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State Supreme Court to hear appeal of expired order limiting gatherings

MADISON (WKOW) — The Wisconsin Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal to a lawsuit challenging a former statewide limit on gatherings and capacities at certain businesses.

The order in question, which limited many businesses including bars and restaurants to just 25 percent of their capacity, is no longer in force having elapsed on Nov. 6.

Still, the issue could have an impact on any future emergency orders issued by Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services (DHS) in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm issued the order in early October to limit spread of the coronavirus by restricting business capacities and other gatherings.

A lawsuit against the order made its way to the Court of Appeals which ruled against Palm, blocking the order.

The state appealed the case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court even though the order expired.

The high court is also considering another lawsuit concerning Gov. Tony Evers’ ability to declare states of emergency in response to the pandemic. DHS needs a state of emergency to be declared before it can issue emergency orders like the one that limited business capacities.

Arguments in the case are scheduled for Dec. 14 at 9:45 a.m.

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