Wisconsin judge blocks Governor Evers' order limiting capacity

NOW: Wisconsin judge blocks Governor Evers’ order limiting capacity

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – A Sawyer County judge ruled to immediately put a halt to an Evers administration order to limit indoor public gatherings handing a defeat, for now, to one of the governor’s efforts to try to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The decision to block the order follows a lawsuit by the Tavern League of Wisconsin which argued the governor’s order was too restrictive and would shutter businesses.

Governor Tony Evers said the decision is a major setback in the state’s fight against the virus.

Frankly, this again puts us further and further behind,” Gov. Evers told CBS 58 in an interview. “These mitigation efforts are really important. If they keep getting set aside, it just leads to more preventable deaths.”

The stoppage of the gathering limitations comes during the worst stretch of the pandemic for Wisconsin and on the same day as the Alternate Care Facility begins accepting patients at State Fair Park.

Republicans applauded the ruling.

“That’s a good decision,” Sen. Steve Nass (R – Whitewater) told CBS 58. “I think it underscores what has happened in illegal and we’re going to deal with it.”

The GOP is also attempting to strike down the order through a legislative process, arguing the Evers administration overstepped its authority.

On Monday, Oct. 12, the committee that has the power to block the order voted to require the Department of Health Services to submit the order as a rule within 30 days. It’s not clear if DHS will comply.

Republicans have not offered any alternatives to help slow the spread of the virus.

Governor Evers said he hears the concerns of businesses but adds he has to weigh those against the health risks with the virus.

“At the end of the day, when we have the opportunity to prevent deaths, we have to take advantage of that opportunity,” Evers said. “And one of the things we’re doing is obviously limiting, not closing but limiting public gatherings.”

Local restrictions and orders are not affected by the decision by the Sawyer County judge.

“I believe we can successfully challenge it,” Evers said, expressing confidence the courts will eventually side with his administration.

A hearing is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 19 when the Evers administration will have an opportunity to state its case as to why the order should be put back into place.

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