Jonesy's Local Bar in Hudson, Wisc. Photo Jerry Holt/(Minneapolis) Star Tribune via Getty Images

A rolling, living experiment — and preview of coming attractions for the rest of the country — has begun in Wisconsin, after a surprise court ruling made the Badger State the first in the nation where businesses can reopen.

The state of play: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) warned of “massive confusion” after his stay-at-home order was thrown out Wednesday night by the state's Supreme Court.

  • Some bars filled within hours, picking up their St. Patrick's Day celebrations where they'd left off.
  • Restaurants, hair salons, barbershops, spas and gyms opened around the state, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
  • At Hair Extraordiniar By Michael in Menomonee Falls, patrons waited in their cars until it was their turn.

But the party was short-lived in the state's biggest areas — including Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay and more — which pledged to continue the state's "safer at home" rules.

  • President Trump called the ruling a win: "The people want to get on with their lives. The place is bustling!"

Between the lines: For several years, Wisconsin has been a testing ground for GOP maximalism on labor, gerrymandering and other fronts — especially under the previous governor, Scott Walker (R).

  • The state's reopening conflicts reflect national divisions that have only deepened with the pandemic.
The Dairyland Brew Pub in Appleton, Wisc. Photo: William Glasheen/The Post-Crescent via Reuters

The big picture: Lawsuits challenging lockdown measures, in whole or in part, are pending across the country. But they're mostly failing.

  • Wisconsin’s high court is the only one to strike down an entire stay-at-home order.
  • Courts in Kansas, Michigan, Pennsylvania have sided with those states’ governors, allowing their stay-at-home orders to stand.
  • Even lawsuits targeted at narrow, specific parts of states’ orders mostly failed, with some exceptions. Different courts in different jurisdictions have reached different conclusions about restrictions on religious gathering, for example.
  • And judges have rebuffed some restrictions that targeted abortion providers.
  • Overwhelmingly, though, the trend is for courts to uphold governors' orders, even highly restrictive ones like Michigan's and California's.

What's next: Evers announced that his administration is working toward a new administrative rule for managing the crisis, a process he had warned could take weeks and might lead nowhere, AP reports.

  • A notice made clear the new rule will mirror Evers’ earlier recommendations.

Go deeper

Georgia governor to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate

Gov. Brian Kemp speaking in Atlanta on Aug. 10. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced Thursday he plans to withdraw a lawsuit that sought to block Atlanta’s face mask mandates and coronavirus restrictions, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Why it matters: The decision to withdraw the lawsuit ends the legal feud between Georgia's Republican governor and Atlanta's Democratic leadership, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Other Georgia cities will be able to keep their mask mandates in places for now, per AJC.

Updated 15 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand confirmed Thursday there are 13 local cases linked to the four who tested positive for COVID-19, ending 102 days of no community spread. Auckland locked down Wednesday for 72 hours and the rest of NZ is under lesser restrictions.

By the numbers: Over 751,000 people have died of the novel coronavirus globally and another 20.7 million have tested positive, per Johns Hopkins. More than 12.8 million have recovered from the virus.

Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandate: "Be a patriot"

Joe Biden called on governors to issue a three-month mandatory outdoor mask mandate on Thursday, telling reporters after receiving a coronavirus briefing that experts say it could save over 40,000 lives.

Why it matters: Biden was more aggressive and specific than he has been in previous calls to wear a mask, arguing that it will allow children to return to school sooner, businesses to reopen and help "get our country back on track."