In Wisconsin, the governor has ordered all citizens to wear masks indoors at all times, for the next 8 weeks. Forget what medical studies actually say about the effectiveness of ‘masks’ against respiratory infection, all citizens must be trained to follow the orders of their government masters. That way when the forced procedures come, dissidents (people who demand their rights under the law of God and the Constitution) will be the minority.
Gov. Tony Evers is requiring all Wisconsin residents to wear face masks while indoors until the end of September.
The order issued Thursday takes effect Saturday and makes Wisconsin the 32nd state to require face coverings — a tool health experts say can substantially reduce transmission of the coronavirus, which can cause serious illness and death and has no vaccine.
[That is inaccurate. A number of studies over the past decade have disproven masks effectiveness for controlling the spread of a respiratory illness such as COVID, and many experts have argued that the cure already exists in the form of hydroxychloroquine.]
Evers took the step the same day Wisconsin saw more than 1,000 new cases of the virus — continuing an upward trend of infections in recent weeks.
Along with the new face mask requirement, Evers declared a new public health emergency in Wisconsin over rising cases of the virus — a move considered legally dubious by conservatives.
The orders could push Republican lawmakers, who successfully sued the governor in May over his stay-at-home order, to return to the state Capitol to block Evers — another showdown with the Democratic governor the senate’s majority leader said he is considering.
But Democratic lawmakers and Wisconsin bankers praised the order, saying it will help reverse a worsening outbreak in the state and provide uniform rules for businesses operating in different counties.
Evers said he decided to issue the orders as a way to get on top of a virus outbreak growing out of control in recent weeks.
The governor is issuing the statewide mandate after first maintaining he lacked the authority do so and then changing course, saying for weeks he was considering the idea but worried Republican lawmakers would take him to the Wisconsin Supreme Court again.
Under Evers’ order, face masks will be required for anyone age 5 or older while indoors except at a private residence. The order also applies to schools for the first few weeks of the school year if students return to classrooms.
Violating the order could result in fines of up to $200.
“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,” Evers said in statement. [Yeah, right.]
“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 were in the order, including for members of the Legislature and the state judiciary.
Exceptions to the mandate
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 other reasons.
The governor’s face mask requirement takes effect the same day as the state Supreme Court’s liberal minority expands with the addition of Jill Karofsky, who was elected in April, and comes after former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle and Democratic lawmakers said Evers should issue the mandate as soon as possible.
In a briefing with reporters, Evers downplayed the timing.
“It doesn’t have everything to do with it — the virus is the issue, not Jill Karofsky,” he said.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said there are constitutional questions about Evers’ new public health emergency and mask order but signaled he would not be suing the governor over them.
“I understand the necessity of doing all that we can to control the spread of COVID-19. We all know it’s serious,” Vos said in a statement. “Local governments have been responding appropriately and increasing precautionary measures as needed. But Wisconsin shouldn’t have a one-size-fits-all mandate.”
Vos said a statewide mandate “doesn’t build public support when there are questions surrounding the metrics and the constitutionality of this mandate.”
He said legal challenges from “citizen groups” are likely coming.
Senate Republicans were more forceful, with Sen. Chris Kapenga of Delafield saying the caucus would be looking at options with their attorneys.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau, who is running for Congress in the 5th District, said he is considering convening a floor session to block the new public health emergency.
“Masks are fine, but we don’t need statewide mandates telling us what to do,” Fitzgerald said in a statement. “Many people are wearing masks already. Municipalities have been making the decisions themselves on what best fits their regions.”
Fitzgerald’s comments came after three members of his caucus asked him to bring them back to the state Capitol to block Evers.
“Governor Evers actions today are nothing more than a political stunt to create a partisan fight with the Legislature. This is not about improving public health,” Sen. Steve Nass of Whitewater said in a statement.
Rick Esenberg, president and general counsel of the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, said wearing a mask is “courteous and smart” but a pandemic doesn’t change legality.
“Governor Evers, quite simply, lacks the legal authority to declare a second public health emergency and require every citizen to wear a mask,” he said.
Emergency declarations issued by governors are good for 60 days. They can be extended or cut short by the Legislature. Lawmakers did not extend Evers’ first public health emergency declaration that was issued in March.