GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – A ruling from Wisconsin’s highest court has put an end to Gov. Evers’ “Safer at Home” order. But what does that mean for efforts to keep COVID-19 from spreading and for businesses looking to reopen?
By a vote of 4-3 the State Supreme Court struck down the “Safer at Home” order, the result of a challenge by Republican lawmakers to an extension to that order issued by Gov. Evers’ health secretary.
“The Evers administration was basically saying an unelected bureaucrat could impose these kinds of restrictions on all 6 million people in the state,” said Rep. Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna).
While the ruling lifts restrictions on things like the size of gatherings, suggested travel limits, and allows businesses to reopen, it does allow local governments to issue their own safety measures. And communities were quick to react.
The cities of Appleton, Milwaukee, and Racine, along with Kenosha, Dane, Winnebago, and Brown counties have all decided to keep existing restrictions in place for now. Brown County Public Health Officer Anna Destree in a statement said: “This virus knows no boundaries, including county lines.”
Related: Several northeastern counties in Wisconsin set forth guidelines, restrictions, and recommendations for reopening
The ruling does not apply to schools. They remain closed. But as for bars, restaurants, and non-essential businesses – in communities that haven’t imposed new restrictions to replace the governor’s order – they are now allowed to reopen. But Steineke says more changes could come soon as Republicans and the Governor sit down and together create a new plan to safely reopen Wisconsin.
“Hopefully we can come up with a plan everyone can support, not a Republican plan, not a Democratic plan, but a plan for all of the state,” Steineke said.
“We cannot let this ruling undo all the work we have done and all the sacrifices Wisconsinites have made,” said Gov. Evers. “I am disappointed in the court’s decision, but our top priority has been and will remain doing what we can and what we have to do to protect the health and safety of the people of our state.”
Local restrictions vary in length by community. In the city of Appleton and Brown County – they’ll remain in effect until May 20.