WI Supreme Court ruling doesn’t end Dane Co., Rock Co., other local mask mandates

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 9:40 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2021 at 10:03 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The end of the statewide mask requirement won’t change anything for people in Dane Co., Rock Co., or anywhere else that a local mandate is in place.

While the state Supreme Court determined Tuesday that Gov. Tony Evers exceeded his authority by extending the mandate through multiple emergency orders, the justices’ ruling only applies to the governor’s orders, not ones by local agencies.

Dane Co. Executive Joe Parisi confirmed via Twitter shortly after the ruling was announced that the mask requirement is still in effect.

Public Health Madison & Dane Co. also issued a statement Wednesday indicating the mandate will live on in the county. Director Janel Heinrich told NBC15 News the agency was disappointed by the justices’ ruling and urged everyone across the state to continue wearing masks, even if there is no mandate where they are.

“The science is clear: wearing a mask is a simple, proven way to prevent disease spread,” she said. “We aren’t out of the woods yet and must stay vigilant by wearing masks in public.”

Heinrich did note the declining cases and hospitalizations in the county, calling the trend “encourag(ing),” but immediately noted the number of corovovirus variants being discovered in the state and in Dane Co. has been increasing.

In Rock Co., the mask order remains in effect and is currently scheduled to last until May 5, its health department stated. Health officials went on to note that in addition to an increase in new cases in the county, the British variant of the virus has been reported in the county.

Even in many places where a local requirement does not exist, masks may still be required at businesses that choose to ask customers to wear them.

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