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Restaurants, bars ease capacity restrictions after judge’s ruling

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SAUK CITY (WKOW) -- A majority of restaurants and bars are celebrating the news that they won't have to enforce restrictions on the number of customers they can serve. 

This comes after a judge temporarily blocked Gov. Tony Evers’ emergency order which limits all public indoor gatherings to 25% of the room or building’s capacity.

Susan Ballweg, manager of the Pressbox in Sauk City, said she’s praising the decision after having to adjust their operations over the last week to limit how many customers come through their doors. 

“It was frustrating, but now I hope this increases our indoor dining,” said Ballweg.

The Pressbox and other establishments, for now, no longer have to follow the governor’s order, a promising sign for restaurants who are in dire need of a revenue boost due to the financial impacts caused by the pandemic.

The governor and health professionals had hoped this order would start reducing crowds at bars and restaurants as many customers don't wear masks when they are eating and drinking.

The Tavern League of Wisconsin, who sued the Evers' administration over his order, said they felt unfairly targeted because they believe they are not solely responsible for the spread of COVID-19.

"It was B-S because we’re sick of this and people are going to do what they want to do, we can’t control the public,” said Ballweg.

Ballweg hopes there won't be any more restrictions placed on their industry for the sake of saving their business but is worried it might not last.

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.

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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