Evers extends statewide mask mandate

Gov. Tony Evers

Gov. Tony Evers has extended his mask mandate while declaring a new public health emergency due to a COVID-19 case spike.

Both orders are effective immediately and last 60 days. The guv’s previous mask mandate was set to expire Sept. 28. 

“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,” Evers said.

The order requires Wisconsin residents ages five and older to wear a face covering when they are indoors or in an enclosed space with anyone outside their household.

The conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed a lawsuit in Polk County this summer seeking to overturn the last public health emergency that Evers declared. The suit, however, didn’t include a request for an injunction preventing enforcement of the mask mandate that Evers issued in addition to the health emergency. The suit was assigned to a judge in early September. A trial date has not been set.

The group said it was reviewing the current order.

“Governor Evers and his team believe the presence of COVID-19 supersedes the rule of law and our state constitution,” said Rick Esenberg, WILL’s president and general counsel. “They are wrong. Letting this gross abuse of power stand is not an option.”

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald today charged the guv’s new mask mandate is “not worth the paper it’s printed on.”

The Juneau Republican’s statement did not mention reconvening the Legislature for a vote that would overturn the new order even as several of his members demanded the action.

After Evers issued the original mask mandate, Fitzgerald said his caucus had the votes to overturn it. But Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, was silent on calls for the full Legislature to reconvene, instead saying he expected a legal challenge by private groups.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce President and CEO Kurt Bauer said that the organization has continued to encourage the use of masks in confined spaces — a recommendation laid out by the CDC and OSHA.

“However, WMC renews its yet unanswered request for the governor and DHS to clarify and amend the mask order in recognition that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for every Wisconsin business,” Bauer said.

In August, WMC sent a letter to Gov. Evers requesting clarification for the business community and suggested changes to the mask mandate.

See the release: https://www.wispolitics.com/2020/gov-evers-declares-new-public-health-emergency-due-to-campus-outbreaks-issues-new-face-coverings-order/

Updated 9/22 3:05 p.m.