(The Center Square) – Bars, restaurants and stores in Wisconsin once again have to count the number of people who walk through the front door.
A judge in Barron County on Monday reinstated Gov. Tony Evers’ emergency order that places a 25% limit on customers.
The ruling in Barron County comes just days after a judge in Sawyer County ruled for the Tavern League and its members. The crowd cap limit was frozen over the weekend. Sawyer County Judge James Barber had asked the head of Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services to come to his courtroom Monday and defend the ruling.
The judge said the Tavern League and its members’ bars did not prove the order actually hurt their business.
“There’s no showing of irreparable harm,” Barber wrote. “I merely have the theoretical issue that if they were to comply, they would suffer harm.”
Barber also asked for the Wisconsin Supreme Court to settle the issue.
“I beg the Supreme Court for clarity because should this issue be decided by them, trial judges need to know how they need to rule,” Barber said.
Evers applauded the judge, and once again said his order will help protect people from the coronavirus.
“This critically important ruling will help us prevent the spread of this virus by restoring limits on public gatherings,” the governor said in a statement. “This crisis is urgent. Wisconsinites, stay home. Limit travel and going to gatherings, and please wear a face covering whenever you have to go out.”
The lobbyist for the Tavern League told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that a limit on customers will hurt businesses across the state. But the Tavern League is going to tell its members to go along with the order.
“We’re disappointed but we’re going to suck it up, tell our members this is what it means, and hope the hell we can get through it,” lobbyist Scott Stenger said. “I don’t think that’s a viable solution. Instead, we’ll continue to work. Maybe somebody now will listen to the fact that this isn’t a joke anymore. We’re going out of business. We need help. We shouldn’t be the enemy in this.”
Stenger said the Tavern League does not intend to appeal the latest ruling.
Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.