Judge upholds Gov. Evers’ order requiring masks to be worn in enclosed spaces

Face Mask

MADISON, Wis. —  A St. Croix County circuit judge on Monday has denied a motion that would have put Gov. Tony Evers’ emergency order requiring people to wear masks on hold. A judge upheld Evers’ order requiring masks to be worn in enclosed spaces.

In the case, the plaintiffs argued the Evers did not have the power to issue successive executive orders for the same emergency, but the judge disagreed.

In his decision, Judge R. Michael Waterman said, “When an executive order ends after 60 days, it forces the governor, before issuing another order, to reexamine the situation and publicly identify existing, present-day facts and circumstances that constitute a public health emergency.”

Evers says the mask order was within his power and that he has followed the recommendations of public health experts.

The lawsuit argued that Evers can issue only one emergency declaration per crisis. It also says Wisconsin’s infection numbers have continued to rise since the mask mandate was imposed in August, claiming masks are ineffective in the fight against COVID-19.

Wisconsin is among the worst COVID-19 hot spots in the country, topping more than 150,000 positive cases on Sunday.

In a statement Monday morning, Evers called the ruling a win.

“Today’s ruling is a victory in our fight against COVID-19 and our efforts to keep the people of Wisconsin safe and healthy during this unprecedented crisis,” Evers said. “As the number of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin reached 150,000 yesterday, we will continue doing everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus. We ask Wisconsinites to please stay home as much as possible, limit travel and going to public gatherings, and wear a mask whenever out and about.”