Empower Wisconsin | May 15, 2020
MADISON —The Wisconsin Supreme Court may have tossed out the Evers administration’s statewide lockdown, but local governments around the state aren’t ready to give up the keys just yet.
Brown, Dane, Kenosha and Milwaukee counties are among those extending Evers’ stay-at-home orders.
Madison, Milwaukee, Appleton and Green Bay are among the cities that remained under lockdown Thursday.
Following the ruling, bars and restaurants across the state opened to celebratory crowds. Green Bay bars reopened before Brown County’s extended order went into effect. Brown County Tavern League President Don Mjelde told the Appleton Post Crescent that he planned to open his bar, as did others.
Brown County plans to lift its lockdown on Wednesday, six days ahead of when Evers’ extended order was originally set to expire.
“It would be irresponsible to do otherwise given the high number of positive cases found in Brown County,” public health officer Anna Destree told the newspaper.
Brown County has recorded some 2,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 21 deaths as of Thursday.
But what of the counties and communities that have relatively few cases of coronavirus. Green County has adopted the state restrictions that were struck down by the court. The southern Wisconsin county on Thursday reported one person hospitalized with the virus, 18 recovered, 21 active cases, with zero deaths.
Local governments do have the power to take actions that limit the spread of infectious diseases. But constitutional law expert Rick Esenberg, said he doesn’t think the local governments have the authority to enact lockdown orders similar to the state edict the Supreme Court struck down.
“If Executive Order 28 went too far for state officials, it would presumably go too far for local officials,” said Esenberg, president and general counsel for the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. “How far they can go, though, will be a matter of future litigation.”
Calumet County issued a stay-at-home order Thursday that remains in “effect until a superseding order is issued.” The county, as of Thursday, had recorded 46 positive COVID-19 cases, and 1 death.
“This is a crucial time for Calumet County to maintain the momentum in containing COVID-19 in our community and slow further spread of the disease,” the county’s order states.
And Calumet County law enforcement is notorious for strictly enforcing its stay-at-home order.
As Empower Wisconsin reported earlier this month, Calumet County sheriff’s deputies were caught on video harassing a mom for the grave transgression of permitting her daughter to play at a friend’s house during the COVID-19 outbreak.They said they had a database for those who fail to cooperate.