As Wisconsin is experiencing an alarming surge in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths, a judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked Gov. Tony Evers’ (D) order limiting the number of people allowed in indoor spaces.
The Associated Press (AP) reports Sawyer County Circuit Judge John Yackel blocked the order after the Tavern League of Wisconsin, a trade association of alcoholic beverage retailers in the state, sued the Evers administration over its order limiting the number of customers bars and restaurants may serve at one time.
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The governor’s emergency order, which went into effect Thursday, capped customers to 25 percent capacity in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The limits were set to run through Nov. 6, and violators could face fines of up to $500. The order does not include limits to colleges, schools, churches, child care centers and health care and long-term care facilities.
The Wisconsin judge temporarily blocked the order and set a court date for Monday to give attorneys for the Wisconsin Department of Health a chance to argue why the order should not be paused while the lawsuit moves forward, according to AP.
The Tavern League of Wisconsin argued that the order was a “de facto closure” for businesses, while Evers said the move was necessary to change the course of the virus that has ravaged the state over the past few weeks.
The state saw record numbers for both coronavirus cases and deaths on Tuesday, reporting 3,279 new confirmed cases and 34 newly reported deaths. Wisconsin has recorded 155,471 total cases and 1,536 deaths since the pandemic began.
Wisconsin health officials are opening a field hospital this week at the state fairgrounds near Milwaukee to help treat the surge of COVID-19 patients in the state hospital system.
The state has become one of the nation’s new COVID-19 hot spots in recent weeks and has the fourth highest number of new infections in the country, according to The Washington Post.
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