Wisconsin Tavern League: Profits Over Public Health

The facts about the pandemic in Wisconsin are staggering. On Tuesday Wisconsin passed two records that no one wanted to cross during this pandemic. Our state had already passed a grim milestone of having 150,000 COVID cases. But then in one day, we had a record 3,279 new cases added to the count and a most horrible record number of deaths at 34. It is a truly sobering time in the state.

Which is why it stuns the sensibilities to learn this morning a Sawyer County judge blocked Governor Tony Evers’ latest order to curb the spread of coronavirus by limiting public gatherings and the number of customers bars and restaurants may serve at one time. 

While bars and restaurants can lament the sluggish cash flow to their businesses let it be made clear the reason for not only the spike in cases, but also the economic calamity, is due to the lack of a federal and comprehensive response from the Trump White House. One has to ask where the Wisconsin Tavern League was when so many were pressing for an encompassing plan to combat the virus.

The order put in place by Evers capped customers to 25% of the establishment’s capacity limit. That sent the Wisconsin Tavern League into a lather and to court to stop the order. The county judge did that today on a temporary basis while the state will make their case on Monday in a hearing as to why the order makes not only sense but was framed to meet the Supreme Court ruling from earlier this year.

We know how the virus is spread and also what happened in Wisconsin when the bars were allowed to recklessly reopen this spring. The data and contract tracing tells the story of how these establishments played a large role in the ability of the virus to spread.

It is truly concerning when the tavern league can undo public health orders so their members can make money by conducting themselves in ways that continue the spread of a deadly pandemic. I trust the courts will correct the Sawyer County judge next week.