Confused about what’s open, what’s not open, how many people can be in one place, where people can be in one place, and who’s suing who? Prepare to get more confused.
According to multiple sources, Sawyer County judge John M. Yackel granted a temporary block on Wednesday against Gov. Tony Evers’ latest emergency health order. The order placed a 25% indoor occupancy cap on bars, restaurants, and other indoor public gatherings throughout the state. The order went into effect October 8 and was set to last until November 6. A lawsuit against the order was filed in Sawyer County on Tuesday, thanks to—you guessed it!—the Tavern League of Wisconsin.
“Restaurants, taverns, bars, and supper clubs did not cause this pandemic, but they are systematically facing bankruptcy, closure, and economic ruin,” Tavern League President Chris Marsicano said in a statement on Tuesday. “Those of us left cannot survive a reduction of 75% of our customers proposed by Secretary-designee [Andrea] Palm. We do not have the financial wherewithal to survive the blunt force of another business shutdown which have not proven effective and will result in catastrophic losses in the hospitality industry in Wisconsin.
“By filing this lawsuit today,” Marsicano continued, “we are seeking to protect our members and prevent the continued enforcement of the arbitrary capacity limits in Emergency Order #3 while the DHS begins the process of promulgating the emergency rule as required by state law.”
Also on Tuesday, Wisconsin set one-day records for COVID-19 cases, COVID-19 hospitalizations, and COVID-19 deaths.
The 25% occupancy order was on shaky ground almost as soon as it began. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said the city was exempt from the order due to the local “Moving Milwaukee Forward Safety” order being considered more restrictive than Evers’ order.
Anecdotally, I talked to a small town bar owner over the weekend who was not only ignoring the new order, but who hadn’t even heard of it. So there you go.