This afternoon, as expected, the Wisconsin Assembly voted, 52-42, to kill Gov. Evers' emergency order and statewide mask mandate, in place since July 30 and most recently extended on Jan. 19. However, before the repeal had even gone into effect – barely an hour after the vote was finished – Gov. Evers announced a new emergency order, complete with a new statewide mask mandate, effective immediately.
The new mandate is almost identical to the previous edition: All Wisconsin residents aged 5 and older are required to wear a face covering when they are indoors or in an enclosed space – other than a private residence – with people outside their household or living unit. The new order will expire on March 20, unless extended with a new one as in the past.
Gov. Evers posted a full video address about the resurrected statewide mask mandate (and the almost $50 million a month in federal food benefits connected to it):
"Our fight against this virus isn't over – it's not going away, especially as we see mutations of this virus in our state and others," Evers said. "Wearing a mask is the most basic thing we can do to keep each other safe. If the Legislature keeps playing politics and we don't keep wearing masks, we're going to see more preventable deaths, and it's going to take even longer to get our state and our economy back on track.
"We're going to keep putting people first, we're going to keep listening to the science and we're going to keep working to save lives so we can get through this pandemic together."
The governor's mask mandate is still awaiting a ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and the Senate and Assembly are able to attempt to repeal this new mask mandate like the last one, an action that received significant criticism with 59 groups – including the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, the Medical College of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Hospital Association, the Wisconsin Medical Society, the Wisconsin Public Health Association and the Wisconsin Council of Churches – opposing the resolution while zero groups formally supported it. The most recent MU Law poll in October also showed that 72 percent of voters supported mask requirements in public places. Only 26 percent disagreed with a mask requirement.
Meanwhile, no matter what happens with all of this, the City of Milwaukee's mask mandate is still in effect. So wear a mask. And stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for any other whiplash-inducing updates.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.