The Wisconsin court system has ruled once again in regards to the state health departments efforts to release COVID-19 data associated with business. A Waukesha County judge has extended the restraining order preventing that personal data from being released to the general public.

According to news sources, the ruling comes as a group of "Wisconsin business associations - including Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce - filed for a temporary injunction to block the release" of the information. Without the restraining order, the Wisconsin health department would be free to "release the names of businesses that have at least 25 employees where at least two workers have tested positive for COVID-19".

At issue - at least from the businesses view point - is the general reputation of the commercial entities.  Business owners argued that releasing their name in association with positive COVID-19 cases would tarnish the commercial reputation.  In many cases, the positive COVID-19 cases didn't even stem from the business in question - they occurred elsewhere.  Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce President and CEO Kurt Bauer shared:

"While an employee may have contracted COVID-19 outside the workplace and properly quarantined, a business could still face financial or reputational harm if consumers falsely blame the employer due to this release."

The business name would end up being associated with the cases only because the individual worked there. In their defense, Wisconsin health officials suggested "that the plaintiffs failed to show how releasing such information would cause any harm to business".

Enter your number to get our free mobile app

During the same hearing, Waukesha County judge Lloyd Carter also denied motions for dismissal from the state and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel over open records requests.

From Wuhan to New York City: A Timeline of COVID-19's Spread