'Shiny object:' Statewide mask mandate met with mixed reaction in Washington Co.

A beautiful summer evening along Main Street in West Bend, almost no signs of the pandemic that continues to roil the state.

State health data showing COVID activity high in nearly all Wisconsin counties — including here in Washington County — 800 cases total and 22 deaths since the pandemic began.

More than 200 cases in the last two weeks with Wednesday marking the highest number of cases at 37.

"Science is telling us face coverings can save lives."

Governor Tony Evers issuing an executive order mandating facial coverings across the state to stem the spread of the disease.

“We’ve been thinking about it for several weeks, this is not something that happens in 24 hours,” Gov. Evers said.

“But, right now, I know that the governor just grabbed a lot of authority and executives have the right to do that in certain circumstances and we need to be very cautious about what that means,” Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann said.

Josh Schoemann

He’s calling the mask mandate a 'shiny object' and the executive order a 'trojan horse' claiming that it's a precursor to closing schools and thereby businesses, despite the order saying without mitigation of the virus it could prevent schools from fully reopening.

“We’ve encouraged people for weeks to wear masks, out of love for their neighbor. I’m afraid this power grab will take it one step farther,” Schoemann said.

“We’ll do whatever it takes to make everybody feel safe,” Ian Wirtz said.

Over at Pearl of Canton, no major concerns such as eating or drinking are exempted in the order, but questions about how or if the statewide order will be enforced...

Pearl on Canton

But with it going into effect Saturday:

”Everybody’s got to do their part...with wearing a mask, mandated and enforceable, along with the social distancing and good hygiene. We got to do our part,” Wirtz said.

Schoemann hopes the Republican controlled legislature will take action to rescind the governor's order.

Assembly leader Robin Vos saying he opposes the mandate, but he won't sue to stop it like he did the 'Safer at Home' order.