Gov. Evers issues statewide mask mandate effective Saturday

Gov. Tony Evers wearing a mask

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers announced Thursday that he is issuing a statewide mask mandate.

Evers issued an executive order declaring a public health emergency alongside an emergency order making face coverings mandatory throughout the state. The order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and will expire Sept. 28, or at a later date if the order is extended. The mandate will require people to wear face coverings when inside most buildings.

The full emergency order is available here.

“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,” Evers said. “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.”

The order will require anyone ages five and older to wear a mask while indoors or in an enclosed space with people from outside their household. The order includes exceptions for certain activities like eating, drinking and swimming. According to a news release, individuals with certain health conditions that make wearing a mask difficult will be exempt from the mandate.

Those in violation of the mandate could be fined up to $200.

Evers’ office provided a list of situations and environments where mask wearing is and isn’t required. The full list is available here.

The mask mandate comes after weeks of COVID-19 cases rising throughout the state. Just two days before Evers issued the order, Wisconsin surpassed 50,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

According to a news release, 84% of Wisconsin counties and 96% of the state’s population are experiencing high COVID-19 activity.

For other COVID-19 headlines, click here.