Wisconsin's governor makes face coverings mandatory in indoor spaces

Wisconsin is one of the latest states to require citizens to wear a face covering when they're indoors in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus....

Posted: Jul 31, 2020 3:34 PM

Wisconsin is one of the latest states to require citizens to wear a face covering when they're indoors in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

On Thursday, Gov. Tony Evers declared a public health emergency and issued an emergency order mandating people wear a face covering when not in a private residence, according to a statement from his office.

"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," Gov. Evers said in the news release.

"While I know emotions are high when it comes to wearing face coverings in public," he added, "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 goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, the news release said. It's set to expire on September 28 or by a subsequent superseding order.

The move comes as the average number of new cases drastically increased over the past four weeks and the state is seeing significant community spread. According to Evers' office, there was a 75% increase in cases in July, prompting the order declaring a public health emergency.

As of Friday morning, Wisconsin had 52,108 cases of Covid-19 and 919 people had died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

More and more states are mandating masks and face coverings to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, including just this month Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Colorado, among others. Despite controversy and protests over mask mandates nationwide, they've been shown to reduce the chance of virus transmission and stop person-to-person spread.

According to the governor's order, face coverings are required for anyone 5 or older who is in an enclosed space, except for a private residence. Coverings are also required if another person who is not a member of the household is in the enclosed space.

Otherwise, masks "are strongly recommended in all other settings, including outdoors when it is not possible to maintain physical distancing."

There are exceptions, including while swimming or visiting the dentist. The order is enforceable by a fine of up to $200, though it's unclear how enforcement will work.

Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Wisconsin's chief medical officer and State epidemiologist for communicable disease, said in a statement that staying home, socially distancing and washing hands are effective ways to stop the spread of the virus. But masks are also important, he said.

"A growing number of scientific studies tell us that face coverings, when used correctly and consistently by a large percentage of the community, are extremely effective for preventing the spread of Covid-19 through respiratory droplets," Westergaard said.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1694651

Reported Deaths: 48335
CountyCasesDeaths
Queens2184108926
Kings2182459258
Suffolk1664973125
Nassau1526462956
Bronx1490725955
Westchester1103302125
New York1075853980
Erie668181618
Richmond589101605
Monroe53391998
Rockland39673896
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Oneida19928481
Niagara15554316
Broome15461339
Saratoga12245149
Schenectady11039178
Ulster10331232
Rensselaer9233132
Putnam856586
Chautauqua7443126
Chemung6481130
Oswego611989
Ontario591490
St. Lawrence570191
Steuben5584139
Cayuga543889
Jefferson491063
Sullivan489160
Herkimer4609107
Wayne454065
Cattaraugus449977
Genesee4483119
Madison389685
Clinton378827
Livingston361156
Tompkins352343
Columbia345696
Fulton344085
Montgomery3259107
Cortland324160
Allegany293081
Warren291355
Wyoming288549
Tioga286456
Greene270971
Chenango250270
Otsego248643
Orleans247782
Washington240654
Franklin217612
Lewis210330
Seneca165554
Delaware159033
Essex136426
Schoharie125113
Yates102426
Schuyler87312
Hamilton2862
Unassigned16199
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