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Judge blocks Evers' order limiting bar and restaurant capacity

The Tavern League of Wisconsin on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the order, which limited capacity in indoor establishments to 25%.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin judge has temporarily blocked an order from Gov. Tony Evers’ administration limiting the number of people who can gather in bars, restaurants and other indoor places. 

The Tavern League of Wisconsin filed a lawsuit against the order on Tuesday. Sawyer County Circuit Judge John Yackel on Wednesday blocked the order and set a court date for Monday. 

The Democratic governor's order, issued last week, limited the number of customers in any indoor establishment to 25% of capacity. A spokeswoman for Evers did not immediately return a message seeking comment on the ruling. 

RELATED: Wisconsin governor restricts public indoor gatherings as COVID spikes

The Tavern League argued that the order amounted to “defacto closure” in its lawsuit, which was filed in Sawyer County. WTMJ reports it alleged that a local business, the Flambeau Forest Inn in the Village of Winter, has severely suffered by the capacity limits.

A Sawyer County judge has just issued a temporary restraining order in our lawsuit against the enforcement of Secretary...

Posted by Tavern League of Wisconsin on Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Under the new order, the Flambeau Forest Inn has to limit 10 customers at a time into the business, as it lacks an official capacity. According to the lawsuit, the business has seating for 60 plus 25 more people at seating at the bar.

"If Flambeau were forced to operate at a 10-person capacity, it could only include five customers on-site with the five staff normally required to operate the bar and restaurant," the lawsuit argued. "This would be approximately 5% of Flambeau’s normal seating capacity. Flambeau could not operate profitably under these conditions and would be forced to discontinue its business operations."