Dane Co. details how its COVID-19 order is stricter than the state’s new one

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Coronavirus COVID-19 generic(WRDW)
Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 9:50 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 7, 2020 at 11:10 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Dane County health officials plan to continue enforcing their emergency order placing restrictions on area businesses despite the Dept. of Health Services issuing its own statewide order that limits the number of people allowed at public indoor gatherings.

In a statement, Public Health Madison & Dane Co. pointed out the state’s order allows local agencies to stick with their own regulations if they are more restrictive than DHS' version. After reviewing both orders, PHMDC officials say they’ve determined their rules meet that standard.

They also note, however, in cases where the local order allows larger gatherings than the state, PHMDC will continue to enforce its guidelines, rather than the stricter ones. One example is many businesses, notably excluding restaurants and bars, can operate at half-capacity in Dane Co. whereas the state’s is a near universal 25 percent, with some exceptions.

PHMDC offered a list of some of its limitations that go beyond the state’s mandate and qualify its order as more restrictive. For example, businesses in Dane Co. are required to:

  • Implement written hygiene, cleaning, and protective measures policies and procedures, as well as ensure that all staff are trained on all required procedures;
  • To the greatest extent possible facilitate remote work;
  • Ensure whenever possible that individuals are six feet from others.

Despite sticking with her order, PHMDC Director Janel Heinrich complemented Gov. Tony Evers and state health officials for establishing statewide standards that she argues will help keep community spread contained in her county and elsewhere.

“Our contact tracing work has shown that COVID-19 isn’t contained within county borders, and we’ve seen transmission from people who live in Dane County but travel to places with fewer restrictions,” she said.

In its statement, Dane Co. health officials included a list of important guidelines contained in its Emergency Order #9 (list provided by PHMDC):

  • Masks are required for people 5 years of age and older (who do not have an underlying condition) when in an enclosed space with people you don’t live with.
  • Most businesses and workplaces can be open to 50% capacity, with certain precautions and policies in place.
  • Businesses and workplaces should be using remote work options to the greatest extent possible.
  • Restaurants are limited to an indoor dine-in capacity of 25% of approved seating capacity levels, with physical distancing between parties. Outdoor seating is allowed with physical distancing. Customers must wear masks when not actively eating and drinking.
  • Indoor seating at taverns is not allowed; customers may enter taverns only to order, pick-up, and pay for food or beverage. Outdoor seating is allowed with physical distancing. Customers must wear masks when not actively eating and drinking.
  • Indoor mass gatherings are limited to 10 people or less, not including employees, with physical distancing and masks.
  • Outdoor mass gatherings are limited to 25 people or less, not including employees, with physical distancing and masks if in enclosed space (e.g., outdoor seating at restaurant).

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