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Dane County won't reopen businesses further before June 12
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Dane County won't reopen businesses further before June 12

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Outdoor Dining Rigby and Maduro

East Main Street is one of the six streets identified by the city for expanded outdoor restaurant seating. Taverns don't qualify. The Rigby Pub & Grill and the bar Maduro are neighbors on the 100 block of East Main.

Dane County will not move to the next phase of reopening businesses and other entities to 50% capacity before June 12, and even if data looks good, the shift likely won't happen for a few days to give time to prepare, Public Health Madison and Dane County officials said Friday.

The county, which announced a four-phase "Forward Dane" reopening plan on May 18, began lifting some restrictions on businesses and activities on May 26. Restaurants, gyms, retail stores and other "nonessential" businesses that were shuttered for two months because of the COVID-19 pandemic began bringing customers back into buildings if they follow certain requirements.

Each phase of the Forward Dane plan is expected to last at least 14 days, or the incubation period for the new coronavirus. Phase 2 will allow for up to 50% capacity at most businesses and the lifting of other restrictions. Phase 3 will allow for up to 75% capacity.

“We will not issue a new ‘Phase 2’ public health order without supporting metrics from two full weeks of data from Phase 1," Public Health spokesperson Sarah Mattes said. "This two-week period will end on June 9. We expect to have the data compiled and analyzed on June 12 to inform any decisions about future orders.

“We will not make a determination until the 12th," she said. "If a new order is issued based on the metrics, it would mostly likely not go into effect for a few days so that businesses have time to prepare.”

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ original “safer at home” order closing “nonessential” businesses went into effect March 25 and was originally set to expire April 24. It was extended in mid-April to run through May 26 until the state Supreme Court overturned it May 13, when Dane County put into place its own stay-at-home order.

Under Phase 1 of reopening, most businesses, including gyms and dine-in restaurant service, can operate at 25% capacity with certain public health requirements and physical distancing in place.

Salons, tattoo parlors and spas can take customers by appointment only.

Indoor gatherings at commercial properties and outdoor get-togethers are allowed up to 50 people, with expectations people keep 6 feet apart. Gatherings inside homes can be up to 10 people.

Additionally, faith-based institutions such as churches, synagogues and mosques can welcome worshipers back, but only at 25% of a building's capacity. Public Health on Friday dropped an additional requirement that limited church attendance no more than 50 people.

But playgrounds will remain shuttered, and long-term care facilities -- whose residents may be more vulnerable to the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus -- are still not allowed to have visitors or hold group activities and meals.


COVID-19 in photos: How Wisconsin is managing the pandemic

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