The plaintiffs sued for an injunction of executive order 90, which granted Evers the emergency powers to institute a statewide mask requirement indoors outside of a person’s residence. Order 90 was a 60-day extension of the previous state of emergency declaration, Order 82.
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The plaintiffs for the suit argued Evers overstepped in issuing a second emergency order and extending the mask mandate another 60 days, but Judge Waterman said in his ruling this was within Evers’ power.
“The 60-day limit provides an important check against run-away executive power, but it does not prevent the governor from issuing a new executive order when the emergency conditions continue to exist,” Waterman said.
Executive Order 90 was issued Sept. 22, a few days before the previous state of emergency declaration from July was set to expire.
Evers released a press release in an email Monday shortly after the ruling.
“Today’s ruling is a victory in our fight against COVID-19 and our efforts to keep the people of Wisconsin safe and healthy during this unprecedented crisis,” Evers said. “As the number of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin reached 150,000 yesterday, we will continue doing everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus.”
Evers also asked citizens to continue to wear masks in public and limit travel and gatherings when possible.
Attorney General Josh Kaul also released a statement in favor of Waterman’s ruling.
“Today’s ruling is the right one,” Kaul said. “Wisconsin currently faces one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the nation, and the mask requirement is a critical protection against the ongoing danger that the coronavirus poses to Wisconsinites’ health.”