The Barron County District Attorney's Office will not be prosecuting any referrals for violations of the statewide mandate requiring face coverings that was included in Governor Tony Evers July 30 Executive Order.
Evers declared a new public health emergency, after his initial one expired in May, and ordered the wearing of masks for anyone age 5 and up starting on Aug. 1 for all enclosed spaces except a person's home. The new order also applies to outdoor bars and restaurants, except when people are eating or drinking, according to the Associated Press.
Anyone who violates the order would be subject to a $200 fine. It is slated to run until Sept. 28, according to the AP.
The District Attorney's Office sent a press release out on July 31 stating that Ever's authority to issue the order and to expose Wisconsin citizens to forfeiture liability for violating the order is unresolved.
"I will not deprive citizens of property via a forfeiture prosecution if there is not clear authority for such a prosecution. At this time, I am not satisfied that such a clear authority exists," DA Brian Wright said in the release.
"This does not mean that masks should not be worn and, in many instances, must be worn," Wright said. The Justice Center requires anyone entering the courthouse to have a face covering and that same requirement may be implemented in all public buildings, according to the release. Private businesses may also require a face covering.
If a person refuses to comply with the requirement to wear a face covering, that person may be directed to leave the premises. Refusing to leave may lead to being prosecuted for trespass, the release states.
"All of us should continue to follow the guidelines recommended by the Barron County Health Department," the release states. Barron County Public Health strongly recommends wearing masks when social distancing is not possible.
"The continued acceptance of and willingness to voluntarily follow the guidelines recommended by the Barron County Heath Department is essential to slowing the spread of [COVID-19] in Barron County," Wright said.