Appeals court puts hold on Wisconsin governor’s public-gathering restrictions
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A Wisconsin appeals court has put a hold on Gov. Tony Evers' restrictions on indoor public gatherings pending appeal.
The ruling Friday from the 3rd District Court of Appeals is a setback the Democratic governor’s effort to control the coronavirus spread.
Evers' administration issued an order on Oct. 6 limiting indoor public gatherings across the state to 25% of a building’s capacity or 10 people in places without an occupancy limit.
The powerful Tavern League of Wisconsin immediately challenged the order in court, arguing the capacity limits amount to a “de facto closure” order for bars and restaurants.
A Sawyer County judge on Oct. 14 blocked the health order, but a Barron County judge reinstated it five days later.
The decision is another setback for Gov. Evers as he tries to find ways to slow the spread of the virus. Conservative justices on the state Supreme Court struck down his stay-at-home order in May in a ruling that Evers has said has largely tied his hands as the virus surges. Republican lawmakers are also suing to end the governor’s statewide mask mandate, arguing that Evers exceeded his authority.
This week, Wisconsin was fourth in the nation in most new cases per capita over the last two weeks with nearly 757 cases per 100,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The state set records this week for new cases, deaths and hospitalizations. Health officials said the state’s hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
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