A judge in Sawyer County in northern Wisconsin granted a temporary restraining order Wednesday, Oct. 14, blocking for now Gov. Tony Evers administration's COVID-19 emergency order that limits indoor public gatherings to 25% of posted occupancy.
Circuit Court Judge John M. Yackel granted the request filed in a lawsuit brought by the Tavern League of Wisconsin, the Sawyer County chapter of the Tavern League and the Flambeau Forest Inn.
The lawsuit names as defendants the state Department of Health Services, DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm and Sawyer County Health Officer Julia Lyons.
The defendants are ordered to come before the judge Monday, Oct. 19, to defend the emergency order from a temporary injunction that could be issued while the case is litigated.
The ruling with statewide implications comes as Wisconsin has struggled in recent weeks to contain growing COVID-19 activity. The state surpassed 150,000 positive cases as of Oct. 13 and set a one-day record for deaths with 34 reported Tuesday, according to DHS. The total death toll in the state was 1,508.
The lawsuit is another in a line of court challenges against the Democratic governor's pandemic response measures. A St. Croix County judge on Monday denied a temporary injunction request in a lawsuit over the statewide mask mandate and extended COVID-19 emergency declaration, but the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the Evers administration’s Safer at Home order in May following a lawsuit brought by the GOP-controlled state Legislature.