‘I’m all for it’: Downtown community reacts to mask mandate extension

MADISON, Wis.– Signs reminding people to cover their face before waking into a store will stay for now.

Gov. Tony Evers extended his statewide mask mandate through November 21.

Meanwhile, it’s been a tough two weeks at Nick’s Restaurant in Madison.

“The students, the covid numbers, the weather at times was super rainy. That didn’t help,” co-owner Dino Christ said.

That’s why Christ is ok with one of the few things he can control, wearing a mask.

“If in any way there’s a possibility that this helps, then I’m all for it,” Christ said.

People who come in between now and November 21 are expected to wear masks, but Christ noticed some customers are a little too relaxed.

“As soon as they walk in the door with a mask, halfway in they literally take it off and say, ‘okay, we’re all good now. We’re done,’” Christ said.

Part of that could be people are just tired of mask orders, something Dr. Amy Franta knows is real.

“We worry about it and we see it,” Franta said. “We see it as we talk to people who are exposed and as we contact trace.”

Franta said masks do work, but they’re not foolproof.

“We know that there are times when we aren’t masked 100 percent and that can lead to transmission,” Franta said.

A UW-Madison spokesperson said the university is taking similar measures, including a mask requirement, to keep students safe.

Senior Emiliano O’Connor said while some students are oblivious to the masking rules, others are actually trying to stay safe.

“Any school going through this, like they’re doing the best they can,” O’Connor said. “It’s a tough environment.”

It is a tough situation for everyone, but Christ sees people adapting, too.

“When the students first came down, it did get a little out of control, but ever since then, I’ve noticed that students are making a very large effort to wear a mask, stay safe,” Christ said.

The new orders will be in place until Nov. 21, unless the governor issues a new order or lawmakers block it.