Judge blocks Wisconsin coronavirus order limiting indoor capacity
A Wisconsin judge has temporarily blocked an order from Gov. Tony Evers (D) that would limit the capacity of indoor spaces like bars and restaurants at 25 percent as the state sees one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19 in the U.S.
Tavern League of Wisconsin, a trade association for alcohol retailers, and other groups filed a suit over the order, arguing the governor and his administration do not have the authority under state law to limit the capacity of businesses.
Circuit Court Judge John M. Yackel issued a temporary restraining order blocking Evers’s administration from enforcing the measure while the merit of the case is heard in court.
Yackel ordered the state to appear in court Monday to defend the order.
The Tavern League of Wisconsin and other groups argue the order hurts small businesses.
“Restaurants, taverns, bars, and supper clubs did not cause this pandemic, but they are systematically facing bankruptcy, closure, and economic ruin,” the league’s president Chris Marsicano said in a statement Tuesday.
In issuing the order, Evers cited the “deadly, uncontrolled and exponentially growing spike in cases of COVID-19” in the state.
“The state is the nation’s COVID-19 hotspot, and intervening measures are necessary to slow the rampage of illness and death caused by the virus,” Evers said.
Wisconsin reported 20,251 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past seven days, putting the state’s seven-day total behind that of only two other states with much larger populations — Texas and California.
Hospital capacity is also strained in Wisconsin, and a field hospital was recently built on the state park fairgrounds.
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