The day after the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers' mask mandate, Ashland, Bayfield and Douglas counties issued advisories asking their residents to continue wearing masks.
The court's decision was released Wednesday morning. The court ruled that the governor's second and third COVID-19 emergency orders, both of which reinstated the mask order, violated state law and required legislative approval. The ruling immediately ended the state's mask mandate.
Douglas County Public Health issued an advisory Thursday stating that people should continue to wear face masks through April. The county's recommendation aligns with the city of Superior's mask order, which is in effect through April 30.
"With only 33% of Douglas County residents having received at least one dose of vaccine, ending the use of an effective tool such as masking too soon could contribute to a spike in cases, the disruption of work and school due to isolation and quarantine, and risk of severe illness and death," the release said.
Ashland and Bayfield counties issued a joint advisory that states everyone age 5 and older should wear a face covering or mask when in a building with other people, excluding members of that person's living unit.
Together, the two counties issued their first mask advisory in July.
“Now more than ever, it is important that we do not let our guards down," Ashland County Health Officer Liz Szot said in a news release. "The sooner we reach our goal of vaccinating 80% of our communities, the sooner we will be able to move on."
The counties' advisory applies to businesses, health care settings, schools, while waiting in line, other people's homes and on public transportation. Exceptions apply to certain activities such as earing in a restaurant. However, people must maintain 6 feet between themselves and people from other households when unmasked. And people with a physical, mental or developmental condition that prevents them from wearing a mask are exempt.
"If someone is unable to wear a mask or face covering in a business due to a condition or disability, people should ask that business for reasonable accommodation, like curbside pickup or delivery option," the release read.
Those with children who are unable to wear a mask are asked to only bring them to places where it is necessary.