Evers issues another emergency face mask order, right after the Legislature repealed the last one
It didn't take Gov. Tony Evers long to respond to the news that Wisconsin's Legislature voted to end his emergency order mandating face mask requirements in public places. Just an hour after the Legislature's vote, Evers issued another public health emergency renewing the statewide mask mandate.
Since the beginning of this pandemic, I promised I would:— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) February 4, 2021
1️⃣never play politics with your health
2️⃣trust and follow science and public health experts
3️⃣never stop doing everything I can to keep you healthy and safe
I haven't broken those promises and I won't start today. pic.twitter.com/kfN4J2aE2k
It's unclear how Republicans in the Legislature will respond to Evers' move. Republicans have argued that Evers overreached his authority in issuing multiple emergency orders addressing the same pandemic. The Wisconsin Supreme Court, meanwhile, has yet to rule on case about those emergency orders.
No word yet from Republican legislative leaders on their next move in this volleyball game— Scott Bauer (@sbauerAP) February 4, 2021
They say the repeal of the previous order hasn't even taken effect before Evers issued the new one
Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is still sitting on a case over this very issue
"Today’s action by Republicans in the Legislature is a continuation of Republicans’ efforts to prevent Gov. Evers from keeping Wisconsinites healthy and safe," Evers' office wrote in a statement. "The governor’s statewide mitigation strategies to contain and respond to COVID-19 have been met with repeated lawsuits, political rhetoric, and obstruction from Republicans since last April. Republicans also sued Gov. Evers last spring, which ultimately led to a decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court to strike down Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order in May, leaving the state without critical mitigation tools to protect health and safety used by other states. In total, Republicans in the Legislature this year alone have spent millions in taxpayer dollars in litigation to hamstring the state’s ability to respond to the ongoing pandemic rather than meet to address the issues facing Wisconsinites."
The Legislature's move to repeal the mask mandate came over the objections of more than 55 groups representing health experts, businesses, faith leaders, schools and educators, which argued that overturning the mandate would cost lives and prolong the pandemic.
Nearly 6,000 Wisconsinites have died from Covid-19 since last spring. The state has confirmed more than 540,000 cases of the virus.
Along with physical distancing, masks are one of the most effective measures for preventing the spread of the virus. Although public health messaging on masks was inconsistent in the early days of the pandemic, health organizations including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control now agree on their importance.
The Centers for Disease Control continues to advise that "people age 2 and older should wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in their household."
Rates of #COVID19 cases remain high across the nation. The average number of daily cases in the last 7 days is 42 for every 100,000 people. Help slow the spread:— CDC (@CDCgov) February 3, 2021
😷 Wear a mask.
↔️ Stay 6 feet apart.
🚫 Avoid crowds.
🖐️ Wash your hands.
More: https://t.co/gp6X4zTnBT pic.twitter.com/119UEcuBkT
Regardless of how the political back and forth over Wisconsin's statewide mask mandate plays out -- and at this point it's difficult for anybody to predict -- local mask mandates such as Milwaukee's will remain in place.