The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Gov. Evers’ Safer at Home order Wednesday with a ruling of four to three, meaning the Wisconsin legislature must approve future statewide Safer at Home policies. Quickly after, Public Health Madison and Dane County implemented a Safer at Home order affecting only Dane County residents.
The order closed many businesses and schools in the state to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The order was set to last until May 26, but the court has struck down the order in its entirety. The order may remain in place for the next six days as the Department of Health Services and the state legislature work together to form a new plan for Wisconsin.
The court ruled DHS Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm overextended the power of the position by extending the Stay at Home order until April 16. All future orders must go through the legislature first, the court ruled, meaning the legislature will have the last say in any statewide orders put in place for the pandemic.
The court heard oral arguments May 5, and several organizations representing local businesses and health departments were filed in this case.
Local governments can still create their own Safer at Home orders under the absence of a statewide order.
PHMDC issued an order for Dane County implementing all of the provisions of the statewide order in Dane County. The Dane County level order will last until May 26.
“We are disappointed in the ruling, as the Safer at Home order has substantially slowed the increase of COVID-19 cases in Dane County,” PHMDC said in a press release. “As a result, Public Health Madison & Dane County is using our local authority to issue a City of Madison and Dane County order that incorporates the elements of the statewide Safer at Home order, effective immediately.”
The legislature has not released plans yet on how and when the Wisconsin economy will open back up, according to reporting from the Wisconsin State Journal.