Gov. Evers orders masks statewide as coronavirus cases spike

Evers Covid

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has 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 Thursday, after his initial one expired in May, and ordered the wearing of masks starting on Saturday. The Wisconsin Supreme Court in May tossed out an order from Evers’ health secretary closing most nonessential businesses. Evers has repeatedly cited that ruling as a reason for his reluctance to join 32 other states that have mask mandates.

“While our local health departments have been doing a heck of a job responding to this pandemic in our communities, the fact of the matter is, this virus doesn’t care about any town, city, or county boundary, and we need a statewide approach to get Wisconsin back on track,” said Gov. Evers. “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. 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.”

WATCH LIVE at 1:30 p.m.: Governor Evers and state officials give COVID-19 update following statewide mask mandate.