Wisconsin appeals court temporarily blocks Evers’ indoor gathering limits — just in time for Badgers’ season opener


MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) — A Wisconsin appeals court on Friday temporarily blocked Gov. Tony Evers’ restrictions on indoor public gatherings pending appeal, dealing the Democratic governor a setback in his efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Coincidentally for University of Wisconsin Badger football fans who like to watch games on bars’ big screens, the order came just a few hours before the Badgers’ season opener at Camp Randall Stadium.

Evers’ administration issued an emergency order on Oct. 6 limiting the size of indoor public gatherings to 25% of a building or room’s capacity or 10 people in places without an occupancy limit until Nov. 15.

The order came as COVID-19 cases surged in the Badger State. This week, the state was fourth in the nation in most new cases per capita over the last two weeks with nearly 757 cases per 100,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The state’s hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, health officials said.

But the powerful Tavern League of Wisconsin argued that the capacity limits amount to a “de facto closure” order for bars and restaurants and filed a lawsuit seeking to strike down the order. A Sawyer County judge on Oct. 14 blocked the order, but a Barron County judge reinstated it five days later.