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Judge Blocks Democratic Governor’s COVID-19 Order Limiting Dining Capacity

Small businesses in Wisconsin scored a small win as they grapple with the devastation left in the wake of coronavirus lockdowns.

On Wednesday, Sawyer County Circuit Judge John Yackel temporarily blocked a restrictive order coming from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ administration that would have impacted restaurants and bars.

Judge Yackel set a court date for Monday to let the Evers administration argue why the order should be in effect while a lawsuit challenging it — filed by the Tavern League of Wisconsin — moves forward.

Many indoor eating establishments would have been limited to 25 percent of their standard occupancy under the order, according to The Associated Press. Establishments that don’t have an occupancy limit would have been restricted to a mere 10 people.

The order would have been effective through Nov. 6. Any establishment found in violation would be issued a $500 fine.

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It’s little surprise that the order has faced such voracious pushback.

A $500 fine is the last thing struggling businesses need, particularly when their hands will be tied when it comes to the number of patrons they can serve.

By almost any report or study, the long-term ramifications that lockdowns are having on businesses are beyond debilitating.

In fact, according to a June Yelp report, the survival rate of restaurants forced to close due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns is less than 50 percent.

It’s worth noting that while Evers’ order technically doesn’t close any restaurants, operating at 25 percent capacity doesn’t magically lower rent or margins to 25 percent.

It may not be for very long, but those establishments in Wisconsin can breathe easy for a bit thanks to Judge Yackel blocking the order.

Rest assured, other restaurants across the country will be fascinated to see how this case turns out.

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