By Shereen Siewert
The ruling Wednesday by the Wisconsin Supreme Court that tossed out Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home order is leaving some local officials grappling to decide whether they’ll implement orders of their own.
After the ruling, some bars opened immediately while local leaders in other areas kept strict restrictions in place. In Wausau, Loppnow’s, Burks Bar and Denmar posted messages to social media announcing they would open this week and follow health department guidelines to keep staff and customers safe.
But not everyone is moving quickly to reopen.
Other local establishments including Malarkey’s, The Palms, Trailside Bar & Grill and Chatterbox will hold off for now, at least until the time is right for their individual businesses, according to their Facebook pages.
Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he had faith that the “vast majority” of Wisconsin businesses would act responsibly and open with precautions, such as ensuring customers keep at least 6 feet away from each other.
But in some communities bars were jam packed as early as Wednesday night with no signs of such precautions. Nick’s Bar in Platteville, in far southwest Wisconsin, posted a 30-second video that showed it teeming with people without masks. Bars in Appleton and Kaukauna in northeast Wisconsin, and others across the state, also were packed.
If Wisconsin is to have a statewide plan, Evers will have to work with the same Republicans whose lawsuit resulted in Wednesday’s Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling. After a Thursday meeting with Evers, Vos said the two sides may not be able to reach agreement and that a statewide policy might not be needed.
The party may be short-lived in Appleton, where an order took effect at 8 a.m. Thursday continuing the state’s “safer at home” order. Other communities were taking similar steps, including Madison, Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha County and Brown County, home to Green Bay.
In Wausau, Mayor Katie Rosenberg said she is communicating closely with county health officials, while keeping Wausau City Hall closed to the public.
“As your mayor, I am in constant communication with the Marathon County Health Department and the Marathon County Health Officer to determine our steps forward as a region,” Rosenberg said in a news release. “We expect more guidance from the state today and we will be unified in our approach.”
Wisconsin tribes will keep their casinos closed at least through May 26, Shannon Hosley, president of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans and the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, said.
Evers announced later Thursday that his administration had begun working toward a new administrative rule for managing the coronavirus crisis, a process he had warned could take weeks and might lead nowhere. A notice made clear the new rule would mirror much of Evers’ earlier recommendations.
As of Thursday, Wisconsin had more than 11,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 434 deaths, according to the state Department of Health Services.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.