Wisconsin residents flooded to local bars after the state Supreme Court struck down the stay-at-home orders that required bars and other establishments where viruses can spread extremely easily to remain closed. Photos and videos of people packed in bars and celebrating their freedom to get themselves and others sick and maybe dead quickly spread online Wednesday night.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers criticized the ruling, calling his state “the Wild West.”

“There are no restrictions at all across the state of Wisconsin,” he said in an interview with MSNBC. “So at this point in time … there is nothing that’s compelling people to do anything other than having chaos here.”

Wisconsin counties and cities are now scrambling to create and implement their own stay-at-home orders, which may end up conflicting with one another and causing mass confusion as the pandemic rages on.

While states that have implemented strict stay-at-home orders are beginning to see a decline in new cases and deaths, but public health experts are extremely concerned that opening up too fast and too early could cause an uncontrollable surge in new cases and result in avoidable deaths.

“When you have no requirements anymore, that’s a problem,” said Evers. “We’re just leaving it open. We’re going to have more cases. We’re going to have more deaths. And it’s a sad occasion for the state. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am.”

The Republicans who sued the Wisconsin government in April argued to the state Supreme Court that extending the stay-at-home orders indefinitely is an abuse of the governor’s emergency powers. Justice Rebecca Bradley, who voted against the governor in the ruling, even compared the situation to the Japanese internment camps that the U.S. shamefully created during WWII.

Dissenting Justice Rebecca Dallet did not mince words in condemning her fellow judges.

“This decision will undoubtedly go down as one of the most blatant examples of judicial activism in this court’s history,” she wrote. “And it will be Wisconsinites who pay the price.”

People in all kinds of U.S. states are also not thrilled.


Please stay as safe as you can if you live in Wisconsin and are smart.

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*First Published: May 14, 2020, 12:07 pm