Friday, June 5, 2020
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Packed bar in Wisconsin after court strikes down state’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order

Residents rushed to a local bar in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Wednesday night (May 13) shortly after the state’s Supreme Court invalidated Wisconsin’s stay-at-home orders. Most customers were not seen wearing masks or maintainig social distancing guidelines that recommend individuals stay six feet (1.8 meters) apart from each other. The risk of contracting the virus was equally likely at a grocery store, one customer said.

While lockdown orders meant to quell the pandemic have been challenged in court in several states, the decision in Wisconsin marked the first such lawsuit to succeed in a larger political debate over social distancing that has grown increasingly partisan.

At stake in Wisconsin was a “Safer at Home” order that had been extended through May 26 by the state’s secretary for the Department of Health Services, Andrea Palm, acting at the direction of Governor Tony Evers.

The court ruled that while Evers, a first-term Democrat, possesses emergency powers as governor, the stay-at-home directive was effectively imposed by Palm, whose discretion as a political appointee is more limited.

(Production: Pavithra George)

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