Tavern League Files Lawsuit To End Limits On Bar, Restaurant Capacity

The Tavern League of Wisconsin has filed a lawsuit to strike down the Evers administration’s emergency order limiting bar and restaurant capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The order, which went into effect last Thursday, requires bars and restaurants across the state to limit capacity to 25 percent until Nov. 6.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Sawyer County, argues that the court should throw out the order because it wasn’t created through the emergency rulemaking process, a process that requires state lawmakers to approve any restrictions on people and businesses during the pandemic. Using the process would essentially give the GOP-controlled Legislature veto power over any restrictions.

Chris Marsicano, president of the Tavern League of Wisconsin, said Wisconsin restaurants and bars are facing “economic ruin” as the pandemic continues, and that businesses shutdowns “have not proven effective” as the virus has spread in the state.

“The Tavern League of Wisconsin is committed to fighting the spread of COVID-19, but will not stand by and watch its members be forced out of business by unlawful orders,” Marsicano said in a prepared statement. “We need the help and support of our communities and elected officials to keep defeat COVID-19 while keeping our ‘OPEN’ signs lit.”

He said the state needs to “kill COVID, not small business.”