Well folks, Gov. Tony Evers isn’t messing around when it comes to the ever-worsening COVID-19 crisis here in Wisconsin. Just today, he followed up a Tuesday press briefing with another press briefing, highlighting the “alarming trends of COVID-19 we’re seeing across our state.”
“First and foremost, I’m asking you to stay at home,” Evers said. “Cancel the playdates and the dinner parties. Tell your friends and family members you’d rather hang out virtually because you care about them and you want to keep them safe. Grab a six-pack to drink at home, grab your food to go, and head out only when it’s absolutely necessary. You are safer at home.”
Here are Evers’ full remarks. (And seriously: please be safe, please stay at home when possible, and please wear a damn mask.)
Good afternoon folks, and thanks for joining us here today. We are back again today for the second briefing this week because I am concerned about the alarming trends of COVID-19 we’re seeing across our state. Just yesterday, we hit a grim milestone with 27 new deaths reported. Kathy and I are thinking about the family members and friends of all those who have lost someone to this virus. This is a grave, dark reminder for all of us in our state that COVID-19 isn’t over. Our fight against this virus continues and we know that now it’s going to be harder than ever.
As you all know, this spring we issued a safer at home order, and we had our state back on the right track. Unfortunately, Republicans in the legislature sued us over that order, and it was struck down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. That means the difference this fall is that we’re missing an important tool from our toolbox that we had earlier this year, to try and stop this virus and keep people safe. And it’s why, just as I’ve done over the last several months, today, Wisconsinites, I need to ask for your help.
I know it’s frustrating. I know it’s exhausting. I know it’s hard. You’ve made sacrifices for months from your job to your schooling to other basic day-to-day activities. You’re missing seeing friends and family. You’re missing heading to the neighborhood bar to watch the Packer games. You’re missing birthday parties and movie theaters and everything that comes with life as it used to be. I know, Kathy and I miss it, too. But at the end of the day, whether we’re tired or not, the longer it takes for everyone to take COVID-19 seriously, the longer this virus will linger. Right now, we can’t live like we’re back to the way things used to be. We can’t afford to act like things are business as usual. We have to get back to the basics in fighting this virus.
First and foremost, I’m asking you to stay at home. Cancel the playdates and the dinner parties. Tell your friends and family members you’d rather hang out virtually because you care about them and you want to keep them safe. Grab a six-pack to drink at home, grab your food to go, and head out only when it’s absolutely necessary. You are safer at home.
Second, if you have to leave your house, I’m asking you to wear a mask whenever you are out and about. If you’re going to the grocery store or grabbing gas or picking up a takeout, wear a mask. And remember that masks aren’t a substitute for social or physical distancing. Just because you’re wearing a mask doesn’t mean you don’t have to stay six feet apart. We need you to do both.
The surges we’re seeing across the state are not an indication that masks don’t work. This underscores what we’ve said all along, which is that masks only work if everyone wears them. My mask protects me, it protects you, and our masks work best when we’re wearing them together. Wearing a mask isn’t a political statement, it’s a sign to strangers you see that you care about them, their families, and your community.
That’s why today I’m also going to call on our businesses, our retailers, and our industries, the folks who have been important partners in this fight all along, I’m asking for your help, too. Public health is a team sport, and we know everybody wants to do the right thing and lead by example. Please do your part to keep our customers, our workers, and their families safe by following our mask order, ensuring everyone can socially distance, and help us get back to the basics of fighting this virus.
Earlier this year, we all worked together to flatten the curve. We stayed home. We only went out when it was necessary and we took care of our neighbors and each other. We face that challenge again today to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and work to flatten the curve so that we can ensure our doctors and our nurses and health care workers can continue to do their important work.
I know these are difficult times. It’s been a difficult year, and we have difficult days ahead. But I have no doubt in the grit and determination of the people of this state, and the resilience we share when we work together.
Thank you all for the work you’re already doing, and the work we all have to do together in the days and weeks ahead, to keep each other healthy and safe.