Gov. Tony Evers issued a public health emergency order calling for the extension of Wisconsin’s mask mandate on Tuesday in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The original order requiring the use of face-coverings was set to expire at the end of this month, but the extension will keep the mandate in place until Nov.21.
The extension was not entirely unexpected and was largely put in place due to the increase in cases at colleges and universities across the state. The University of Wisconsin-Madison has been in the hot seat for its COVID-19 outbreak. UW-Madison has moved to a remote setting and has quarantined two residence halls.
“Whereas, college and university students are driving the increase in cases, with the highest rate of new COVID-19 cases in 18-24 year-olds,” said Evers in the emergency order.
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The graph shown has brought in light the recent change in COVID-19 infection, particularly amongst the college-aged demographic. Last week, Wisconsin was home to seven of the 19 fastest-spreading cities of COVID-19, each of these cities being home to a University of Wisconsin system school.
Face-coverings will be required to be worn by all individuals above the age of five-years-old in an enclosed or indoor space with someone who is outside of their household or living unit. The term “enclosed space” was defined in the order as “including but not limited to outdoor bars, outdoor restaurants, taxis, public transit, ride-share vehicles, and outdoor park structures.”
There are a few exceptions to the order:
- While eating or drinking
- When communicating with someone hard of hearing
- Services that require removal of the covering, example dental service
- Swimming or duty as a lifeguard
- When giving a presentation, six feet distancing required
- Engaging in work where a mask could cause harm
- Confirm identity at a financial institution
- When regulations prohibit mask coverings