The order, which takes effect on Saturday, makes Wisconsin the 34th state to require face coverings and the last state with a Democratic governor to do so.
Under Evers’ order, face masks will be required for anyone age 5 or older while indoors except at a private residence.
“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,” said Governor Evers in a statement. “We’ve said all along that we’re going to let science and public health experts be our guide in responding to this pandemic, and we know that masks and face coverings will save lives. 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.”
A number of exceptions are included in the order, including for members of the state Legislature and the state judiciary. Exceptions also are made for eating and drinking, for speakers at religious services and reporters delivering news reports, and for people who have breathing issues, among others
Governor Evers has stated that he lacked the authority to issue a mask mandate or to extend the public health emergency after the Safer at Home order was struck down by the State Supreme Court earlier this year.
State Supreme Court Justice-Elect Jill Karofsky will take up her new role on the Wisconsin Supreme Court on August 1, replacing Justice Dan Kelly who had voted against the Safer at Home order.
Violating the order could result in fines of up to $200.