Moving Forward After
Emergency Order #1
By Van Mobley
Thiensville Village President
Governor Tony Evers has issued "Emergency Order #1." It goes into effect at 12:01 AM on August 1, 2020, and expires on September 28, 2020, unless superseded by a subsequent order or overturned or put on hold by the courts. In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Governor has ordered all persons within Wisconsin over the age of 5 to wear a "face covering" when in an "enclosed space" -- with numerous exceptions and exemptions.
Residents of Thiensville should not imagine the issuance of this Order will mean that every adult they encounter in the Village of Thiensville will be or should be wearing a "face covering" or mask. In fact, while some studies suggest wearing a mask may slow (but not stop) the spread of COVID-19, everyone, including Governor Evers, acknowledges that wearing a mask prevents the accomplishment of essential tasks. Thus, the Governor's Order includes numerous exceptions for eating and drinking, singing, talking, giving a political oration, etc. Other exceptions foresee an individual going maskless "when necessary to confirm the individual's identity" -- which could be a frequent occurrence. Scrutinize the Governor's Order for all the exceptions it includes and consider them carefully.
The Governor's Order also acknowledges that wearing a mask can be dangerous to a person's health. Masks are not always, and perhaps even ever, harmless. They should not, according to the Order, be worn by exempted individuals and it may in fact be incumbent on one to remove a mask from oneself or others if they become exempted during the course of a day. For example, persons who are having trouble breathing or have a medical condition (of which there are an infinite variety) are exempted from the Order. As was the case with the Governor's exceptions, the Governor's exemptions should be scrutinized carefully.
As was the case prior to the Governor's Order, after the Governor's Order it is likely that when residents of Thiensville encounter one another, all or many of them will not be wearing a mask. This should not alarm you. It is inappropriate to lash out at residents or visitors whether or not they are wearing a mask, demand an individual put a mask on or take it off (unless required to do so for some necessary reason like confirming the individual's identity), or question an individual's patriotism, whether or not they are wearing a mask. The Governor's Order asks all of us to "join in the collective effort to stop the devastating impact of COVID-19 by wearing a face covering, not harassing or threatening Wisconsinites who wear a face covering, and showing patience and compassion for those who are unable to wear a face covering."
Life is short, so you should make the most of it. I say this more as a cancer survivor with a compromised immune system who is also a college professor than as a Village President. I get sick every fall and winter when a new semester starts and I am exposed to a bunch of new students. One of these days, whatever they give me might take me out. Life has always been fragile for every single one of us, but for some of us the nature of that inherent fragility has heretofore been shrouded by an illusory sense of invulnerability. No matter what Governor Evers does, or you and your neighbors do, your chances of getting the virus are high, and if you live long enough and we don't get a vaccine, probably a certainty. If you get it, you might not even know it. If you get the virus and need care, we have some great hospitals in Ozaukee County. So we are all very fortunate and face good odds. Don't dwell in fear and anxiety over things that are beyond your individual and our collective control. Be thankful for the many blessings we have. Remember that Providence smiles on the bold and prudent. Enjoy your summer and I look forward to seeing you around the Village!