Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin approved of another statewide mask mandate. This comes just an hour after the state’s Republican-controlled legislative body decided to repeal his previous order.
On Thursday, Evers released a video, in which he stated that the safety of people during the pandemic serves as his first priority. He also said mask-wearing is the simplest way to do this.
Since the beginning of this pandemic, I promised I would:
1️⃣never play politics with your health
2️⃣trust and follow science and public health experts
3️⃣never stop doing everything I can to keep you healthy and safe
I haven't broken those promises and I won't start today. pic.twitter.com/kfN4J2aE2k
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) February 4, 2021
The Republican lawmakers voted to repeal Evers’ previous mask mandate. They claim the governor was overstepping his boundaries when it comes to authority when he issued new public health emergencies instead of having the Legislature issue extensions.
Health Experts: Repealing Mask Mandate Puts People At Risk
Numerous health officials and experts voiced their opposition to the rescinding of the mask mandate. These experts say wearing facemasks can be considered as the most effective way to limit the spread of the coronavirus. However, the vote of the Assembly on Thursday happened after the Senate voted to repeal the policy exactly a week prior.
The Assembly initially planned to cast their vote last week, on Jan. 28. However, it decided to cancel the vote abruptly due to a bombardment of criticisms from Wisconsin’s health leaders and school and business officials, whose concern is that it would jeopardize federal funding worth $49 million.
During that time, the speaker of the Assembly, Robin Vos, stated that, despite the criticisms, the Assembly would vote to rescind the policy either way. He also revealed, however, that the legislators aim to “pause” and to conduct their due diligence to make sure they would not lose federal funding.
Last week, Wisconsin’s Senate passed a resolution that repealed the mask-wearing policy with an 18-14 vote. Prior to the vote, Senate Democrats said that removing the mandate would endanger the lives of people. Conversely, Republicans argued that Evers overstepped his jurisdiction.
Now, Wisconsin is one of 10 states that do not have a mask mandate in place. However, establishments and facilities in the state may still require anyone visiting to wear masks. Additionally, local governments are not affected by this repeal of the mask mandate.