Home covid Dane County to Limit Gatherings to 50, Order Schools Closed, Limit Businesses

Dane County to Limit Gatherings to 50, Order Schools Closed, Limit Businesses


Public Health Madison and Dane County has issued an order prohibiting all gatherings of 50 people or more, including at restaurants, bars, movie theaters and other businesses.

The order also forces all schools in Dane County to close immediately.

Businesses like restaurants, bars and movie theaters will be required to limit seating to 50 percent of capacity.

Grocery stores and pharmacies will not be affected. Daycare facilities are also exempt from the order, though many are expected to close.

Also exempt from the order are correctional facilities, detox centers, homeless shelters, hospitals, office spaces and public transportation.

It’s not clear what fines or sanctions would be in place for those violating the orders.

“We have the ability to provide citations,” said Public Health Madison and Dane County Director Janel Heinrich. “We would prefer to really encourage people to get in line with this and support the prevention of disease in our community.”

“We are going to get through this together,” Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said at a press briefing Sunday. “We need you in the public to remain calm, to take steps to protect yourself and your family, especially by social distancing and practicing extremely good hand hygiene. If you are sick, please stay home and please call your doctor before going to the doctor’s office or hospital.”

“For some of us, there will be a lot of work to do, and for some of us, our job will be to spend more quiet time at home,” said County Executive Joe Parisi. “We do have the power to impact the trajectory of the coronavirus. These are aggressive moves, but it’s time to be aggressive.”

Public Health Madison Dane County had previously limited gatherings to those of 250 or less. Heinrich said nothing specific had changed since that order was issued Friday other than finding one new positive case of coronavirus infection.

“We are really looking at how we can try to be more aggressive than other communities,” Heinrich said.

Both City and County staff would be reduced to essential services, including police and fire protection and public transit.

“Please, let’s pull together and take care of each other,” Rhodes-Conway said.