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Dane Co. increasing number of people allowed in businesses, restaurants; gathering caps raised too

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 10:51 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 5:58 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Dane Co. health officials have unveiled a new emergency health order that, among other changes, will allow much larger gatherings indoors and increase the number of people allowed into restaurants, taverns, and other businesses at any given time.

According to the new order – which goes into effect on May 5 – both restaurants, taverns, and other businesses will be allowed to reach three-quarters capacity. Currently, restaurants and businesses are capped at half-capacity, while taverns were limited to 25 percent.

The order will also increase the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings, with the limits based on whether food and drink will be served. The caps will be:

  • 350 if food and drink are served;
  • 500 if no food or drink is served

The restriction does require that social distancing is maintained at the indoor event. If a room cannot hold the maximum number people allowed without offering appropriate physical distancing, hosts must follow the lower of the two numbers.

Outdoor gathers do not have a set cap on the number of people allowed in attendance, but it does require social distancing.

“Although more spaces are opening, people should still participate in activities based on their comfort with risks, because although we are making progress, we aren’t out of the woods yet,” PHMDC Director Janel Heinrich said.

She credited the increased limits to the high vaccination rate in Dane Co. and the fact the number of cases reported in the county have stabilized.

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More than half of Dane Co. teens ages 16-17 receive at least one COVID-19 shot

The Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 dashboard shows Wednesday that 51.5% of this age group has received at least one dose.

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The order will be in effect until June 2.

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