Governor Evers plans to extend mask mandate by 60 days

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 9:25 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Governor Evers says he plans to extend Wisconsin’s statewide mask mandate after the current order expires on January 19.

In a press conference Friday, the governor says a new order will be issued likely for 60 days.

“In order for the vaccine to do its job we have to do our part to stop the spread today,” Evers said.

State health officials say the move is essential as COVID-19 remains a high threat in the state.

“Disease transmission activity is still unacceptably high and we need to do everything we can to prevent infection wherever and however we can,” Dr. Ryan Westergaard said in the governor’s press conference.

Even as people begin to be vaccinated, HSHS Sacred Heart nurse Hannah Schroeder says it is still important to wear face coverings.

“It is still important to wear your mask once you have gotten vaccinated because you still can actually get the virus and the other thing is you can still shed parts of the virus if you are an asymptomatic carrier so even if you have been vaccinated our immune systems respond differently,” she says.

Some people in Eau Claire say wearing a mask is a small price to pay to keep people healthy.

“It is easier to see and visit family when you know that when you are out in public it is a safe place to be,” says Elliott Fehlen of Eau Claire.

“I think it is a really good idea and we should keep it going as long as we can to reduce the impact that COVID-19 is spreading right now,” says Bridget Maxwell of Eau Claire.

In addition to wearing masks, health officials say it is important to continue preventative strategies like social distancing and hand washing.

“In order for the vaccine to do its job in the months ahead we have to keep working together to stop the spread of COVID-19 today,” Evers says.

The Eau Claire County Board still plans to consider a proposed ordinance for a local mask mandate on Tuesday in case the state order is not renewed. The local order would allow the Eau Claire City-County Health Department to enforce mask wearing with $200 fines.

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