With the coronavirus raging out of control in Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers announced tight new limits on Tuesday on the size of public indoor gatherings in the state. But the order exempts some of the settings that have been of greatest concern for spreading the virus: schools and colleges, houses of worship, polling places and political rallies.
Wisconsin, a pivotal, sharply divided battleground state in the presidential election, has seen coronavirus cases explode. Three of the four metro areas in the United States with the most cases per capita last week were in northeast Wisconsin, and hospitals in the state are becoming overwhelmed. The state has recently been reporting about 2,400 new cases a day on average, according to a New York Times database.
The order by the state’s Department of Health Services limits public indoor gatherings to 25 percent of capacity; indoor spaces without an official occupancy limit will be restricted to 10 people. The order takes effect on Friday and is set to continue through Nov. 6.
“We’re in a crisis right now, and need to immediately change our behavior to save lives,” Governor Evers, a Democrat, said in a statement.
The governor’s previous efforts to fight the pandemic with statewide restrictions have repeatedly met stiff resistance from Republicans. A stay-at-home order he issued in March was struck down in May by the conservative-leaning state Supreme Court, and a court ruling is expected soon on a lawsuit challenging the governor’s mask mandate.