Wisconsin governor issues statewide mask mandate

Wisconsin Gov. Tony EversTony EversWisconsin governor issues statewide mask mandate Wisconsin state senator 'kicked in the head' during protests Wisconsin protesters in standoff with police tear down two statues MORE (D) issued an order Thursday requiring all residents to wear a face covering when in public as the number of COVID-19 cases increases across the state. 

“While I know emotions are high when it comes to wearing face coverings in public, 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,” Evers said in a statement.

The order will go into effect on Saturday and will expire Sept. 28 or by a subsequent order. 

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The order requires Wisconsin residents ages 5 and older to wear a face covering when indoors or in an enclosed space around anyone outside their household.

The state also strongly recommends residents wear face coverings when outdoors and physical distance is not possible. 

The order exempts people with health conditions or disabilities that would preclude them from wearing a face covering. 

In Wisconsin, 61 of 72 counties, representing 96 percent of the state’s population, are experiencing high virus activity, an increase from June when only 19 of the state’s counties were experiencing high COVID-19 activity, according to the governor’s announcement. 

“While our local health departments have been doing a heck of a job responding to this pandemic in our communities, the fact of the matter is, this virus doesn’t care about any town, city or county boundary, and we need a statewide approach to get Wisconsin back on track,” Evers said. 

The average number of new confirmed cases has also increased throughout July. The state reported an average of 556 new cases each day between July 1-7, the average then jumped to 938 new cases each day between July 22-26. 

Wisconsin’s health department reported 870 new confirmed coronavirus cases Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 51,049 cases.