La Crosse Police recommend people follow mask order
La Crosse Police could refer mask violators to La Crosse DA; some neighboring law enforcement agencies not enforcing Evers' mask order
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – At 12:01 a.m Saturday morning, people indoors or any enclosed space with people will have to wear a mask. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued a new statewide mask mandate. Many health experts say masks are the easiest way to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We could do a really good job of controlling it if we paid attention to five fundamental principles, one of which is what we’re doing here – with masks, crowds, distance, bars, wash your hands,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Capitol Hill Friday.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers made Wisconsin the 33rd state to establish a mandatory mask order.
Failure to listen to this requirement could land people a $200 fine. However, some people do not agree with this order, and enforcement of the order is in question.
The La Crosse Sheriff’s Office, Prairie Du Chein Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, and the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office released statements telling the public they aren’t going to enforce this. Officials even told the public not to call them about incidents involving masks.
La Crosse County Sheriff Jeff Wolf said in a statement, “We will continue to focus on criminal investigations and traffic enforcement to ensure the safety of our communities. We will not be devoting time and resources to civil complaints regarding the public health order concerning masks.”
La Crosse Police officials had a different tone about the matter.
Sgt. Tom Walsh said if customers don’t honor a business owner’s request they will respond.
“I would encourage our business community to really try and make sure they have their businesses posted at the entries and exits,” Walsh said. “If they’re in a business and they’re not complying and then they’re not leaving, the other alternative, in that case, would be a trespass violation.”
He said people who don’t wear a mask could be referred to the La Crosse County District Attorney. Those who create a disturbance could also face disorderly conduct charges.
“We’re asking the community to voluntarily comply with the governor’s order,” Walsh said.
Walsh said this is not about handing out fines. He said the point is educating people to put others ahead of themselves.
“We’re very hopeful that we don’t have to take any enforcement action,” Walsh said. “It’s just going to come down to people doing the right thing.”