Evers formally announces new public health emergency for Wisconsin

Gov. Tony Evers delivers his State of the State Address on Jan. 12, 2021
Gov. Tony Evers delivers his State of the State Address on Jan. 12, 2021(WSAW)
Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 4:55 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has formally announced a new public health emergency for the state, and has also issued a new face coverings order.

Evers’ office announced the governor signed Executive Order #104 and Emergency Order #1 on Tuesday, January 19. As Action 2 News had previously reported, Evers had announced his intention to issue a new health emergency and extend the statewide mask requirement on January 15th.

According to the Executive Order, the health emergency will be in effect for 60 days, or until it is revoked by Evers or by a joint resolution of the Wisconsin State Legislature.

The order allows the Adjutant General to activate the Wisconsin National Guard as necessary in order to help with the state’s response to the emergency. It also directs all state agencies to help as appropriate in Wisconsin’s ongoing response to the emergency.

CLICK HERE to read the full Executive Order.

Meanwhile, the statewide mask covering emergency order states a face covering is required for everyone age five and older in Wisconsin to wear a face covering if a person is indoors or in an enclosed space other than their private residence, as well as if another person who isn’t a member of their immediate household or living unit are in the same room or enclosed space.

The emergency order expires on March 20th, or by a superseding emergency order. It is enforceable by civil forfeiture of no more than $200. CLICK HERE to read the full emergency order.

Face coverings are also encouraged in all other settings, including when you are outdoors and not able to stay at least six feet apart from others.


A face covering is defined as a piece of cloth or other material worn to cover the nose and mouth, and can include a bandana, a cloth face mask, a disposable paper mask, a neck gaiter, or a religious face covering.

However, a face covering doesn’t include face shields, a mesh mask, a mask with holes or openings, or masks with vents.

Evers’ office defines an enclosed space as a confined space open to the public where individuals can congregate, which include outdoor bars, outdoor restaurants, taxis, public transit, ride-share vehicles, and outdoor park structures.


In addition, state officials say individuals who are otherwise required to wear a face covering can remove it in the following situations:

  • While eating or drinking
  • Communicating with an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing, and communication can’t be done through other means
  • Getting a service which requires the temporary removal of the covering, such as dental services
  • Sleeping
  • Swimming or on duty as a lifeguard
  • When federal or state law or regulations prohibit wearing a face covering
  • When necessary to confirm a person’s identity, such as entering a bank, credit union, or other financial institution
  • While working where wearing a face covering would create a risk to the wearer, which is determined by government safety guidelines
  • While someone is giving a religious, political, media, educational, artistic, cultural, musical or theatrical presentation for an audience, the wearer may remove the face covering when actively speaking. While the covering is removed, the speaker must remain at least six feet away from all others at all times.

In addition, Evers’ office announced the following people are exempt from the face covering requirement:

  • Children between the ages of 2 and 5 are encouraged to wear a mask when physical distancing isn’t possible, however the CDC doesn’t recommend masks for children who are under the age of 2.
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to remove the covering without help
  • Those with medical conditions, intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, or other sensory sensitivities which prevent a person from wearing a face covering
  • Those who are incarcerated at Department of Corrections facilities. Evers’ office says the department will continue to comply with COVID-19 protocols to ensure the health and safety of its staff and everyone in the department’s care.

According to the order, state facilities or offices which are controlled by the Wisconsin State Legislature or Wisconsin Supreme Court are exempt from the order. In addition, the state legislature and Supreme Court may create guidelines for face coverings which are consistent with their specific needs for their branches of government.

The order issued by Evers’ office supersedes any local order which is less restrictive, however local governments may issue orders more restrictive than his Emergency Order.

Copyright 2021 WBAY. All rights reserved.