WISCONSIN ISSUES MASK MANDATE

Authored by Attorney John Rather

Starting Saturday August 1st, all Wisconsin residents will be required to wear a mask or other face covering while indoors outside their home.

On Thursday July 30th, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers issued Executive Order # 82, which re-declared a public health emergency, and Emergency Order #1, which requires all individuals 5 and older to wear a mask when in an indoor or enclosed space other than a private residence.

MANDATE

Face coverings must be worn where:

  1. The individual is indoors or in an enclosed space (other than a private residence); and
  2. There is someone else in the room or enclosed space who is not a member of the individual’s household or living unit.

The order strongly recommends face coverings in all other settings, including outdoors when it is not possible to maintain physical distancing.

DATES

The mandate takes effect on Saturday August 1st and ends September 28th, unless renewed.

WHAT QUALIFIES AS A FACE COVERING

“Face coverings” must completely cover the nose and mouth and cannot have holes or vents. Face shields do not qualify. Individuals also are discouraged from using N95 masks and other medical-grade supplies in order to conserve supplies for health care providers.

APPLIES TO VEHICLES AND OTHER ENCLOSED SPACES TOO

“Enclosed spaces” include private vehicles (if someone from another household is present), taxis, public transportation and ride-sharing vehicles, as well as outdoor dining and bars.

EXCEPTIONS

The order contains certain exceptions, such as for eating, swimming, giving a presentation (the presenter must maintain a 6 foot distance from all others while unmasked), kids under 5 (though masks are still encouraged for children between 2 and 5), and for those with certain physical or mental conditions.

The requirement does not apply to private residences even if being used for business. Businesses also are not required to provide face coverings for their employees or customers (except in Dane County, where employers must provide them for employees).

STATE VS. LOCAL ORDERS

In counties or municipalities that also have a mask mandate, the more restrictive of the orders will control. For example, Dane County requires individuals to wear masks and imposes additional requirements on businesses and other establishments.

PENALTIES

Violations are subject to civil forfeiture of up to $200.

If you have questions about what your business must do to comply with this new mandate or how to prepare or respond to the unique challenges presented by this pandemic, we are here to help.

This article was authored by Attorney John Rather. John is a graduate of Marquette University Law School and practices business, employment and health care law as part of Neider & Boucher’s business team. He is co-chair of the firm’s COVID-19 response team.

The guidance provided above is general in nature and readers are encouraged to reach out to Neider & Boucher, S.C., or to their own legal counsel to determine the applicability of these issues to their own personal and/or business needs

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