Wisconsin Business Owner Bans Wearing of Masks After Court Overturns Stay-At-Home Order

A Wisconsin business owner banned the use of masks in her buildings Friday, after the state Supreme Court overturned the state's stay-at-home order.

Annie's Campground, near Gresham, Wisconsin, posted the new rule on the establishment's Facebook page: "Masks are NOT allowed in the buildings for safety sake. They are viewed as a robbery in progress and will be handled that way." The post goes on to list planned events and food items available to patrons for the May 15-17 weekend, before thanking patrons in its conclusion.

Here's the line up for May 15-17: Beautiful Weather!!!!! Masks are NOT allowed in the buildings for safety sake. They...

Posted by Annie's Campground near Gresham, Wisconsin on Friday, 15 May 2020

"Thank you for your continued support as we all get through this thing called life! We have many new people on staff, please have patience as we are training and learning the next few weeks," the post stated, before adding "back to the real normal here."

Ann Retzlaff, who owns Annie's Campground, told Newsweek Saturday she posted this provision on her regular weekend "line-up" to dissuade anyone who enters her campground with the intent to do harm.

"I added no masks when entering my main building because this is the perfect time for the bad guys to take advantage of any small business and rob them because it is now 'normal' to wear a mask. A couple days ago, several small businesses in Shawano were robbed, or the attempt was made to rob them," Retzlaff stated in an email.

"Now, I do understand that there are people who wear a mask because of their delicate health situation, like cancer or a recent surgery. I know these people and their stature is much different that a 6'2" male entering an establishment aggressively with intent to do harm," Retzlaff stated.

"This is a very critical time for all citizens to wake up and understand the threats out there and take measures to protect and defend. It is as simple as that. All of my customers here understood exactly what I meant and why I posted that information," she added.

Annie's Campground never closed down due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Retzlaff also told Newsweek in a phone call that she remained open after she asked the sheriff if he would arrest her for doing so.

When asked if she saw a decline in her patronage, Retzlaff saw "the exact opposite."

"This year, because of all the haters, my business has actually increased substantially," Retzlaff said, following local articles that came out against her decision to stay open.

"Customers are so supportive. People who have driven hours to come here have hugged me and thanked me for staying open," Retzlaff said.

There have also been those who have threatened to do her or the business harm on the company's Facebook page, which Retzlaff said never fazed her. "I am a pretty strong-willed person. I come from a military background," she said.

Wisconsin's Supreme Court ruled against the extension of the state lockdown order Wednesday in a 4-3 decision, citing that Andrea Palm, the top head official in the state, "must follow the law" after Republican lawmakers argued they should have had a say in extending the order.

Retzlaff said the high court made the right decision and that it should open all businesses, "especially in northern Wisconsin where we are sparsely populated." Shawano County, where Annie's Campground is located, has only seen 29 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and zero deaths during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, Governor Tony Evers said Thursday the court ruling would result in "chaos" in the state, because local officials would now have the opportunity to implement their own lockdown measures, which would differ by county.

"Despite that good work by Wisconsinites across our state – who banded together, stayed home and stayed safe – Republican legislators have convinced four of our Supreme Court Justices to throw our state into chaos," Evers said at a press conference a day after the court made its ruling.

"Even with all this chaos, we cannot let the court's ruling undo all the work we have done" the governor said – adding, "Because, folks, the Supreme Court may have changed the rules for how we operate, but it sure as heck didn't change how viruses operate," Evers said.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports 11,685 confirmed cases in the sate and 445 deaths. Only 1,977 of the people who contracted the virus have ever been hospitalized, according to the government website.

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TOPSHOT - People hold signs during a protest against the coronavirus shutdown in front of State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, on April 24, 2020. - Gyms, hair salons and tattoo parlors had a green light to reopen in the US state of Georgia on Friday as the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic soared past 50,000 in the US. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP) (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images) KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/Getty
Wisconsin Business Owner Bans Wearing of Masks After Court Overturns Stay-At-Home Order | U.S.