Just hours after a ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court ended the state’s “Safer at Homer” order, patrons flocked to some of the state’s bars.
In a 4-3 ruling Wednesday, the court ended Gov. Tony Evers’s order, which prompted the Tavern League of Wisconsin – a trade association for bars in the state – to tell businesses to follow safety guidelines, but that could otherwise "OPEN IMMEDIATELY."
On social media, patrons could be seen at bars shortly after the decision, many without personal protective equipment and not observing social distancing guidelines.
Nick’s in Platteville opened up almost immediately after the announcement, posting the picture below showing a busy bar with few if any face masks being worn.
In a statement Wednesday, Evers criticized the decision and stressed the importance of gradually reopening the state. On Monday, Evers announced changes to the Safer at Home order that would allow standalone and strip mall stores to open with social distancing.
“We cannot let today's ruling undo all the work we have done and all the sacrifices Wisconsinites have made over these past few months,” Evers said. “We need everyone to continue doing their part to keep our families, our neighbors, and our communities safe by continuing to stay safer at home, practice social distancing, and limit travel, because folks, deadly viruses don't wait around for politicians and bureaucrats to settle their differences or promulgate rules.”
While the court may have ruled to end the order, some local officials have announced they intend to keep it in place.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced Wednesday that bars and restaurants in the city will continue to operate for takeout and delivery only. Dan County also issued a similar order.
Last month, the Wisconsin Supreme Court also overturned Evers’s decision to postpone the state’s presidential primary due to safety concerns.
As of Wednesday, Wisconsin had 10,902 residents test positive for COVID-19, with 421 deaths.
It comes as Minnesota prepares plans for the re-opening of its bars and restaurants, with Gov. Tim Walz setting a tentative date of June 1. Before then, a plan on how this can be done with safety measures in place is expected to be released by Mar. 20.