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UPDATE: Gov. Evers plans to challenge Judge’s ruling blocking his order limiting public gatherings

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Gov. Tony Evers wears a mask during a media briefing.

UPDATE 5:20 p.m. (WKOW) -- Gov. Tony Evers says he plans to challenge a Judge's decision to block his emergency order that restricted the number of people inside public places.

In a video message, Evers said the ruling was "dangerous" and that he intends to challenge the decision that temporarily blocks Emergency Order #3, limiting all public indoor gatherings to 25% of the room or building’s capacity.

"We are at a critical point in the battle against this virus and just because some folks out there want to see full bars and full hospitals doesn’t mean we have to listen," said Evers. "If we want to get back to enjoying our favorite bars and restaurants and events, then we need to stay home."

This ruling is alarming health professionals because it comes as Wisconsin continues to break records for the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

"We are in a crisis and mass gatherings are not helpful in stopping the spread of the virus," said Julie Willems Van Dijk, Deputy Secretary for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

"Order or no order, I strongly encourage people in the state to avoid mass gatherings and wear your mask."


MADISON (WKOW) — A judge has blocked Gov. Tony Evers' latest emergency order limiting the size of indoor gatherings after a lawsuit was filed Tuesday by the Tavern League of Wisconsin.

The governor and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services issued the order last week which limits all public indoor gatherings to 25% of the room or building’s capacity.

Judge John Yackel ordered a temporary restraining order to block the order limiting capacity at bars and restaurants and the decision comes a day after Wisconsin reported a record-breaking day for COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations, and new cases.

The judge's decision requires the DHS Secretary Andrea Palm to defend the order in court and explain why it should be enforced. According to the order, she is asked to appear in court on Monday.

The lawsuit, filed in Sawyer County, says the order amounts to a “defacto closure.”

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 argues the Evers' administration did not go through the rule-making 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.

The 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.

"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," said Cudaback.

The judge also ordered the Evers' administration to appear before the court on Monday, October 19, 2020, at 9 a.m., to show cause why a temporary injunction should not be entered.

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Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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