Judge extends order blocking release of COVID-19 businesses

Gov. Tony Evers’ administration can’t release the names of businesses with COVID-19-positive employees until at least the end of November, a judge ruled Thursday.

Three business groups, including Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, filed a lawsuit on Oct. 1 in Waukesha County Circuit Court to stop the administration from fulfilling an open records request from media outlets seeking the names. The groups argued the release would blacklist the businesses as COVID-19 surges unchecked across Wisconsin.

Judge Lloyd Carter issued a five-day stay on the release the same day the lawsuit was filed. On Thursday he extended the stay until the next hearing in the case on Nov. 30.

Evers spokeswoman Britt Cudaback didn’t immediately respond to an email Friday morning seeking comment.