(CNN)A Circuit Court judge has denied a lawsuit against Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers to overturn the face mask mandate in the state, according to a court filing obtained by CNN.
Three people had sued to challenge the governor’s authority to issue the order declaring a public health emergency. They said in the filing that he “exceeded his statutory authority” by declaring an emergency three different times in relation to the Covid-19 health crisis. 31 states have growing rates of new Covid-19 cases, and 'we know what's coming next'In July, Evers issued an emergency order mandating that citizens wear a face covering indoors when not in a private residence, with some exceptions. The order was set to expire September 22 but because of a rise in cases, Evers declared a new public health emergency.The current face covering mandate expires in 60 days, on November 21, or with a subsequent superseding order, according to a news release from the governor’s office. By state law, the governor is allowed to issue a public health emergency for up to 60 days, unless extended by the state legislature. In his ruling, Judge R. Michael Waterman said the statute does not prohibit Evers from declaring successive states of emergency and that it allows for a declaration if the governor determines a public health emergency exists.Read MoreWisconsin is setting up a field hospital for Covid-19 patients as a surge in cases overwhelms hospitalsWaterman also said in his ruling that if the legislature “is unconvinced that a state of emergency does exist” then it has the power to terminate it. He wrote that the legislature has declined to end the state of emergency. “Today’s ruling is a victory in our fight against COVID-19 and our efforts to keep the people of Wisconsin safe and healthy during this unprecedented crisis,” Evers tweeted Monday. “As the number of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin reached 150,000 yesterday, we will continue doing everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus.”Waterman said a temporary injunction against the order would affect everyone in the state and goes beyond the private interest of the plaintiffs. The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty said in a statement published on its Twitter account that “we look forward to making an appeal on this critical constitutional matter.”This ruling comes days after the state announced it will be opening a field hospital at the state fair park in response to an alarming surge in Covid-19 hospitalizations that is overwhelming hospitals, according to Evers.