Governor Evers Issues Emergency Order Limiting Indoor Public Gatherings

Gov. Tony Evers’ administration issued an order Tuesday restricting the size of crowds at indoor locations like restaurants and bars, citing a spike in COVID-19 cases that has strained hospitals across the state.

The order is set to take effect at 8 a.m. Thursday. It would end Nov. 6.

Under the order, a private venue would be limited to 25 percent of its usual capacity. For example, a restaurant with a capacity of 200 would be limited to a crowd of 50.

The list of exemptions to the order is long. It wouldn’t restrict outdoor gatherings, where the state Department of Health Services said the risk of COVID-19 transmission was lower.

The order also wouldn’t apply to indoor workplaces that aren’t open to the public, like a warehouse or manufacturing plant.

Many of the same businesses that were exempt from the stay-at-home order would also be exempt from this order, such as grocery stores or construction businesses.

Universities and K-12 schools would be exempt from the order, as would child care centers. Campaign events, polling places and churches would also be exempt.

It would be up to local governments to enforce the order. They could issue fines of up to $500, but it wouldn’t carry criminal penalties.