Statewide Mask Mandate

Face coverings are required in Oneida County under these circumstances:

There is currently an Order in effect regarding face coverings from Governor Tony Evers’ office  that is in effect as of August 1, 2020 and covers all of Wisconsin.  The Governor’s Order sets a minimum bar of what must be followed, but also allows locales to be stricter.

Under the above mentioned Order, people five years of age and older must wear a face covering:

  • The individual is indoors or in an enclosed space, other than at a private residence; and;
  • Another person or persons who are not members of individual’s household or living unit are present in the same room or enclosed space.

Face coverings are strongly recommended in all other settings, including outdoors when it is not possible to maintain physical distancing.
There are exceptions for when a face covering can be removed. Exceptions include:

  • Individuals who are otherwise required to wear a face covering may remove the face covering in the following situations:
  • While eating or drinking.
  • When communicating with an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing and communication cannot be achieved through other means.
  • While obtaining a service that requires the temporary removal of the face covering, such as dental services.
  • While sleeping.
  • While swimming or on duty as a lifeguard.
  • While a single individual is giving a religious, political, media, educational, artistic, cultural, musical, or theatrical presentation for an audience, the single speaker may remove the face covering when actively speaking. While the face covering is removed, the speaker must remain at least 6 feet away from all other individuals at all times.
  • When engaging in work where wearing a face covering would create a risk to the individual, as determined by government safety guidelines.
  • When necessary to confirm the individual’s identity, including when entering a bank, credit union, or other financial institution.
  • When federal or state law or regulations prohibit wearing a face covering.

In accordance with CDC guidance, the following individuals are exempt from the face covering requirement in Section 2:

  • Children between the ages of 2 and 5 are encouraged to wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible. The CDC does not recommend masks for children under the age of 2.
  • Individuals who have trouble breathing.
  • Individuals who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.
  • Individuals with medical conditions, intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, or other sensory sensitivities that prevent the individual from wearing a face covering.
  • Incarcerated individuals. The Wisconsin Department of Corrections shall continue to comply with COVID-19 protocols to ensure the health and safety of its staff and individuals in its care. Local governments are strongly encouraged to continue or create COVID-19 protocols to ensure the health and safety of their staff and individuals in their care.

Enforcement of This Policy

Our Role

We have established a complaint team that will evaluate the complaints and determine the best way to provide education to individuals and businesses that are noncompliant with the face covering section of the Order. The goal of this team is to ensure that face coverings are worn when required by providing education first before looking towards enforcement. When necessary, enforcement will generally focus on businesses or individuals that despite attempts to educate continue to violate the Order, such as businesses who do not require customers and/or staff to wear face coverings. If a citation is issued it would amount to up to $200.

Your Role as an Individual

You should not ask someone why they are not wearing a face covering. It is not your job to intervene if someone is not wearing a face covering. Some people have conditions or circumstances that would make wearing a cloth face covering difficult or dangerous. Your job is to wear your face covering and stay six feet away from others. See this section for more information.


Why it’s Important to Wear a Face Covering

Face coverings help prevent the spread of the virus.

  • Your face covering protects me, and my face covering protects you. Wearing a face covering will help protect people around you, including those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and workers who frequently come into close contact with other people (e.g., in stores and restaurants).
  • Face coverings work best when we all wear them. Face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings. The spread of COVID-19 can be reduced when face coverings are used along with other preventative measures , including social distancing , frequent handwashing, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

Face Covering Discrimination and Equity

Not everyone is required to wear a face covering. Some people with disabilities, physical or mental conditions, and very young people (under 5) are not required to wear face coverings because doing so may cause harm to that person. Federal law requires businesses provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities. This may mean providing an alternate form of service (e.g., curbside pickup or delivery instead of in person shopping) to a person with a disability who cannot wear a face covering.

People wearing face coverings are doing so to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. Assume that someone is wearing a face covering to protect themselves from COVID-19. Do not assume that they are wearing a face covering to conceal their identity, commit crimes, or because they have COVID-19 and are contagious. Businesses should not require that customers remove face coverings upon entry. 


How to Get a Face Covering

Make Your Own

CDC has instructions for making your own face covering, with both sew and no-sew instructions. For the no-sew option, you’ll need fabric, like an old t-shirt, cotton cloth, or bandana, rubber bands or hair ties, and scissors.

Buy One

You can buy face coverings online and in retail stores.

Get One from Your Community

Many crafty people have stepped up to make and donate face coverings in our community. Check your neighborhood groups on social media, Next Door, and other similar sites to see if someone is donating face coverings near you. We also have a limited number of masks available at the Oneida County Health Department.  


Using and Taking Care of Your Face Covering

Putting Your Face Covering On

  • Wash your hands before putting on your face covering
  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
  • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
  • Make sure you can breathe easily

Taking Your Face Covering Off

  • Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops
  • Handle only by the ear loops or ties
  • Fold outside corners together
  • Place covering in the washing machine (learn more about how to wash cloth face coverings)
  • Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing.

Washing Your Face Covering

Cloth face coverings should be washed after each use. It is important to always remove face coverings correctly and wash your hands after handling or touching a used face covering.

  • Clean in a washing machine
    • You can include your face covering with your regular laundry.
    • Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the face covering.
  • Washing by hand
    • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
      • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) household bleach per gallon of room temperature water or
      • 4 teaspoons household bleach per quart of room temperature water
    • Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection. Some bleach products, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing, may not be suitable for disinfection. Ensure the bleach product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
    • Soak the face covering in the bleach solution for 5 minutes.
    • Rinse thoroughly with cool or room temperature water.
  • Drying in a Dryer. Use the highest heat setting and leave in the dryer until completely dry.
  • Drying by Air Dry. Lay flat and allow to completely dry. If possible, place the cloth face covering in direct sunlight.

Business and Workplace Resources

  • Signs: Businesses and workplaces are required to post this sign  (or a similar sign) about face coverings being required that is visible upon entering the property. All residential properties (such as apartment buildings and condominiums) that have shared common indoor spaces (such as mailrooms, lobbies, hallways) are required to post this sign (or a similar sign) about face coverings being required that is visible upon entering the property.

How to Talk to Customers About This Order

Everyone who is able must wear a face covering in your establishment. If someone enters without a face covering, remind them about the policy. If they say they are unable to wear a face covering, you must offer reasonable accommodation, such as offering curbside or delivery service. If the individual chooses to decline the offered accommodations, the business owner is at liberty to decline them entry if they so choose. If your business cannot offer alternative services to someone with a medical condition or disability (i.e., you run a gym), they should not be denied entry. They should follow the other provisions of the order, such as physical distancing. If someone simply refuses to wear a face covering, as a business owner you have the right to ask them to leave.

Some strategies to discuss masks with customers could include:

  • Offer an alternate service, such as curbside pickup or delivery, that meets the customer’s needs while also ensuring they are not indoors in your business.
  • If possible, buy or ask for donations of face coverings that you could offer to customers who do not have them.
  • Make it clear on your business’s website that face coverings are required in your business.
  • Explain that this policy is county-wide and statewide in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Frequently Asked Questions

We will continue adding to this list as questions come in.

How long to I need to wear a face covering?
You are required to wear a face covering for the entire duration of the time you are in an indoor setting with people you do not live with. You also need to wear a face covering if you are outside waiting in a line to go into an establishment. We strongly recommend wearing a face covering when you are in an outdoor setting where you’re unable to maintain six feet of distance from people you do not live with. Remember, with any gathering, physical distancing is required.

Do I need to wear a face covering indoors even if I can physical distance at all times?
Yes, if you are with individuals not from your household or living unit.

Am I required to wear a face covering when I am using public transportation, a taxi or a school bus?
Yes, you are required to wear a face covering when driving or riding on public transportation or in a paratransit vehicle, a taxi, a private car service vehicle, a ride-sharing vehicle, or any other for hire vehicle.

Am I required to wear a face covering when in my car?
Yes, if you are with individuals not from your household or living unit.

Do individuals that have already tested positive for COVID-19 still have to wear a face covering?
Yes.

When is a face covering not needed?
You do not need to wear one:

  • At home, when you do not have guests
  • If you are in an office space where no one could enter the space
  • In your own car if you do not have passengers from another household or living unit

We strongly recommend wearing a face covering when you are outdoors and unable to stay six feet from people you do not live with. It is a good idea to keep a face covering with you at all times so it is ready to use in case you run into a situation where distancing is not possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

We will continue adding to this list as questions come in.

How long to I need to wear a face covering?
You are required to wear a face covering for the entire duration of the time you are in an indoor setting with people you do not live with. You also need to wear a face covering if you’re outside waiting in a line to go into an establishment. We strongly recommend wearing a face covering when you are in an outdoor setting where you are unable to maintain six feet of distance from people you do not live with. Remember, with any gathering, physical distancing is required.

Do I need to wear a face covering indoors even if I can physical distance at all times?
Yes, if you are with individuals not from your household or living unit.

Am I required to wear a face covering when I am using public transportation, a taxi or a school bus?
Yes, you are required to wear a face covering when driving or riding on public transportation or in a para-transit vehicle, a taxi, a private car service vehicle, a ride-sharing vehicle, or any other for hire vehicle.

Am I required to wear a face covering when in my car?
Yes, if you are with individuals not from your household or living unit.

Do individuals that have already tested positive for COVID-19 still have to wear a face covering?
Yes.

When is a face covering not needed?
You do not need to wear one:

  • At home, when you do not have guests
  • If you are in an office space with a closed door where no one could enter the space
  • In your own car if you do not have passengers from another household or living unit

We strongly recommend wearing a face covering when you are outdoors and unable to stay six feet from people you don’t live with. It is a good idea to keep a face covering with you at all times so it is ready to use in case you run into a situation where distancing is not possible.

Do I need to wear a face covering when I’m just going over to someone’s house?
Yes, if you are going inside their home. We strongly recommend wearing one if you’re outside and may be unable to maintain six feet of distance from people you don’t live with. Remember, with any gathering, physical distancing is required.

Do I need to wear a face covering while walking my dog, out for a jog, etc.
The orders do not require a face covering outside unless you are waiting in a line to enter an indoor building or in an confined space open to the public where individuals congregate such as an outdoor bar, outdoor restaurant, or outdoor park structure. It is a good idea to keep one with you in case you need it.

Is my employer required to provide me with a face covering if I need to wear one at work?
Yes.

I’m not able to wear a face covering for medical condition, mental health reason, or disability. Do I need documentation about why I can’t wear a face covering?
No.

Are face shields considered a face covering?
No. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , it is not known if face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings. 

A face shield that covers the entire person’s face and is secured at the top and bottom of the face with fabric or other enclosures that ensures there are no gaps or openings on the top or bottom is allowed as a face covering.

Can I wear a mask that has a valve?
No. A mask with a valves is not considered a face covering as it does not prevent droplets from escaping.  If you have a mask with a valve, you would need to cover the mask with another face covering that is allowed under the Order, such as a cloth face covering.

My goggles or glasses fog up when I wear a face covering. What can I do?
Here are some tips.

Is a space that has some open walls considered an outdoor space?
No, a space must be completely open on all sides to be outdoors. Opening windows does not create an outdoor space. Masks are also required in outdoor confined spaces open to the public where individuals congregate such as outdoor restaurants, outdoor bars, and outdoor park structures.

Are face coverings required inside gyms and yoga studios?
Yes. The order provides the following exemption: Individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering.

Do I need to wear a face covering while swimming or in a pool?
No. A face covering should be used as you are coming to and going from the pool.  

I live in an apartment or condo with multiple units. Am I required to wear a face covering in the common areas (hallways, lobby, etc.)?
Yes. Individuals are required to wear a face covering in any indoor space where other people, except for members of the person’s own household or living unit, could be present.  Apartments and condominiums that have shared common indoor spaces (such as mailrooms, lobbies, hallways) are required to post this sign (or a similar sign) about face coverings being required that is visible upon entering the property.

If I am in an enclosed office alone with a door do I need to wear a face covering?  
Staff would only need to use a face covering if indoors and could come into contact with others who are not part of their household or living unit. If staff are in an office space with a closed door where no one could enter the space then no face covering is needed. 

How do I wear a face covering while I’m eating or at a restaurant?
You can remove your face covering while actively eating and drinking. You should wear it when waiting for your food or in transit inside a restaurant.

Do I need to wear a face covering when I am picking up food outside using curbside service?
A face covering is not required, but recommended.

Are workers that sleep at their place of employment (for example: EMS, firefighters, paramedics) required to wear face coverings while sleeping?
No, face coverings are not required while sleeping.  Physical distancing must be maintained. 

What do I do if I see someone not wearing a face covering, even though they should be?
Nothing. Some people have conditions or circumstances that would make wearing a face covering difficult or dangerous. Just wear your face covering and stay six feet away.

Children, Childcare, and Schools

How do I get my child to wear a face covering?
The order requires children five and older to wear face coverings, and we know this may be difficult. It is always helpful to explain to kids why you’re asking them to do something. In this case, you can explain that wearing a face covering will help keep them from getting other people sick. It can be helpful to relate the explanation to people who are close to them, like grandparents or parents. Even though their grandparent might live in another state, you can explain that the people they pass in the grocery store or doctor’s office might be another person’s grandparent, and we want to keep those grandparents safe. We like these additional tips from KidsHealth and Childrens’ Minnesota .

Does my child need to wear a face covering on a school bus?
Yes, children five and older are required to wear a face covering when riding on public transportation or in a school bus, paratransit vehicle, a taxi, a private car service vehicle, a ride-sharing vehicle, or any other for hire vehicle.

Does my child need to wear a face covering to go to daycare?
Face coverings are required for children five years and older. Children younger than two should never wear a face covering due to risk of suffocation. Children who are two, three, or four years old, with the assistance and close supervision of an adult, are strongly recommend to wear a face covering at all times when it is difficult to maintain distancing.

Are children required to wear face coverings during nap time?
No, face coverings are not required while sleeping.  Social distancing must be maintained. 

Can I sign a waiver so my child does not need to wear a face covering at their child care or school?
No, signing a waiver will not supersede the Orders face coverings. Exemptions are for individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering.

What if the child care center or school has a classroom with mixed ages?
Anyone over the age of five in the classroom is required to wear a face covering. Children who are two, three, or four years old, with the assistance and close supervision of an adult, are strongly recommend to wear a face covering at all times when it is difficult to maintain distancing. It is up to your child care center if you want children over the age of two to wear a face covering in classrooms with mixed ages.

I work as a nanny.  Am I required to wear a face covering in the home of the family I work for?  
Yes, whenever you are in an indoor space with individuals that are not part of your household or living unit, you are required to wear a face covering.