Wisconsin lawmakers sound off on Evers’ newest order

Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 10:12 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - State lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are reacting to the newest order issued by Governor Tony Evers on Tuesday, and are sounding off on whether it might face a legal challenge.

The order will limit public gatherings to no more than 25% of a room or building’s total occupancy, and the order applies to any gatherings at locations that are open to the public, including stores and restaurants.

It does exempt schools, child care, health care, churches, human services and government buildings.

Action 2 News spoke with both Republicans and Democrats, who agree on the necessity to wear a mask in public, but don’t agree whether the order, which targets businesses, is the right way to respond to the growing outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin.

Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) says it’s something he supports.

“I think the governor’s action is a response to the fact that other measures aren’t working and if we are going to curb the spread, slow the spread and be able to save lives and hopefully protect our economy and our kids education system we have to do better than we’re doing," said Hintz.

Democrats say this order is something many health care workers have been pleading for.

Before, any bars not serving food shut down on March 17th, but were allowed to re-open after a state Supreme Court ruling in May, unless county health departments issued their own local order.

“I know it’s very difficult, taverns, restaurants, they’ve been the hardest hit out of any business group right now. I know they’ve been working very hard as an industry to keep their premises clean, their employees safe, their patrons safe so this is going to be very difficult for them,” said Wisconsin State Senator Roger Roth (R-Appleton).

Republicans say they’re still reviewing the order, and haven’t decided what, if any, legal challenges will go before the court, but say a decision on that will be made soon.

The order goes into effect at 8 a.m. Thursday, October 8, and will be in effect until November 6.

Click here to read the full order.

Tuesday evening, officials with the De Pere and Oneida Nation Health Departments, as well as the Brown County Health and Human Services Department, said they’re working to understand how the order will be enforced. Health officials say they will be speaking with law enforcement partners, and will then provide guidance on expectations and any future steps.

You can find the answers to multiple frequently asked questions about the order by clicking here.

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