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Outagamie County issues face mask requirement

(Eric Gay | AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 3:58 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Outagamie County’s public health officer issued an emergency order Thursday requiring a mask wherever the county health department has jurisdiction.

The county made the move in the wake of the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling Wednesday that knocked down the Evers administration’s continued health emergencies as unlawful (see related story).

The order issued by Public Health Officer Natalie Vandeveld requires face masks for anyone age 5 and older who’s indoors or in an enclosed space that isn’t a private home, and they’re with people who aren’t part of their household.

There are exemptions for very young children; people who have trouble breathing; people who have medical or mental health conditions or intellectual or developmental issues that prevent them from wearing face coverings; and people who are incarcerated and following the COVID-19 protocols of the Outagamie County Jail.

The order also allows for times people can take off their masks, including eating or drinking, giving a presentation to an audience that’s at least 6 feet away, while swimming or working as a lifeguard, and when necessary to confirm a person’s identity.

The order cites more than 22,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 200 COVID-19 deaths in the county, while about 28% of the population has received a COVID-19 vaccine, well below any threshold for herd immunity.

The health order is in effect until further notice. County ordinance allows for a fine from $5 to $500 on the first violation and $10 to $500 for a second violation.

The order does not apply to the City of Appleton or Oneida Nation, which are under the jurisdiction of their own health departments.

A number of local governments have their own mask orders in effect. CLICK HERE for a list. Businesses, churches and other private entities may have their own mask requirements.

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