One of the topics of debate during the coronavirus pandemic has been how much people will change their behaviour in the wake of the deadly virus.
If these bars are anything to go by, the answer is not very much.
Shortly after the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the US state’s stay-at-home order on Wednesday, local time, it was game on for many residents.
Immediately the Tavern League of Wisconsin, a trade association of alcoholic beverage retailers, called on its members to fling open their doors and get the party started.
“We will get you a more detailed summary of the decision, however, according to the ruling you can OPEN IMMEDIATELY!” it wrote on Facebook.
Bars obliged, and the customers came.
However coronavirus-era social distancing measures went out the window even as the state and nationwide death count continues to mount.
Nick’s Bar in Wisconsin soon posted a video and a photo captioned “45 minutes after the bars open in Wisconsin,” showing a packed room of patrons, with revellers laughing and dancing along to Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress by the Hollies.
Meanwhile the Iron Hog Saloon greeted customers Wednesday afternoon, local time, in the town of Port Washington, where patrons reportedly mingled with little social distancing and no masks, according to local media.
“My employees haven’t been paid now in two months. I had to look out for them and their families, and I had to look out for my business,” the saloon’s owner told local station WISN.
The court has ‘thrown our state into chaos’
President Trump also celebrated the lifting of statewide restrictions, tweeting that “The Great State of Wisconsin” is “bustling.”
“The people want to get on with their lives. The place is bustling!” the US president exclaimed.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, told MSNBC that the court had “thrown our state into chaos” and undermined the rules meant to limit the virus’s spread.
“People are smart in Wisconsin. They’re not idiots. They’re going to do whatever they can to make sure that they’re safe,” he said, nevertheless warning that more deaths would result.
“But when you have no requirements anymore, that’s a problem.”
Dr Dara Kass, associate professor of emergency medicine at Columbia University, warned that a spike in cases would likely result if people threw caution to the wind and returned to packed venues simply due to lockdown fatigue.
“There are so many clusters of people just saying, ‘I’m too tired to do this anymore, and I’m done.’
“But the truth is public health doesn’t stop because we’re tired. And this virus doesn’t care if we aren’t interested in staying home anymore,” she said.
To date, there have been 11,275 confirmed coronavirus cases in Wisconsin with the case rate showing no signs of plateauing. There have been 434 deaths from COVID-19, according to state government data.
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