Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order declaring a public health emergency and requiring face-coverings to be worn indoors statewide.
The order, issued Thursday afternoon, requires people to wear face coverings when indoors and not in a residence. The order goes into effect on Aug. 1 and expires Sept. 28.
“While our local health departments have been doing a heck of a job responding to this pandemic in our communities, the fact of the matter is, this virus doesn't care about any town, city, or county boundary, and we need a statewide approach to get Wisconsin back on track,” said Evers. “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. While I know emotions are high when it comes to wearing face coverings in public, my job as governor is to put people first and to do what's best for the people of our state, so that's what I am going to do.”
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Residents ages five and older will be required to wear a face-covering when indoors in an enclosed space. Face-coverings are recommended outdoors, though not required.
The order allows for exceptions to the order, including eating, drinking, swimming, and those with health conditions or disabilities that prevent them from safely wearing a mask.
“The data is what drives our decisions, and that data tells us we have significant community spread in Wisconsin and need to take statewide action,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm in a press release. “Community spread means that any interaction out in the community can mean exposure and because people can spread COVID-19 without symptoms or even knowing they are sick, we need to take universal precautions in order for wearing face coverings to be effective.”
A frequently asked question document can be found on the governor's website.
Read the full order below: