MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – A new order has been issued by Public Health Madison & Dane County that limits gatherings and prohibits indoor dining and service at bars.
The order, which goes into effect at 8 a.m. on July 2, comes after the county experienced an increase in positive coronavirus cases, according to Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County.
“For the past week, Dane County has seen a sustained, high number of cases. After consultation with our contact tracing team, gatherings, and visits to bars and restaurants continue to be implicated in interviews with cases. We are acting now to immediately curb this increase in cases and protect the health and safety of our community.”
Under the new order:
- All indoor gatherings are permitted with 10 individuals or fewer not including employees. Individuals must maintain physical distancing
- All outdoor gatherings are permitted with 25 individuals or fewer not including employees. Individuals must maintain physical distancing.
- At restaurants, indoor dining capacity reduced to 25% of approved seating capacity levels.
- Bars may provide takeout, but no indoor dining.
- Bars and restaurants are permitted to provide outdoor seating, with physical distancing.
Dane County health officials say gatherings in bars is a concern “because groups of people mix, bars are often loud spaces that require loud talking to communicate (which can spread infectious droplets farther), alcohol impairs the judgment of patrons, and people often are not able to identify or provide contact information for the people they were in close contact with.”
“Our community is at a critical juncture in our fight against COVID-19. Too many people have ignored public health guidelines regarding social distancing. This, in turn, has resulted in the rapid spread of the virus throughout the county. We need everyone to take this seriously and adhere to the guidelines and recommendations that are proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19 or we will face the very real possibility of having to resort to even stricter guidelines,” said Dane County Executive Parisi.
County health officials say that from June 13 through June 26, over 600 residents tested positive for COVID-19 – nearly half of which were individuals between the ages of 18 and 25. Of those interviewed, 45 percent told officials they had attended a gathering or party with people outside of their household. In total, 172 cases were connected to a cluster, either bars, workplaces, congregate facilities, daycares/preschools, or other gatherings.
Here’s a look at how Dane County’s coronavirus numbers compare to Brown County’s coronavirus numbers, per the Wisconsin Department of Health Services:
|Positive Cases as of 6/30||Deaths as of 6/30||Rate (pos. cases per 100,000 people) as of 6/30|
“We need individuals and businesses alike to take this public health threat seriously and know we are enforcing these rules. Responsible businesses should double down on efforts to protect patrons and workers, including not only providing face coverings for workers as required, but also by encouraging patrons to use face coverings as well,” said City of Madison Mayor Rhodes-Conway. “To our younger population, I want to remind you that free testing is available at Alliant Energy Center. Make a plan and go get tested if you may have been exposed.”
During a June 29 COVID-19 update, Brown County officials urged the community to wear face masks when in public to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Officials also highlighted the importance of individual establishments enacted certain guidelines, such as mandating masks or limiting the number of people within the facility.
View Dane County’s order here:
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