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Judge Throws Out Racine's Coronavirus Plan

River Run Restaurant in Racine on March 22.

A judge on Wednesday threw out Racine’s coronavirus ordinance as unconstitutional.

Racine County Circuit Judge Jon Fredrickson said that Racine’s plan violated Wisconsin’s constitution because it interfered with the right to assemble. The judge also said the ordinance was so broadly written that “no average person of ordinary intelligence can make sense of its sprawling breadth.”

The owner of a CrossFit gym brought the lawsuit, saying the city’s rules threatened his business.

In his decision, Fredrickson said Racine's policy for mass gatherings “abridges the rights of the citizens of Racine, and anyone visiting, to peaceably assemble, consult for the common good, or to petition the government” as guaranteed in the state constitution.

The judge said the city could adopt a new plan to deal with the coronavirus, if it was written more narrowly, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Racine Mayor Cory Mason said the city has asked for an immediate stay of the decision.

“This irresponsible decision jeopardizes the City’s ability to protect the health and well-being of our residents in the midst of a life-threatening pandemic,” Mason said in a statement.

In May, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ended Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' statewide stay-at-home order issued in response to the pandemic.

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