Governor Evers to issue mask mandate across Wisconsin

Wisconsin to enforce mask mandate starting Saturday

The order is effective at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, and will expire September 28, 2020 or by a subsequent superseding order.

But Nolen said in an announcement that he believes Evers' executive order is an unlawful extension of his March 12 emergency declaration related to COVID-19.

Unlike the Safer at Home order, violations of the Governor's face covering order are not subject to criminal penalty.

The new order gives exceptions for eating, drinking or swimming, or if people have conditions or disabilities precluding the safe wearing of masks.

Gov. Tony Evers issued the emergency order for a mask mandate as part of his July 30 executive order re-declaring a public health emergency to combat the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. "We've said all along that we're going to let science and public health experts be our guide in responding to this pandemic, and we know that masks and face coverings will save lives". Note that the validity of the order is not controlled by the Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision in Wisconsin Legislature v. Palm, 391 Wis. 2d 497, 942 N.W.2d 900 (2020).

The order in March "relates explicitly to COVID-19", Nolen wrote, whereas the new order "includes additional recitals, none of which in my legal opinion reach the threshold of establishing authority" for the governor to issue the new order without violating the state law that grants authority for such orders.

The Supreme Court will soon, however, go from a 5-2 majority to a 4-3 one, when Jill Karofsky takes over August 1.

Republican legislative leaders brought the earlier lawsuit. They also oppose a mask mandate, but have yet to convey if they would sue if Evers enacted one.

Absent a statewide mask order, cities and counties across the state have been taking action on their own. Following the release of the statewide mask mandate, Fond du Lac County Sheriff Ryan Waldschmidt issued a statement, saying his staff would not be enforcing the mask mandate. Numerous other cities, including Green Bay, Racine, Superior and Whitewater, have followed suit.

Seven1Five Outpost, a local ice cream and tourist shop in the area, says recently, there has been a mix of people wearing masks. Evers grabbed the broad powers of another public health emergency then issued a mask mandate.

Wisconsin has had more than 51,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 911 deaths from the disease since the pandemic started. Wisconsin has the 28th-highest deaths in the country, and the 35th highest per capita at almost 16 deaths per 100,000 people.

The first week of July saw an average of just over 660 new cases each day being reported statewide.

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