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Wisconsin bars packed with patrons almost immediately after court strikes down stay-at-home order

Tensions grow as states slowly reopen
Tensions grow as states reopen and U.S. death toll tops 85,000 02:04

Almost immediately after the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Governor Tony Evers' stay-at-home order on Wednesday, bars in the state opened their doors — and patrons did not hold back. Video from one packed bar in Platteville has gone viral online.

The video from Nick's Bar shows patrons packed together, dancing and banging on the bar top. The video received nearly 60,000 views on Twitter before the tweet was deleted. And Nick's is not the only Wisconsin establishment to receive a flood of visitors.

CBS Milwaukee affiliate WDJT-TV was at Buzzard's Nest in West Allis, which was filled with people who were eager to get out of the house after more than a month of isolation.

One bar-goer, Hayden Krueger, said he feels safe and was happy to get out. "It's been kinda boring sitting in my house, I love my fiancee, but there's only so much we can handle from each other without having interaction with other people," Krueger told WDJT.

Patrons packed a bar in West Allis, Wisconsin, on May 13, 2020, after the state Supreme Court lifted the governor's "safer at home" order. CBS affiliate WDJT-TV

The state's "safer at home" order was set to expire May 26, but Republicans in the state legislature argued that Health Secretary-designee Andrea Palm abused her powers when she issued the extended order in April. 

In a 4-3 decision, the state's highest court said the order should have been issued as a rule, which would have required working with the legislature. It is the first time a state supreme court has struck down emergency orders issued by a governor's office due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After the court ruling, Buzzard's Nest owner Larry Prior told WDJT he called the city to make sure he could reopen, and was informed it was OK.

"It was a rough two months and we miss our customers, a lot of them are like family to us, and it was good to see a lot of familiar faces. It's been a long time," Prior said.

People flock to Wisconsin bars after stay-at-home order struck down 01:12

On Facebook, the Tavern League of Wisconsin, a nonprofit trade association for bar owners, let its members know they could "OPEN IMMEDIATELY," and many did so. Local publication The Post Crescent was at a bar in Green Bay, where more than a dozen people flocked by 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

While the statewide "safer at home" order is no longer in affect, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett's office said in a statement that the city's public health order remains in place, "including all provisions on public gatherings, restaurants and bar operations," WDJT reports.

The closure of non-essential businesses is meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus and is seen by many local and national health officials as an effective protective measure. Still, many businesses owners feel staying closed to prevent exposure to the virus is not worth the financial burden.

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