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Wisconsin Spotlight  | Dec. 7 2020

The dominoes of individual liberties are rapidly falling, with states pushing sweeping restrictions amid rising COVID-19 numbers. Just in time for holiday get-togethers. 

Will Gov. Tony Evers, who locked down the state in the first days of the pandemic, follow other liberal governors in issuing more stringent health orders? 

California lockdown

On Friday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom rolled out a new stay-at-home order that will keep much of the Golden State locked down. 

The goal, according to Newsom and crew, is to stem the tide of intensive care hospitalizations. 

Building off of Newsom’s order, much of the San Francisco Bay Area imposed health edicts shutting down outdoor dining, hair salons and other personal care services, and entertainment venues. The stringent rules were set to go into effect Sunday and run through Jan. 4.   

“We have little choice but to act and to act now,” Sara Cody, health officer for Santa Clara County, told Bloomberg on Friday. “We hope that by acting early, and by acting as a region, we’ll have the best chance at bending the curve faster.”

San Mateo County over the weekend announced it would not be joining the Bay Area regional stay-at-home order. The county’s chief health officer in a statement acknowledged the “reality of the pandemic fatigue that residents are experiencing and the need to find sources of support through this challenging period.” 

The new rules will be devastating to businesses already hit hard by the virus and government restrictions. 

“One of the most dire economic predictions made at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic – that 30% of California restaurants would close permanently – is gradually becoming the reality, with thousands of restaurants already closed and no serious effort by the state to aid businesses,” the California Restaurant Association stated on its webpage. 

Because the mandates come without the benefit of a meaningful aid package to keep these businesses afloat, many more will simply close, the association predicted. 

Closing time 

Elsewhere, Gov. John Carney, Delaware Democrat, issued a stay-at-home advisory with a “universal indoor mask order.” 

“I know we’re all tired of COVID-19 – but it’s not tired of us. We’re pleading with Delawareans to do the right thing. Wear a mask,” Carney said in a statement. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a liberal who has liberally expanded her power during the pandemic, has ordered a three-week lockdown of businesses such as casinos and movie theaters, and has barred in-person learning for high schools and college students. 

Liberal-led cities across the nation have ratcheted up restrictions. The city of Milwaukee last week increased first-time fines for businesses that violate COVID health orders from $500 to $2,500. Additional fines double, going as high as $20,000 for multiple infractions. 

Feeling the pressure

Last month, Evers issued what amounted to a voluntary lockdown of Wisconsin, warning Badger State residents it’s “not safe to go out, it’s not safe to have others over … And it might not be safe for a while yet.” 

Evers’ order has no teeth. The Wisconsin Supreme Court in May struck down his health chief’s extended lockdown. But the administration has repeatedly tried to get around the ruling through legal gymnastics.

Evers has been quick to follow the restrictive examples of his fellow liberal governors. As more push lockdowns and tighter restrictions, Wisconsin’s governor may be feeling the pressure to follow suit. 

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