Nov 16, 2020

Update on Current Regulations in Wisconsin

With all the different COVID-19 state mandates and related lawsuits, many restaurant operators may be unclear what is currently in effect in Wisconsin. Here's an update on recent mandates, lawsuits and what restaurants currently need to follow (as of 11/18/2020):

Mask Mandate

  • Current order in effect until Nov. 21 - Governor Evers announced on November 18th that he will issue a new public health declaration and extend the statewide mask mandate into mid-January.
  • Issued by the Governor as Emergency Order #1, Requiring Face Coverings. under the authority of Executive Order #90 – Public Health Emergency #3
  • Marquette Law School Poll indicates 72 percent of Wisconsin residents agree with the mask mandate
  • The Governor’s authority to issue more than one COVID-19 related Public Health Emergency is currently being challenged by multiple lawsuits. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has taken up one of the lawsuits via “original action” which lets plaintiffs bypass the usual trial and appeals process. The case will be heard soon.
  • The Supreme Court’s ruling will determine whether the Governor can issue further COVD-19 related mandates
  • State statutes also allow the State Legislature to convene and vote to end the Governor’s emergency order

Capacity Limit

  • The statewide order to limit indoor gathering capacity to 25 percent expired on November 6 – local orders are still in place
  • Issued by Secretary Designee Andrea Palm as Emergency Order #3, under the authority of Executive Order #90 – Public Health Emergency #3
  • The order was in effect from October 8 through November 6, 2020 (two COVID-19 incubation cycles)
  • This order was also contested in court, with multiple injunctions preventing enforcement
  • On Friday, November 6, the Wisconsin Third District Court of Appeals ruled that statewide rules to address COVID-19 limiting the size of some indoor public gatherings are “invalid and unenforceable.” The appeals court ruled it was unenforceable due to DHS Secretary Andrea Palm’s “failure to follow the required rule-making procedures” and the lower circuit court “erroneously exercised its discretion” by denying a temporary injunction in October
  • The Evers Administration is expected to appeal this decision

WRA advises restaurants to continue to follow the recommendations set forth by the National Restaurant Association, WEDC and FDA in addition to following all local and state mandates.

National Restaurant Association Guidelines

WEDC General Guidelines

WEDC Guidelines for Restaurants & Foodservice

FDA Guidelines

More Guidelines and Info on the WRA Website 

Questions? Email or call the Ask WRA Team at 608-270-9950.