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Tavern League sues Gov. Evers over order restricting capacity to 25%

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Tavern League of Wisconsin is suing Governor Tony Evers' administration over his latest emergency order that limits capacity at bars and restaurants.

The governor issued the order last week which limits public indoor gatherings to 25% of the room or building’s capacity.

President of the Tavern League Chris Marsicano said the order unfairly targets their industry.

"Restaurants, taverns, bars, and supper clubs did not cause this pandemic, but they are systematically facing bankruptcy, closure, and economic ruin," said Marsicano.

The lawsuit filed in Sawyer County attempts to block the enforcement of Evers latest emergency order arguing it did not go through the rulemaking process, therefore calling it "illegal"

"The lawsuit asserts that Emergency Order #3 is invalid and unenforceable because it was not promulgated as an administrative rule as required by the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling just five months ago in Wisconsin Legislature v Palm," said Marsicano.

Governor Tony Evers's administration released a statement shortly after the lawsuit was filed. Britt Cudaback, Deputy Communications Director responded to a 27 News request by email.

Wisconsin had another record-breaking day for COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations, and new cases. Our order is consistent with the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year, and we continue to ask everyone to do their part to prevent the spread of this virus by staying home, limiting travel and gatherings, and wearing face coverings whenever in public.

For background, the same day the governor announced Emergency Order #3, he also announced more than $100 million in support for Wisconsin’s small businesses, and this round of “We’re All In” grants prioritizes businesses most affected by the pandemic, including restaurants and taverns.

Britt Cudaback
Deputy Communications Director

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Governor Evers office did not immediately respond a request for comment.

Earlier this week a legislative committee ordered the Evers' administration to go through the formal rule-making process to implement his latest order limiting the size of indoor gatherings, the same process the Tavern League is disputing in their lawsuit. 

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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