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Wisconsin governor orders masks statewide as coronavirus cases spike

Anyone who violates the order would be subject to a $200 fine. It is slated to run until Sept. 28.
Gov. Tony Evers while announcing the statewide mask mandate.
Gov. Tony Evers while announcing the statewide mask mandate.(WMTV)
Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 2:18 PM EDT
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday issued a statewide mask mandate amid a spike in coronavirus cases, setting up a conflict with Republican legislative leaders who oppose such a requirement and successfully sued earlier to kill a “safer at home” order.

The Democrat Evers declared a new public health emergency, after his initial one expired in May, and ordered the wearing of masks for anyone age 5 and up starting on Saturday for all enclosed spaces except a person’s home. The new order also applies to outdoor bars and restaurants, except when people are eating or drinking.

Anyone who violates the order would be subject to a $200 fine. It is slated to run until Sept. 28.

The conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court in May tossed out an order from Evers’ health secretary closing most nonessential businesses in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

Evers has repeatedly cited that ruling as a reason for his reluctance to join 32 other states that have mask mandates. However, the May ruling determined that the state health secretary overstepped her authority with the ``safer at home’' order; the court did not address the governor’s power to issue public health emergencies.

The state’s high court was controlled 5-2 by conservatives when it struck down the earlier order on a split 4-3 decision. But on Saturday when the mask order takes effect, Justice-elect Jill Karofsky joins the court, narrowing the conservative majority to 4-3 and increasing the odds of the order surviving a legal challenge.

Copyright 2020 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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