On Thursday, Governor Tony Evers declared a public health emergency and issued an emergency order requiring people to wear face coverings when they are not in a private residence, his office said.
“We have said together that we intend to allow science and health experts to be our guide in responding to this pandemic. We know that face masks and coatings will save lives,” Governor Evers said in a press release.
“Although I know emotions are high when it comes to wearing faces in public,” he added, “my job as governor is to put people first and do what’s best for the people of our state, so I’m going to do ».
The order takes effect at 12:01 on Saturday, according to a news release. It expires on September 28 or with the next replacement order.
The move comes as the average number of new cases has risen sharply over the past four weeks and the state is seeing a significant expansion of the community. According to the Evers office, the number of cases increased by 75% in July, which led to an order declaring a health emergency.
According to the governor’s order, face coverage is required for all those over 5 years of age who are indoors, except for private residence. Coverage is also required if another person who is not a member of the household is indoors.
Otherwise, the masks are “highly recommended in all other settings, including outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained.”
There are exceptions, including when bathing or visiting the dentist. The order is subject to a fine of up to $ 200, although it is unclear how enforcement will work.
Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Wisconsin’s chief physician and state epidemiologist for infectious diseases, said in a statement that being at home, social distance and hand washing are effective ways to stop the virus from spreading. But masks are also important, he said.
“A growing body of research shows that facial coatings, when used correctly and consistently by a large percentage of the community, are extremely effective in preventing the spread of Covid-19 through respiratory drops,” said Westergaard.
CNN’s Brad Parks and Kay Jones contributed to this report.