Gov. Evers on potential mask order extension: ‘We’re looking for the right avenue’

NOW: Gov. Evers on potential mask order extension: ‘We’re looking for the right avenue’

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – As the state continues to grapple with a high number of COVID-19 cases, Governor Tony Evers said his administration is considering options to potentially extend the statewide mask order.

“We’re looking at all alternatives,” Evers said in a media briefing with Department of Health Services officials. “We believe masks are an important component in keeping the people of Wisconsin safe, and so hopefully we’ll find a way to make that happen going forward but we have made no decision in that respect. We’re looking for the right avenue.”

An extension through another emergency order is unlikely, however, as the governor’s powers for such an order is limited to 60 days. The current statewide mask mandate expires on September 28. The administration is already facing a legal challenge over the current order because those bringing the lawsuit say the state constitution does not grant the governor the power to issue consecutive emergency orders on the same issue, in this case the COVID-19 pandemic.

On top of that, the Republican-controlled Legislature does not support issuing any kind of statewide policy to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

But the administration is running out of options to put in place statewide policies to slow the spread of coronavirus. Surges across the state, outbreaks on college campuses, return to classes for K-12 education and the looming flu season are all pushing the governor and health leaders to urge Wisconsinites to keep on with methods to slow the spread of the virus.

“We cannot continue on this path,” Evers said. “We must double down on our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Another tool the state is promoting is for Wisconsinites to get their flu vaccine as soon as possible.

“Because it does help you from the flu, it does protect our state hospital capacity,” DHS Sec.-designee Andrea Palm said. “The fewer serious flu cases we have in Wisconsin, the fewer flu hospitalizations and clinic visits and therefore the greater capacity they will have to fight COVID-19.”

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