Dane County Requires Face Masks Starting July 13

July 8, 2020 | COVID | Current Events


In response to an increase in COVID cases, Dane County, through Public Health Madison & Dane County, has issued an Emergency Order #8, to take effect beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, July 13 and remain in effect until further notice.  The order keeps all restrictions and other primary aspects of the previous order in place, including keeping the county in Phase 2 of Forward Dane.

The biggest change in this order is that it requires the wearing of a face mask (face covering) while indoors, with specific requirements as follows:

Who Does the Mask Order Apply to?

  • Everyone aged 5 and older
  • Exceptions:
    • Individuals for whom wearing a face covering at work would create a risk related to the person’s work, as determined by government safety guidelines; and
    • Individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering.

How and when must the mask be worn?

  • Face covering must cover nose and mouth
  • Face covering must be worn when:
    • In any enclosed building where other people other than members of the individual’s own household could be present (note it does not require that others are present, just that they could be);
    • In line to enter any indoor space; and
    • Driving or riding on public transportation or in a paratransit vehicle, taxi, private car service vehicle, ride-sharing vehicle, or any other for hire vehicle.

When may the face covering be removed?

  1. While eating or drinking;
  2. While communicating with an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing and communication cannot be achieved by other means;
  3. While obtaining a service that requires a temporary removal of face coverings;
  4. When necessary to confirm identity; and
  5. When federal or state law prohibits wearing a face covering.


Requirements for businesses from previous orders continue to apply and been laid out in previous KEW Tips articles, including the following:

Additionally, all businesses must now comply with the following:

  • Ensure employees are provided with and wear face coverings at all times when indoors. This requirement applies even if there is a partition or barrier in place.
  • Follow all Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines with regards to face coverings. In this regard, businesses should note that an employee or customer with a health condition preventing them from wearing a mask may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Industry-Specific Requirement  

  • Interestingly, the order specifies that continuing education institutions, higher education institutions, libraries, community centers, and religious entities and groups must comply with the face covering requirement. These are the only industries specifically called out as needing to comply with the requirement.
  • We don’t really know why these industries are specifically called out as needing to comply with the facemask requirement. Note that we do not read it to mean that the non-listed industries do not need to comply with the face mask requirement. In any event, the specific call out was interesting enough to be included in our summary of the order.

Outside Activities

  • Individuals are encouraged to wear a face covering while outside.

Mass Gatherings

  • Individuals that are members of the same household or living unit do not count towards the mass gathering numbers in their own household or living unit.
  • The order removes the “mass gatherings” requirement from religious institutions/gatherings.

Removed Language – Salons and Spas

  • Some language in the previous executive order, Emergency Order No. 7 (Order #7) has been removed that pertained to Salons and Spas including the following:
    • Language requiring employees to wear face coverings at all times when customers are present; and
    • Language requiring customers to wear face coverings to the greatest extent possible.
  • What does this mean? Perhaps the drafters of the order removed that language because of the inclusion of the mandatory mask wearing provision for all individuals.

As always, if you have questions about the rights and obligations of your business under the Dane County’s latest order or Forward Dane, generally, feel free to contact Kramer, Elkins & Watt, LLC at 608-709-7115.