As a result of the regularly record-breaking numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers today officially signed a new public health emergency – complete with another statewide mask mandate, set to go into action today.
The order – informally announced earlier this week, but made official today – marks the governor's third mask mandate attempting to stop the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state, the first announced on July 30 followed by an extension on Sept. 22 that was set to expire on Saturday.
The latest mandate extension will expire on Jan. 19, 2021, unless superseded by a new order. The govenor's mandates, however, are also currently facing a Republican-backed lawsuit before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, coming after a Circuit Court judge ruled to uphold the mask mandate back in October.
“Wisconsin hospitals are overwhelmed and facing staffing shortages,” Evers said, in a release. “We continue to see record-setting days of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin. We need everyone to stay home and wear a mask if you have to you go out. We need your help to stop the spread of this virus, and we all have to do this together.”
The rules are in line with the previous orders: 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. When it comes to outdoors settings, masks are merely "strongly recommended in all other settings" by the mandate when social distancing is not possible.
The mandate again lists several exceptions to the requirement, stating that people may remove their masks while eating or drinking, communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, sleeping, swimming or other health-related reasons.
Those caught violating the mandate may still be fined up to $200.
This third mandate comes as cases spike daily in Wisconsin, and across the United States, over the past several weeks, with several states – including fellow Midwestern states Michigan and Minnesota – enforcing shutdown orders to stop the spread. Evers' new mandate specifically points out the growing shortages of hospital beds and staff in the state – exactly the things the system sought to avoid earlier this year when the state and many other parts of the country went into lockdown at the start of the pandemic.
A reminder: The City of Milwaukee still as its own mask mandate, with no expiration date set, to fight the pandemic.
For more information and updates, stay tuned to OnMilwaukee. And keep masking up.
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.