WISCONSIN – Gov. Tony Evers issued a new statewide health emergency order — order 105 — Thursday requiring face masks.

The governor’s orders came one hour after the Republican-controlled Legislature voted to end the governor’s previous public health emergency and relating order requiring face coverings in public places

Evers released a videotaped statement with the new order. The reason for the new order: a more contagious variant strain of COVID-19, which has been found in 32 states, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois.

Read more: Variant of COVID virus in Wisconsin and order #105.

“Wearing a mask is the most basic thing we can do to keep each other safe. If the Legislature keeps playing politics and we don’t keep wearing masks, we’re going to see more preventable deaths, and it’s going to take even longer to get our state and our economy back on track,” Evers said.

The order also pointed out that without the emergency order, the state would lose $50 million in FoodShare Wisconsin funds every month. About 240,000 households rely on those additional federal funds.

Republicans respond to revocation of order 104

State Assembly Republicans rescinded the prior emergency order, executive order #104, and declared it unlawful and expect the State Assembly to pass Senate Joint Resolution 3. Saying that the order was unlawful, that order is expected to be terminated when presiding officers in the Legislature sign the resolution into law.

Legally, state law allows a state of emergency to be revoked in a joint resolution.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) released the following statement:

“Governor Evers has abused his limited authority for far too long by repeatedly issuing unlawful orders beyond his 60-day emergency powers. The Assembly and Senate voted to end the executive overreach and restore our constituents’ voice in the legislative process.”

“The Resolution will take effect upon joint signature of the presiding officers of both chambers. The Resolution will be signed on Friday.”

Rep. Greta Neubauer (D-Racine) said the move was “wrong headed and dangerous.” She issued the following statement;

“I’m deeply disappointed that so few Republican Representatives stood up for public health and safety today. If the Speaker and his allies truly oppose only the Governor’s actions and not a statewide mask order, they could have implemented one through the legislature at any point in the last ten months, along with comprehensive COVID relief. Instead, they filed lawsuits and hid behind arguments against the Governor, while Wisconsin families, workers, and small businesses struggled.”

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.