SO, WHEN DO I NEED TO WEAR A MASK IN WI NOW?
Written by Ballzer on July 31, 2020
After a surge in COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin, Governor Tony Evers ordered a statewide mask mandate. He declared a new public health emergency and ordered the wearing of masks for anyone age 5 and up starting on Saturday for all enclosed spaces except a person’s home. The new order also applies to outdoor bars and restaurants, except when people are eating or drinking. Anyone who violates the order would be subject to a $200 fine. It is scheduled to run until Sept. 28. However, the La Crosse County Sherriff’s Office says they will “not be devoting time and resources to civil complaints regarding the public health order concerning masks.”
It seems like a lot of us still have questions. The governors office released a long list of questions, (and answers!), to help clarify. You can see the whole doc HERE but I wanted to pick out some common questions I’ve seen online.
Why are face coverings required?
Cloth face coverings (or face masks) are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), and healthcare professionals as an easy way to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice.
Rates of COVID-19 have significantly increased in Wisconsin as more people return to work and have more interactions in public. Wearing face coverings is the simplest way to slow and prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus without requiring people stay in their homes.
When do I need to wear a face covering?
You need to wear a face covering whenever you are indoors or in an enclosed space, other than a private residence, and other people are present in the same room or space. For example, you must wear a mask while you are shopping in a store or using a taxi.
When do I not need to wear a face covering?
You do not need to wear a face covering if:
• you are at a private residence;
• you are outside; or
• you are indoors and no one else is present.
You can also remove your face covering in the following situations:
• When you are eating or drinking.
• When you are communicating with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing and you cannot communicate while wearing a mask.
• While sleeping (e.g., firefighters sleeping at a fire station).
• While swimming or being on duty as a life guard.
• When you are giving a religious, political, media, educational, artistic, cultural, musical, or theatrical presentation for an audience, so long as you have at least 6 feet between you and other individuals.
• When you are working if wearing a face covering poses a safety risk, as determined by government safety guidelines or regulations.
• When you need to temporarily remove your face covering to confirm your identify, such as entering a bank, credit union, or other financial institution or when having to show that you match your identification card when buying alcohol.
• When engaging in activities where federal or state law or regulations prohibit wearing a face covering.
Do I need to wear a face covering indoors, even if I can physically distance from other people at all times?
Yes, you need to wear a face covering indoors unless you are at a private residence or you’re the only person in the room.
Do I need to wear a face covering when I exercise?
It depends on where you are exercising. You do not need to wear a face covering if you are exercising in a private
residence or outdoors. For example, you do not need to wear a mask if you are riding your bike on a trail. But you do
need to wear a face covering if you are exercising indoors or in an enclosed space and other people are present, such as
a gym, a cycling studio, or hotel workout room.
Do I need to wear a face covering when eating, drinking, or sleeping in indoor places other than my home?
No. But you must put your face covering on again when you are done with these activities. For example, while you’re waiting for your table or waiting for a server to come take your order, keep your mask on. This includes outdoor restaurant and bar areas.
I have a medical condition that prevents me from wearing a face covering. Do I need documentation to prove that I don’t need to wear a face covering in public?
No. You are not required to carry documentation to prove that you do not need to wear a face covering in public.
Can I wear a face shield instead of a face covering?
No. A face shield does not provide the same protections as a face covering. You are free to wear a face shield in addition to a face covering. But a face shield cannot be used in place of a face covering that would otherwise be required by this order.
There may be situations where a face shield can be used instead of a face covering if you are engaging in work where wearing a face covering would create a risk to you, as determined by government safety guidelines, or if you are engaging in activities where federal or state law or regulations prohibit wearing a face covering. But that will depend on the specific government safety guidelines.
Are face coverings required inside businesses and office spaces?
Yes, unless an exception applies.
Do I need to wear a face covering when in my car, in a ride-share service, or on public transportation?
The only time you need to wear a face covering in your own car is if you’re traveling with people from another household. You have to wear a mask if you’re using a ride-share or on public transportation.
Find the full order HERE.