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COVID-19 restrictions in City of Racine halted

NOW: COVID-19 restrictions in City of Racine halted

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RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Racine coronavirus restrictions have been put on hold after a decision made Friday, June 19, by a Racine County judge.

After the Safer at Home order was struck down by the state supreme court last month, Racine's health department put restrictions in place called "Forward Racine," but those restrictions are nullified for now.

Judge Jon Fredickson made his ruling after questioning whether Racine Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox had the legal power to issue the Forward Racine order in the first place.

Forward Racine placed restrictions on businesses including gyms, restaurants and venues, among others.

Racine Mayor Cory Mason says Racine has the highest per capita coronavirus cases in Wisconsin, but noted the reduction of infection rates with the Forward Racine order in place. 

He calls Judge Fredickson's decision "reckless."

Racine Common Council President John Tate II says the city plans to appeal the ruling. 

"To remove, you know, any level of precautions that the city has put in place demonstrates a lack of care for those people who are currently dealing with this virus," he said.

"The City of Racine never should have had to put specific restrictions and protections for its community," said Racine County District 1 Supervisor Nick Demskey. "That is a statewide responsibility, and the state of Wisconsin failed on that."

Even with restrictions lifted, some bars and restaurant owners say they've decided to keep their safety measures in place. 

Racine Brewing Company says they'll continue to space out tables and limit the amount of customers allowed in until they feel it's safe to fully reopen.

"We want to protect ourselves and our small business right now versus having a bunch of people crowd in here and be standing on top of each other," said B.J. Stein, head of front house staff at Racine Brewing Co.

Racine's public health administrator says even with no official order in place, she hopes people will still follow CDC recommendations.

Read the full statement from Racine officials below: 

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