(Natural News) The Wisconsin State Senate has overturned a mask mandate ordered by its governor. The state senators voted on Jan. 26 to repeal the mask-wearing order of Gov. Tony Evers. The governor’s order took effect in August 2020, and was originally set to expire in March this year. Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature had been fighting the measure for months now, calling it an overreach of the governor’s powers.
The senators voted 18-13 to repeal Evers’ mandate, which was implemented amid the ongoing Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. Two GOP members joined Democrats in the Wisconsin senate in an unsuccessful effort to strike down the anti-mask resolution. About two dozen health groups had lobbied against scrapping the mask-wearing order, including the Wisconsin Medical Society. They argued that masks were a necessity until such time the Wuhan coronavirus vaccine is widely administered.
GOP State Sen. Stephen Nass said: “This is not about whether face masks are good or bad. This is about repeatedly issuing emergency orders contrary to what the law allows.” He added that the vote repealing the mask order was about “the rule of law.”
On the other hand, Wisconsin Democrats have said the mask-wearing order is a necessary measure for public safety. Evers, a Democrat, remarked that the ongoing pandemic justified new emergency declarations along the way. Wisconsin’s GOP-controlled Assembly is expected to vote on the repeal within days. If the resolution passes there, Evers’ signature is not required to make it effective.
The governor’s mask mandate also faces a challenge in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. GOP critics have argued that Evers overstepped the authority of his emergency powers with his repeated extensions. Any extension to an emergency order beyond 60 days needs to be approved first by the state legislature, they commented.
NIAID director endorses use of multiple masks
If Wisconsin passes the anti-mask resolution, it would join nine other states without statewide mask mandates. Three states near Wisconsin have no mask mandate – North Dakota, South Dakota and Missouri. (Related: Biden’s federal mask mandate will not be “national,” says constitutional law experts.)
Even if the Democrat governor’s statewide mask mandate is repealed, mask-wearing orders are still in place at the local level. The Milwaukee and Dane counties have their own mask orders in effect, and so do several rural counties. Major cities in the state such as Green Bay, Beloit, Racine, Superior and Whitewater also have their own face mask mandates.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said Jan. 26: “This is no time to remove a mask mandate in our state.” She added that vaccines alone won’t stop the spread of COVID-19 with the emergence of more contagious variants hailing from the U.K. and South Africa. Willems Van Dijk exhorted everyone in the state to “continue [wearing] a mask [and] physically distance” whether the mandate stands or not. She also suggested that wearing two masks would not be a bad idea.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci endorsed the deputy health secretary’s suggestion. The top infectious disease doctor said during a Jan. 25 TODAY interview that it was “common sense” to wear two masks. He explained: “If you have a physical covering with one layer [and] you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective. That’s the reason why you see people either double masking or doing a version of an N95 [mask.]”
Fauci has been urging the U.S. to mask up since the early stages of the pandemic, but he has also been seen attending a baseball game with two friends – not wearing a mask.
The NIAID director called his critics “mischievous,” insisting that he just removed his mask to drink water. However, the picture showed him holding his mobile phone and not a water bottle. (Related: Fauci says he’s now pushing masks after previously saying they weren’t needed because of supply shortages.)