Evers urges college students to skip on parties, bars and calls on GOP to set example with masks

NOW: Evers urges college students to skip on parties, bars and calls on GOP to set example with masks

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – As a surge in COVID-19 cases continues across the state, state leaders are urging people to double down on efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus as concerns over the upcoming flu season and stresses on hospitals weighs heavily on their minds.

While there was a heavy emphasis on college-aged students during Thursday’s media briefing, Governor Tony Evers also called on Republican lawmakers to set an example for the rest of the state as images on social media show GOP events with almost no social distancing or mask wearing.

“I see lots of pictures of fundraisers done by our republican colleagues where not a single person in a picture of maybe 40 or 50 wearing a mask,” Evers said. “When our leaders in the state don’t want to cooperate on this, it makes it difficult.”

The recent surge in cases, however, has been driven primarily by 18-24-year-olds on college campuses where young people often do not adhere to social distancing or mask wearing at bars, parties or other large gatherings.

“Yes, we know our case numbers are going up and we also know that masks work,” Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said. “Mask wearing is only effective the more we do it together.”

While Big Ten football returns in October without fans in stadiums, Governor Evers expressed concern over the potential of students gathering to watch games on television at bars or gatherings to become a super spreader event and wants the Big Ten Conference to be involved with addressing the issue.

“We’re going to be asking the Big Ten to be helping out with that.” Evers said. “The Big Ten is spending a lot of money to bring football back to play. And they’re spending a lot of money for testing for the players but they need to step up and have a significant stake in this game. Football is about football players and football fans.”

The governor’s emergency declaration which is tied to the mask mandate is currently being challenged in court. Rick Esenberg, president of Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty which is challenging the order on behalf of residents, told CBS 58 that they will be amending the current lawsuit to include the most recent order. That case is still being handled in Polk County and is expected to make its way to the state Supreme Court.

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