Empower Wisconsin | Oct. 15, 2020
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — A Sawyer County judge on Wednesday issued a restraining order against Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, stopping the Evers administration’s latest order that caps public gatherings at 25 percent capacity.
Gov. Tony Evers and crew vowed to appeal.
“The Temporary Restraining Order shall remain in effect unless and until terminated by subsequent Order of this Court,” Judge John Yackel wrote in his brief ruling.
The judge’s order comes after the Tavern League of Wisconsin filed a lawsuit Tuesday charging the Evers administration’s emergency edict was not enforceable because it was not submitted to the legislative rule-making process.
Yackel has called a hearing for Monday to determine whether the temporary injunction will remain in effect while he hears the lawsuit.
“The effect of the judge’s order means the Governor’s Executive Order has been temporarily put on hold and is currently not in effect until the court can decide on the case,” the Tavern League wrote on its Facebook page. It advised members the ruling does not impact any local orders in effect.
“Please continue to follow all WEDC and CDC guidelines at your business,” the League post states.
Gov. Tony Evers and his attorney insist the order in the face of rising COVID-19 cases is legal and enforceable.
“This is a dangerous decision that leaves our state without a statewide effort to contain this virus,” Evers spokeswoman Britt Cudaback told WisPolitics. “We will be challenging the decision, and in the meantime, we need Wisconsinites to stay home and help us prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
The Tavern League and other opponents of Palm’s Emergency Order #3 say it will drive many out of business while it does little to stop a highly active virus.
“COVID has a 99.5% survival rate, starving because you can’t work and buy food has a 0% survival rate,” wrote Joshua Madson on the League’s Facebook site
“Restaurants, taverns, bars, and supper clubs did not cause this pandemic, but they are systematically facing bankruptcy, closure, and economic ruin,” TLW President Chris Marsicano wrote on the League’s Facebook page. “Those of us left cannot survive a reduction of 75% of our customers proposed by Secretary-designee Palm. We do not have the financial wherewithal to survive the blunt force of another business shutdown which have not proven effective and will result in catastrophic losses in the hospitality industry in Wisconsin.”
The Sawyer County judge’s order follows a St. Croix County judge’s ruling on Monday denying a temporary injunction against Evers’ statewide mask mandate. Also Monday, the Legislature’s Rules committee passed a motion along party lines directing Palm to turn the public gathering order into a rule, as required under state law and a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling in May.