Judge halts Wisconsin governor’s crowd limit order

Sawyer County Judge John Yackel on Wednesday issued a temporary restraining order against the governor’s directive.

Gov. Tony Evers/Twitter

(The Center Square) – A judge in northwestern Wisconsin has pressed pause on Gov. Tony Evers’ order to limit crowds in bars, restaurants, shops and supper clubs across the state.

Sawyer County Judge John Yackel on Wednesday issued a temporary restraining order against the governor’s directive via the state’s Department of Health Services to limit indoor crowds to 25% of capacity. The state’s Tavern League filed the lawsuit on behalf of two bars in Sawyer County.

The judge is giving the Evers Administration a week to prepare arguments in the case.

“Defendants shall appear before this Court on Monday, October 19, 2020, at 9:00 o’clock a.m., to show cause why a temporary injunction should not be entered according to the conditions set forth above and which shall remain in place during the pendency of this action,” Yackel wrote.

Evers on Tuesday said the order is in line with a Supreme Court decision from May that ended his Safer at Home Order. The governor’s office said the same thing again on Wednesday.

“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,” spokeswoman Britt Cudabac said in a statement.

The court fight is not the only one over the governor’s crowd limit order.

Republican lawmakers on Monday declared that the order must be sent through the Legislature’s rule-making process. They ordered the governor to submit his order for review, but the governor has yet to do that.

The legislative rule-making process could take 30 days. The governor’s order is set to expire on Nov. 6.