(Natural News) Hours after the Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected the extension of the state’s stay-at-home order, people flocked to bars across the state. In Port Washington, business owners like Junior Useling of the Patio Bar & Grill served a handful of patrons nursing beers and watching basketball reruns.
Meanwhile, Nick’s Bar in Platteville posted a photo on Twitter showing how the establishment was packed with people, none of whom were wearing masks or observing social distancing.
45 minutes after the bars open in Wisconsin…. pic.twitter.com/xqaDlS6ajP
— Nick's bar (@nicksonsec) May 14, 2020
Amy Ollman, who owns Remington’s River Inn in Thiensville, was already thinking of reopening the place before the ruling.
“Top to bottom, left to right, we cleaned this entire place,” she told Reuters. “It’s time to get back to normalcy.”
The Tavern League of Wisconsin, which has around 5,000 members in the state, announced that Supreme Court’s decision on Facebook while also urging bars to follow state guidelines to wear face masks and gloves and enforce social distancing when possible. But pictures that appeared on social media showed bars full of maskless revelers who were nowhere close to six feet apart.
Supreme Court throws out extension
In a 4-3 ruling, the state’s highest court rejected Democrat Gov. Tony Evers’ extension of the state’s stay-at-home order, which had been in effect since mid-March to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus. It was supposed to be lifted on April 24, but State Health Secretary Andrea Palm extended the lockdown until May 26 and included criminal penalties.
The move rankled Republican legislators in the state, who filed a suit in April to temporarily block the lockdown. In its decision, the Supreme Court held that Palm overstepped her authority by extending the lockdown without seeking legislative review.
“This comprehensive claim to control virtually every aspect of a person’s life is something we normally associate with a prison, not a free society governed by the rule of law,” wrote Justice Daniel Kelly, in a concurring opinion.
Evers hit back at the decision, saying the decision “turns the state to chaos.”
“They have provided no plan,” he told reporters in his press conference on Wednesday. “There’s no question among anybody that people are going to get sick.”
Despite overturning the order, the court’s decision let stand language that closed schools and allowed local governments to impose their own health restrictions. Milwaukee County, which has the most number of coronavirus cases in the state, issued an order to maintain restrictions. Dane County, where state capital Madison is located, also imposed a mandate that included most of the statewide order.
Preparing for what’s to come
Following the Supreme Court’s decision, State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, the legislators who led the suit against the stay-at-home extension, advised residents to maintain social distancing and take other safety measures.
“This order does not promote people to act in a way that they believe endangers their health,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. (Related: Texas has had 1,000 new coronavirus cases every day since last week – but Gov. Abbott insists the state is ready to reopen.)
On Friday, State Senator Stephen Nass demanded that Evers withdraw his outline for a new emergency rule, accusing the governor of trying to seize control of people’s daily lives again.
“Most rational public servants would get the message that the rule of law and the constitutional limitations on government are not optional or mere suggestions,” Nass added.
Nass, who heads the joint rules committee, said that the rule was looking to include Evers’ business re-opening criteria and “balance them against the goals in the Safer-at-Home Extension,” which was already thrown out by the court.
In a news briefing, Evers expressed concern about what’s to come.
“Wisconsin was in a pretty good place in our battle against COVID-19,” he said. “The Supreme Court may have changed the rules for how we operate, but it sure the heck did not change how viruses operate.”
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the state has 11,685 confirmed coronavirus cases and 445 deaths, as of press time.
Learn more about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic at Pandemic.news.