times that of any other age group. His last order, issued July 30th, was scheduled to expire and centered on an uptick in cases. The new order is the third Evers has issued regarding the virus.

“We are seeing an alarming increase in cases across our state, especially on campus. We need folks to start taking this seriously, and young people especially—please stay home as much as you are able, skip heading to the bars, and wear a mask whenever you go out. We need your help to stop the spread of this virus, and we all have to do this together,” said Evers in a press release. The state has set new highs in the number of cases repeatedly since the start of September.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm‘s Safer at Home health order on a one-vote margin in May, but did not limit any of Evers’ powers directly. Evers has said in recent weeks that his office was exploring ways to extend or create a new mask mandate.

The new order and accompanying mask requirement would expire November 21st. A City of Milwaukee mask mandate does not have an expiration date.

Enforcement of the state mandate, which contains a maximum fine of $200 under state law, is left to local law enforcement.

The City of Milwaukee and a handful of other southeastern Wisconsin communities have instituted mask mandates, as has Dane County and the City of Green Bay. Milwaukee’s mandate went into effect on July 16th. Face coverings, when worn appropriately, are believed by public health officials and scientists to be an effective tool to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Wisconsin mandate covers all enclosed spaces, including outdoor bars and restaurants. Individuals are allowed to remove masks to eat or drink. Stricter local orders are allowed to supersede the state order. Enforcement of the order is left to local law enforcement.

The order applies to every individual ages five and up.

A full copy of the new public health executive order and associated emergency order requiring masks can be found on Urban Milwaukee.

More about the Coronavirus Pandemic

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