Portage County officials plan to issue a face-covering order for the county in the coming days after the Wisconsin Supreme Court on March 31 struck down Gov. Tony Evers face mask mandate.
Portage County officials say they have been watching this situation closely. The Supreme Court acknowledged that its ruling only decided the scope of the governor’s powers under Wisconsin law, not whether the public health orders Evers issued were a good idea.
“We are finalizing the work on our own order that provides a clear path forward for county businesses and residents,” said Portage County Executive Chris Holman in a news release. “That path will help us continue to avoid some of the tumult that local jurisdictions have been through since the state’s response was shifted to us last year. Because there does not seem to be any sort of plan for the state at this time, and the Supreme Court’s ruling … significantly limits the governor’s and DHS’ response to many aspects of this pandemic, local governments are left in the position of whether or not to respond in some manner.”
Portage County reminds everyone of the positive results residents have benefitted from by following recommended safe practices throughout the past year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and the Portage County Division of Public Health’s have all recommended guidance including wearing a face covering, socially distancing, washing your hands regularly, and taking other measures to lower the risk of infection for yourself and others. Following that guidance has resulted in a lower number of positive COVID-19 test results and a decrease in the number of active cases in Portage County, according to the news release.