It's "the Wild West" for our insatiably thirsty neighbors to the east, according to Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers.
On Wednesday, his state's supreme court slapped down an extension of stay-at-home orders, resulting in bar doors practically swinging off their hinges to re-open amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Drinking establishments "can OPEN IMMEDIATELY!" the Tavern League of Wisconsin exclaimed following the 4-3 vote, a ruling Evers predicted will create "chaos."
Badger State drinkers immediately poured into the bars.
"Forty-five minutes after the bars open in Wisconsin..." tweeted Nick's Bar in Platteville, sharing a photo of packed-in patrons not complying with the Tavern League's suggestion of social distancing.
Similar scenes popped up around the state, though some bars opted to stay closed.
This extremely on-brand development outta Wisconsin coincides with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz's announcement that our state will snuff out its stay-at-home order on May 18; bars and restaurants can re-open June 1, Walz declared Wednesday evening.
Walz's reveal of the new "Stay Safe MN" orders was couched with lots of language about capacity caps, social distancing guidelines, and other best practices... just as we're learning how bad Minnesotans are at social distancing. A cynic could argue the omnipresent forces of capital (lobbyists, trade groups) are taking precedent over the health of people, but these guys and, apparently, Walz would disagree.
So far, Minnesota has 663 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, including 25 new ones reported Thursday. The state's demand for ICU beds is projected to spike sometime in June or July, according to various models.