Based on active monitoring of the data-based metrics outlined in the Forward Dane plan to reopen businesses and allow more movement and gatherings, an order has been issued that moves Dane County into Phase 1 of the reopening plan, effective 8 am on Tuesday, May 26 – the same day the statewide “Safer at Home” order was set to expire. That order was overturned by the state Supreme Court.
“We released Forward Dane so everyone in the community could see the requirements that needed to be met for us to continue opening businesses, while still balancing the health and safety of our residents,” Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) Director Janel Heinrich said in a statement.
“We are receiving hundreds of test results each day and have analyzed additional data from the community testing site at the Alliant Energy Center. We feel confident that our county can take the next step in the reopening process at this time,” continued Heinrich.
According to a PHMDC press release, Phase 1 allows:
- Reopening all businesses—such as restaurants, gyms, and retail establishments—to 25% capacity with certain public health requirements and physical distancing.
- Indoor gatherings at commercial facilities of 50 people or fewer, with physical distancing
- Gatherings at private residences of 10 people or fewer, with physical distancing.
- Outdoor gatherings of 50 or fewer, with physical distancing
- Park courts and fields to be open, but individuals must maintain physical distance
Select businesses and activities with high risk for disease transmission are still closed, according to the release.
“While we know that many businesses, and their customers, are eager for reopening and getting back to providing services, we want to stress that if a business doesn’t feel ready for an open date of May 26th, they should wait until they are comfortable and have all their systems in place to open,” Heinrich said.
“As businesses prepare to reopen, I encourage everyone to still take precautions to reduce the spread of disease: wash hands often, continue to practice physical distancing, and wear cloth face coverings” Madison Mayor Rhodes-Conway said in a statement. “We all want to get back to ‘normal,’ but this is a phased approach to make sure we can still contain and mitigate illness; our fight isn’t over.”
As outlined in the Forward Dane plan, certain data criteria must be met to move forward through the phases. Dane County will remain in Phase 1 for a minimum of 14 days, which is one incubation period for COVID-19. If criteria are met, Public Health will issue a Phase 2 order. If criteria are not met, they will be reassessed at regular intervals.
“It’s important to note that there is no end date for Phase 1 as of right now,” Heinrich said. “We’re looking at an absolute minimum of 14 days in that Phase, but the reality is that we could be in it for longer. Our data and metrics will inform the end date to Phase 1,” continued Heinrich.
“We have worked hard to listen to our business owners and support their reopening in a way that also supports the public’s health. I’m confident that Dane County’s data-driven response to this pandemic is the right approach for us to take,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said in a statement.