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Wisconsin governor Tony Evers announces statewide face mask mandate

It comes amid rising cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin looks set to become the next state to enact a face mask mandate amid rising cases of COVID-19.

Gov. Tony Evers announced the mandate on Thursday, saying they will be required in all indoor or enclosed public spaces when other people are present.

It follows on the heels of Minnesota enacting its statewide mask mandate, which went into effect on Saturday, July 24.

The order in Wisconsin goes into effect this Saturday, Aug. 1, and will stay in place until Sept. 28.

"We’ve said all along that we’re going to let science and public health experts be our guide in responding to this pandemic, and we know that masks and face coverings will save lives," Gov. Evers said. 

"While I know emotions are high when it comes to wearing face coverings in public, my job as governor is to put people first and to do what's best for the people of our state, so that's what I am going to do.”

It comes amid rising cases in recent weeks in Wisconsin, with its per-capita case total and positive test rate rising at a faster rate than Minnesota's, despite Minnesota initially having dealt with a larger outbreak in May than that seen in Wisconsin.

But will the mandate stand?

The question for Wisconsin now is whether it will be subject to a challenge from both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature, which are Republican-controlled.

A GOP-led challenge to Gov. Evers' Stay at Home order saw the shutdown end in May and bars/restaurants, among other non-essential businesses, open without any restrictions.

Many Republicans across the country have opposed mask mandates or even the wearing of masks, despite health officials and CDC suggesting it could help mitigate the spread of potential COVID-carrying droplets.

Of the GOP's previous successful efforts to remove restrictions, Evers said: "We tried their way. Folks, it’s not working."

Minnesota, which hasn't seen its COVID-19 cases rebound as much as it has in other states, particularly those in the south, retains restrictions on non-essential businesses, which limits their capacity.

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