Wisconsin Officials Encourage Mask-Clad Independence Day

As Wisconsin sees a growing number of cases, officials urge residents take safety precautions over the holiday weekend to prevent the spread of the virus.

By Will Kenneally

July 2, 2020

FacebookRedditGoogle ClassroomEmail
N95 mask

N95 mask from a Cambridge Area EMS ambulance.

Wisconsin officials are encouraging residents to wear masks ahead of the July 4 weekend that will see many changes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This comes as Wisconsin saw a daily increase of 539 cases from Wednesday to Thursday, as well as a continued 14-day increase in the positive test rate. The state is currently up to 29,738 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

As public Independence Day celebrations around the state face cancellations, Wisconsinites may celebrate within smaller groups.

“If you do travel or go out in public, make sure you wear a mask, keep physically distancing with people outside your household, and check the Department of Health Services dashboard for the COVID-19 activity in the areas you’re traveling through,” said Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes in a radio address.

“Now, we can’t afford to undo all the sacrifices people have made to get us to this point,” he added. “So, the safest thing you can do for you, your family, and your community is to enjoy your time with your loved ones at home this weekend.”

This also comes as cities work to adopt local solutions to the resurging crisis. Milwaukee is considering issuing a broad mask-wearing mandate, and Madison placed restrictions on bars and restaurants, and on other gatherings in an effort to mitigate a COVID-19 spike due to the holiday weekend.

“This is what we’re hoping to prevent by making some of the decisions that we’ve made today,” said Public Health Madison and Dane County Director Janel Heinrich during a Wednesday news conference.

Janel Heinrich

Public Health Madison and Dane County Director Janel Heinrich announces restrictions on bars and restaurants July 1, 2020.

The Dane County restrictions come amid a spike of cases among Wisconsinites in their 20s, which contact tracers have tied to those going to bars. Close to half of those new cases reported attending a gathering with people outside of their household.

“Family gatherings, indoor and outdoor birthday parties, barbecues, those are really the leading issues when it’s not associated with the bar,” she said.

Heinrich added that Dane County was not immediately considering a mask-wearing mandate, saying that they needed to study the policy’s impact on different communities.

Statement to the Communities We Serve

There is no place for racism in our society. We must work together as a community to ensure we no longer teach, or tolerate it.  Read the full statement.