On September 22, Governor Evers announced a new Declaration of Public Health Emergency and  Emergency Order requiring face coverings as the orders issued in July reach their expiration dates. Our analysis of the previous orders can be found here (along with a comparison to the Dane County mask order).

Largely, the orders mirror the orders issued in late July. Citing the continued rise of COVID cases, Governor Evers reissued the declaration of a public health emergency under Wis. Stat. § 323.10 and 323.12, which gives him authority, among other powers to “Issue such orders as he deems necessary for the security of persons and property.” He has also authorized the head of the Wisconsin National Guard to activate the Guard as necessary to assist in the Sate’s response to the public health emergency, including support for the November 3 election and to operate community testing sites. The state of Public Health Emergency can last for up to 60 days, but may be revoked earlier by Governor Evers or a joint resolution of the Wisconsin State Legislature.

The new mask order is identical to previous order. For convenience, the highlights are included herein:

Who must wear a mask?

This order applies to every individual age five or older.

When/Where must a person wear a mask?

An individual must where a mask when in any indoor room or enclosed space, including public transit as well as outdoor bars and restaurants except for private residences, if a person who is not a member of that individual’s household is in the same enclosed space or room.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes. Exceptions apply to some activities, such as:

  • Eating/drinking
  • Communicating with someone who is hard of hearing
  • Sleeping
  • Swimming
  • Services like dental work that require the temporary removal of face coverings
  • Work where face coverings create a safety risk
  • When necessary to confirm identity
  • Where state/federal laws prohibit wearing a mask
  • One person at a time at any presentation (religious, political, educational, artistic, etc.) may remove their face covering to speak if they remain at lest 6 feet from all other individuals.

Exceptions also apply to certain individuals, such as those who have trouble breathing, who are unconscious/incapacitated, individuals with medical/mental health conditions or intellectual disabilities, and incarcerated individuals, pursuant to CDC guidelines.

The new order reiterates the previous order’s suggestion that the general public not use N95 masks or other medical-grade equipment.

What happens if a person violates the order?

The order provides that violators can be fined $200

For any questions regarding this order, or any other COVID related orders, contact Kramer, Elkins & Watt, LLC.

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