Vos and Fitzgerald say Wisconsin is 'up to the task' after stay-at-home order blocked

Published: May. 13, 2020 at 8:29 PM CDT
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Wisconsin GOP leaders Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said they are "confident Wisconsin citizens are up to the task of fighting the virus," after the state Supreme Court ruled in their favor by

Vos and Fitzgerald led the GOP-dominated legislature when it announced it was filing a lawsuit in the state Supreme Court against the extended stay-at-home order. They argued that Gov. Tony Evers and the DHS overreached their powers by extending the order, while the governor and his allies say it is necessary in order to flatten the curve.

Now that their lawsuit has ended a universal, statewide stay-at-home order, besides

, Vos and Fitzgerald are urging the Evers administration to work with them to begin setting new rules to guide Wisconsin in case COVID-19 cases do spike in the state.

The Republican leaders say they asked the governor during a meeting last week to allow the extended order to expire early, but Evers "politely declined and said we should wait for the court decision," according to the statement from Vos and Fitzgerald.

Now that the order has in fact been blocked, the legislators say Wisconsin is ready to start to reopen amid the pandemic.

"Republicans believe business owners can safely reopen using the guidelines provided by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. We urge our fellow small business owners to utilize the suggestions as a safe and effective way to open up our state," the legislators said.

Vos and Fitzgerald cite

that found a marginal decline in support for the extended stay-at-home order. They add that Wisconsin is not the only state to jump-start a plan to reopen earlier than expected.

“Wisconsin now joins multiple states that don't have extensive ‘stay at home orders’ but can continue to follow good practices of social distancing, hand washing, hand sanitizer usage and telecommuting. This order does not promote people to act in a way that they believe endangers their health," according to Vos and Fitzgerald.

The 4-3 Supreme Court ruling essentially reopens the state, lifting caps on the size of gatherings, allowing people to travel as they please and allowing shuttered businesses to reopen, including bars and restaurants. Local governments can still impose their own health restrictions, however. Dane County officials issued a local order minutes after the ruling came down imposing a mandate identical to now-invalidated state stay-at-home order.

Evers issued a stay-at-home order in March that closed schools and nonessential businesses. The closures battered the state economy, but Evers argued they were necessary to slow the virus’ spread. The order was supposed to lift on April 24, but Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Andrea Palm, an Evers appointee, extended it to May 26.