Dane Co. COVID-19 health, mask order has expired

The county’s first emergency order was issued just over a year ago.
Published: Jun. 1, 2021 at 9:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 10:32 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Dane County’s public health order expired Wednesday after more than a year of being under public health orders from COVID-19.

Public Health Madison & Dane County issued its first public health order on May 13, 2020, which stated that the city would adopt Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home Order.

PHMDC subsequently issued 14 more public health orders as the COVD-19 pandemic raged on, with the last one set to officially end at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Dane County health officials announced in mid-May that they did not expect to issue a new county health order when the current one expires on Wednesday, meaning all COVID-19 requirements will fall to recommendations.

Businesses and organizations can set their own COVID-19 policies once the order lets up, including rules on wearing masks, indoor gathering limits and social distancing. Stores such as Costco, Hy-Vee, Target and Walmart had previously declared they would be ending their mask requirements, but it would still be in effect in Dane County until the local order had expired.

“There may be people and businesses out there who still want mask policies in place after the orders end as masks still provide an additional layer of protection,” Co. Executive Joe Parisi said in a statement announcing the policy. “We recommend that businesses take this time to consider next steps, while reminding patrons of the current order which remains in place.”

Dane County’s most recent order required masks for most people over the age of five when they are in enclosed spaces with people who are not members of their household, when they are about to go into certain facilities, or when they are driving with people who live elsewhere. It did provide exceptions for eating, swimming, and other circumstances as well as for those who are medically incapable of wearing a mask.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had previously announced that fully vaccinated people could safely go without masks in most cases.

PHMDC officials credited the high percentage of people who are vaccinated in the county also factored into PHMDC’s decision making. According to the Department of Health Services’ latest COVID-19 update, nearly two-thirds of residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 57.6% of people have completed their vaccine series.

Those who are 65 and older in Dane County have reached record highs in terms of COVID-19 vaccinations, with 95.4% of residents this age getting at least one dose.

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