Dane Co.’s emergency order relaxes collection restrictions and increases restaurant capacity


MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – With Dane County’s current COVID-19 emergency order expiring next week, local health officials have introduced a new order, further easing restrictions for individuals and businesses in the county.

“We started at the beginning of this pandemic with clear objectives: to try to minimize illnesses and deaths in our community and to reduce the number of victims that this pandemic had in families and health workers that we saw in too many places throughout the country” Dane said. County Executive Joe Parisi. “These new orders reflect the hope we should all feel as more people get vaccinated and we get closer with each passing day to the final chapters of this pandemic.”

Chief among the changes in Emergency Order # 14 is the increase in meeting limits for indoor and outdoor meetings. A meeting with food or drink is limited to 150 people, while a meeting without food or drink is limited to 350 people. An outdoor gathering is limited to 500 people, regardless of food or drink option.

The department also increased restaurant capacity to 50%, while taverns must limit indoor dining capacity to 25% of approved seating capacity.

In both indoor and outdoor gatherings, health officials require people to continue to maintain 6 feet of social distance. People should wear face masks in any indoor gathering, but masks are only required in outdoor gatherings if the occupancy exceeds 50 people.

Madison & Dane County Public Health Director Janel Heinrich explained that 18.5% of Dane Co. residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, showing the progress Dane has made. Co.

“But even with our current vaccination rate, we are already seeing significant and hopeful progress towards our ultimate goal,” Heinrich said during a news conference.

In its statement, Public Health Madison & Dane Co. detailed and highlighted the major changes from the old order to the new one.

  • An indoor gathering where food or drink is offered or provided is limited to 150 people. An indoor gathering where food or drink is not provided or provided is limited to 350 people. People must maintain a physical distance of six feet and face covering is required.
  • An outdoor gathering is limited to 500 people. People must maintain a physical distance of six feet. Face coverings required in gatherings of more than 50 people.
  • The school’s protective measures policy requirements have been updated and include elements on facial covering and employee distancing, student distancing, and student groups.
  • Restaurants can open up to 50% of their capacity.
  • Taverns must limit indoor dining capacity to 25% of approved seating capacity levels. Set up tables and chairs to ensure a physical distance of at least six (6) feet between clients who are not members of the same household or dwelling unit.

Parisi cited Monday night’s Light the Nights event during Tuesday’s press conference, noting that today’s emergency order may look to the future.

“Last night, we came together as a community to acknowledge the difficulties and sacrifices that we have all endured as individuals and as a community over the past year. Today we can look to the future, with cautious optimism and hope as we move through the process of gradual and careful reopening of our economy and our community. “

Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway backed the new order, but said residents must still be vigilant when it comes to protecting themselves against COVID-19.

“Public health orders are designed to function at the population level to protect vulnerable people, preserve hospital capacity, suppress disease and prevent deaths,” said the mayor. “As an individual or family, you may need to make stricter decisions based on your comfort with the risks.”

The order goes into effect at 12:01 am on Wednesday, March 10, and will remain in effect for 28 days.

The following provisions do not change between the previous order and the last order:

  • Face covering is required in closed buildings, while driving with people who are not part of your home, and outdoors in a restaurant or tavern. The types of facial coverings allowed have been updated to reflect the new CDC recommendations.
  • Businesses continue to be limited to 50% of approved building capacity and must have written cleaning and hygiene policies.
  • Provisions for continuing education and higher education institutions, specific requirements for industry, healthcare, public health, human services, infrastructure, manufacturing, government, and religious entities and groups remain unchanged.

February order

The previous order had increased the number of people allowed to meet at local businesses, with limits ranging from 25 to 100 depending on whether the business served food or not and whether the meeting was held indoors or outdoors. free.

It also opened the door to games and contests for games and contests and pushed the nursery and kindergarten groups to the limit. The February 8 order, which took effect two days later, was scheduled to expire on March 10, barring a replacement order.

At the time, Heinrich said he “is hopeful” that his agency can continue to do so in the coming months.

Dane County chart showing the number of new cases as of March 1, 2021.
Dane County chart showing the number of new cases as of March 1, 2021.(Madison & Dane Co. Public Health)

New cases plummet

When the order was issued, more than 100 new cases of COVID-19 were reported each day on average. Since then, the seven-day moving average has nearly halved from 111.3 per day to 56.70 cases per day, according to the latest figures from PHMDC.

At its peak in November, Dane Co. averaged nearly 500 cases per day.

Coinciding with the new restrictions, Dane Co. officials also released a new Forward Dane plan outlining how the county plans to reopen.

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