Here's everything you need to know about Wisconsin's statewide mask mandate

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Governor Tony Evers declared a public health emergency and issued an emergency order requiring individuals to wear a face covering when indoors and not in private residences effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1 and will expire on Sept. 28.

The announcement was made Thursday, July 30. 

For residents wondering when and where you have to wear a mask as part of the governor's new requirement, the details below should answer those questions. 

When you need to wear a mask:

The mask mandate requires Wisconsin residents to wear a face covering indoors or in an enclosed space. Private residences are excluded. You will need to wear a mask when shopping, using public transportation, and eating at a restaurant, for example. 

When you don't need to wear a mask:

If you are in a private residence, outside or indoors where no one else is around you do not need to wear a mask. However, there are also other exceptions, such as:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Sleeping (firefighters, for example)
  • Communicating with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing
  • Swimming (or being on duty as a life guard)
  • If you are giving a religious, political, media, educational, artistic, cultural, musical or theatrical presentation for an audience (while actively speaking) and you must remain six feet away from other individuals while doing so
  • While engaging in work where a face covering would create a risk to yourself
  • To confirm your identity (Example: entering a bank, credit union, or other financial institution)
  • When federal or state law or regulations prohibit wearing a face covering

The following individuals are also exempt from the face covering requirements: 

  • Individuals who have trouble breathing
  • Individuals who are unconscious or unable to remove the face covering without assistance
  • Individuals with medical conditions, intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental health conditions or sensory sensitivities 
  • Incarcerated individuals 

Does my child need to wear a mask?

Children between the ages of two and five are encouraged to wear a mask when physical distancing. The CDC does not recommend masks for children younger than 2-years-old. The mask mandate states those who are 5-years-old and older must wear a mask. 

Do you need to wear a mask indoors if you are social distancing?

Yes, you need to wear a face covering while indoors unless it is a private residence or no one else is in the room with you. 

Will masks be provided?

Many businesses often provide masks or will sell them so you can still enter. Many communities also offer masks for free. 

Can you wear a face shield instead?


Do you need to wear a mask when driving or in public transportation?

You do not need to wear a mask when driving unless you are driving with people who live in a different household. You must wear a mask on public transportation or in a ride-share service, such as Lyft and Uber.

Do you need to wear a mask when eating and drinking?

No. However, while at a restaurant you must wear a face covering while interacting with a waitress and/or bartender. 

How the mask mandate will be enforced: 

The order is enforceable by local and state officials of civil fines no more than $200. 

How local governments' requirements correlate with the statewide requirement:

The statewide mandate is the minimum requirements to be followed. The state supersedes. However, unless your local government is more restrictive, then you must still follow those requirements as well. 

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