Lt. gov. says WI mask mandate would require legislative action; GOP senate leader doesn't support it

MADISON -- With COVID-19 numbers rising, lawmakers from both parties are making a new pitch for face masks -- with states like California and North Carolina requiring them for people in public. Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes said Monday, June 29 it would take legislative action to require masks at the state level, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzerald said he doesn't support mandating masks. However, he does support mandating bars and restaurants follow safe practices guidelines that suggest face coverings in many environments.

The coronavirus pandemic has left child care provider Cynthia Brown out of work.

"Right now, it's kind of hard to get food, and all the other stuff, keep your bills paid," said Brown. "You got to make the choice whether you're going to pay the bills, or feed your kids. You know, we're going to feed our kids."

That was one less thing to worry about Monday as Lt. Gov. Barnes joined a face mask and school supplies giveaway at Milwaukee's Social Development Commission.

"Now if someone said, 'I got a solution to decreasing the likelihood of your contracting COVID-19 by five times,' you're like, 'Great, where is it?'" said Barnes. "You're like, 'Simple, wear a mask.'"

The 33-year-old lieutenant governor urged his fellow millenials to mask up.

"You may think that this kind of thing won't affect you, and it may not, but there are other people around you who you could impact, and that impact could be fatal," said Barnes.

Vice President Mike Pence in Wisconsin

Social Development Commission school supplies giveaway

From the states number two to the country's, Vice President Mike Pence didn't wear a face mask during a visit to Wisconsin Tuesday, June 23, but he did Sunday in Texas. In a Monday call with the country's governors, he spoke of encouraging face coverings when social distancing can't be maintained.

"To keep me safe and my kids safe," said Alexis Perry and Tatianna Houston, age 11. "We don't want to catch any virus, and keeping other people safe, too."

"I'm going pray every day, stay strong every day," said Brown. "This really helps, though. It really helps."

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends face coverings when out in public, especially when other social distancing isn't possible.

Former Vice President Joe Biden says he'll do what he can to require face masks in public.

An Associated Press poll found 76% of Democrats say they wear a mask when leaving home, while 59% of Republicans say they do.