Wisconsin mask mandate survives for now after lawmakers nearly jeopardize food aid — 1/28/21

A roundup of top news and information about Wisconsin’s response to the coronavirus

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The GOP-led Wisconsin Assembly on Thursday held off on overturning Gov. Tony Evers’ COVID-19 emergency declaration, leaving intact — for now — the statewide mask mandate attached to the declaration. 

The pause came one day after the Senate Republicans voted to end the emergency order and mask mandate without realizing that doing so could make Wisconsin ineligible for nearly $50 million in monthly federal food aid. Citing a Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Wednesday night reported that Congress’ COVID-19 stimulus bill says the extra food aid can flow only to states with public health orders in place. 

Nearly 243,000 Wisconsin households could have lost emergency food benefits in January, according to the bureau. 

“Our job is to guarantee when we pass legislation we know what the ramifications are,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told reporters Thursday. “Unfortunately our Senate colleagues passed it, they didn’t necessarily didn’t do the same due diligence.”

Molly Beck and Patrick Marley have the full story for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

Top Stories

Angela Peterson / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A sign outside This Is It! at 418 E. Wells St. on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, requires all those entering to wear a mask. Patrons must also have their temperature taken upon entering. Since bars and restaurants have started to reopen during the pandemic, it has been necessary to change how they once operated to accommodate social distancing for patrons.

Assembly Republicans hold off for now on ending Wisconsin’s mask requirement Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Wisconsin doctors advise double masking during COVID-19 panel discussion WDJT-Milwaukee 

COVID-19 spread without symptoms a key lesson learned a year into pandemic Wisconsin State Journal 

How to avoid stimulus check scams Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service 

ASM approves $2 million for emergency student housing assistance; UW admin says no dice Madison365 

As pandemic lingers, large events might have to wait until fall WPR 

Unemployed pleading with lawmakers to fix broken system TMJ4 News 

Most nursing homes say they won’t be able to stay open another year due to pandemic costs The 19th

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“The only thing I felt was a sense of relief.”

— Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter John Fauber writing about getting his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

Data to note

WisContext offers these visualizations of Wisconsin COVID-19 infections, deaths and hospitalizations. 

DHS continues to log fewer daily infections, with cases now at their lowest levels since mid-September. The agency on Thursday reported a seven-day average of 29 new daily COVID-19 deaths. The state’s full COVID-19 death toll is 5,811.

Public health officials continue to urge Wisconsinites to wear masks and practice physical distancing until vaccinations are more widely distributed. 

Calculate your exposure risk

In Wisconsin, even small gatherings can carry a big risk of exposure to the coronavirus, according to a nationwide tool that estimates the danger by the size of gathering and county in which it is held. Data scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Stanford University developed the tool, which you can find here

Resilient Wisconsin

People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us: tips@wisconsinwatchmediapartners.wpcomstaging.com

Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Pharmacist and owner Kyle Beyer works behind the counter Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, at North Shore Pharmacy, 1421 E. Capitol Drive, Shorewood. The independently-owned pharmacy is a rarity in an era of large chains such as Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid.

How the new owners of an 89-year-old pharmacy reinvented and found a simple, local way to administer vaccines Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

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