Wisconsin's mask mandate takes effect, met with mixed opinions

Time to mask up.

Wisconsin's statewide mask mandate went into effect on Saturday, Aug. 1. While the hope is to slow the spread of COVID-19, the new rule is of course coming with mixed opinions.

For one retailer, a recent addition to the merchandise is flying off the hooks -- helping business in a slumping COVID-19 economy

“Our sales are up because they are coming in to get masks,” Robin Manke, owner of Robin's Nest in Menomonee Falls, said.

Most importantly, though, it is helping people stay safe.

Cloth face masks at Robin's Nest

“I hope it keeps us all healthy,” Jeanne Schroeder said.

That's the goal, at least, after Gov. Tony Evers issued a statewide mandate. Wisconsin residents ages 5 and older are required to wear a face-covering when they are indoors or in an enclosed space with anyone outside their household or living unit.

With the coronavirus still spreading, Manke is thankful the rule is now universal in the Badger State.

“Milwaukee was more diligent, I feel, in their mask mandate, Waukesha was much looser...we felt like we had to follow the CDC guidelines for retails and we did that,” Manke said.

People wearing masks in Waukesha County with the Wisconsin mask mandate in effect on Aug. 1

Different mask ordinances in different municipalities has caused some to be uneasy.

“It was uncomfortable for me to be in places with people not wearing masks I’m very happy we moved in this direction,” Schroeder said.

However, it's a path others feel should be optional.

“It should be voluntary because some people don’t want to wear the mask and they shouldn't be forced to wear the mask,” said Greg Mullen. 

Mullen said he covers his face in certain environments, but feels a person should have the right to choose.

“It seems not wearing masks isn't working so in my opinion wearing a mask isn’t that much of a thing to ask in order to keep this under control,” Joan Mullen said.

The state legislature could still vote to block the mandate, but in the meantime, not following the mask mandate could cost you. You could be fined $200, but it seems like enforcement will vary based on municipality.

The mask mandate does have some exceptions, such as when you are eating, drinking or swimming, or have medical or mental health conditions.