Judge Blocks US State’s Domestic Capacity Limits Amid Soaring COVID | News from the United States and Canada


A judge in the U.S. state of Wisconsin has temporarily blocked an order from the state governor limiting the number of people who can congregate in bars, restaurants and other indoor venues, a move that comes as the state breaks records new cases of coronavirus, deaths and hospitalizations.Sawyer County Circuit Judge John Yackel blocked the order from Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday, a day after the Tavern League of Wisconsin filed a lawsuit.

Yackel has set a hearing for Monday, which he says will give lawyers for the defendant, Wisconsin Department of Health Secretary Andrea Palm, a chance to explain why the order should not be stayed during the conduct of the trial.

The order of the Democratic governor, issued by Palm, appointed by Evers, last week, limited the number of customers at many establishments covered to 25% of their capacity. Gatherings in indoor spaces with no occupancy limit were limited to 10 people. The ordinance does not apply to colleges, schools, churches, polling stations, political gatherings and outdoor venues.

The limits were to run until November 6, with violators facing fines of up to $ 500.

Evers said the move is aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, which is increasing in Wisconsin. The state opened a field hospital near Milwaukee on Wednesday to handle too many inpatients, who treated a record number of COVID-19 patients on Tuesday.

The Tavern League, the powerful lobby group of the state’s 5,000 bars, restaurants and taverns, argued in its lawsuit that the order amounted to a “de facto closure”. He said Palm did not have the legal authority to issue the order, which instead would have had to go through the rule-making process of the Republican-led legislature.

A GOP-controlled legislative committee met on Monday to begin the process of creating the rule, which would then allow the legislature to overturn it.

Evers defended the order on Tuesday, saying there was no need to enact legislation, as the Tavern League and Republicans have argued.

Evers spokeswoman Britt Cudaback said the decision would be challenged.

“It’s a dangerous decision that leaves our state with no statewide effort to contain this virus,” she said.

An Evers spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a message Wednesday seeking comment on the decision.

But Democratic lawmakers have said the attempt to overturn the order of capacity limits will hurt the state’s pandemic response.

“Make no mistake, if this dangerous decision is upheld, Wisconsin will choose full bars over full classrooms,” State Senator LaTonya Johnson of Milwaukee tweeted. “What a pathetic set of priorities to teach our children.”

Earlier this year, the Conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court ended Evers’ “safer home” order. Republican lawmakers are currently suing to end the governor’s statewide mask, arguing – as the Tavern League did in the trial – that the order was beyond the authority of Evers . A judge on Monday upheld the mask’s term, saying the legislature had the power to overturn it if it wished.

Evers argued that Republicans are making it harder for the state to cope with the pandemic.

The Tavern League, the Sawyer County Tavern League and the Flambeau Forest Inn in the village of Winter have filed a lawsuit. He argues that the Flambeau Forest Inn would be forced to limit its capacity to 10 people under the state order, which would include five customers and five employees needed to operate the restaurant.

“Flambeau could not operate profitably under these conditions and would be forced to cease its commercial activities,” said the lawsuit.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 3,279 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, breaking a record of 3,132 set just five days earlier. There have been 34 reported deaths, also a new record, bringing the total number of people who have died to 1,508. To date, more than 155,000 people in Wisconsin have tested positive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here