Statewide mask mandate just issued, takes effect Saturday

Today, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers issued a statewide public health emergency, issuing a statewide mask mandate that will take effect this coming Saturday, August 1st, and remain in effect through September.

The order requires all Wisconsin residents (well, really, anyone in the state) age 5 or older to wear face masks while indoors - unless they're in their private homes. For schools that choose to return to in-person classrooms, the order also applies to all students.

Violating the order could result in fines of up to $200.

For some reason, members of the state Legislature and the state judiciary are exempted from this order (my eyebrow is raised on this, actually.)

More exceptions include for eating and drinking at establishments - a rule that for many has been in place already - as well as for speakers at religious services and reporters delivering news reports. Also, people with breathing and other medical issues are exempt.

An FAQ about the order and mask requirements are available here.

COVID-19 positive cases have indeed gone up across the state, though the percentage of positive tests vs. overall has remained steady and the rates of hospitalization and deaths have not increased. Yesterday's numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services have everything tallied up from the beginning. It shows:

  • 902,440 total tests
  • 851,391 (94.3%) tested negative
  • 51,049 (5.7%) tested positive
  • 911 deaths (3% of all cases)
  • 40,416 recovered (79.2% of all cases)

Again, this takes effect Saturday. So it's going to be a mask-y August and September.

Photo credit: Getty images

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