With more than 200 new coronavirus cases being confirmed every day — ten times the number needed to move to the next phase of the “Forward Dane” reopening plan — Public Health Madison Dane County today announced that it had sent letters to all licensed establishments in Madison warning of increased fines for those that don’t comply with the current emergency order limiting capacity to 25 percent.
1/2: On September 14th, we sent a letter to licensed establishments in Madison to inform them of the possibility of increased fines if they do not comply with public health orders. pic.twitter.com/POCRIG6PNz
— @publichealthmdc (@PublicHealthMDC) September 15, 2020
“Our mission has always been to educate first, and enforce as a last resort,” A blog posted Monday afternoon quotes Doug Voegeli, PHMDC Director of Environmental Health at Public Health Madison & Dane County, said in a blog post Monday. “However, we are unfortunately seeing an increase of complaints related to restaurants and taverns exceeding capacity limits, not following face covering requirements, and other violations.”
As a result of those complaints, PHMDC will work with Madison Police and shift to enforcement.
Current ordinance allows for a $1,000 fine per violation — meaning a potential for a $1,000 fine for each person in an establishment beyond the 25 percent capacity.
The blog post contains an example: “An establishment with an occupancy capacity of 100 is required under the Order to limit indoor capacity to 25%, which is 25 people. Thus, if this establishment is found to have 100 people inside, they face a potential forfeiture of $75,000 plus court costs and fees.”
Additionally, establishments could lose liquor licenses, PHMDC said.
The current emergency order lists the following requirements of businesses:
- For restaurants, 25% indoor capacity
- For bars, patrons inside only for the purposes of ordering, pick-up, and payment of food and beverage, or while in transit
- Face coverings properly worn by employees
- Seating spaced at least six feet apart
- Written and implemented hygiene policy and procedure
- Written and implemented cleaning policy and procedure
- Written and implemented protective measure policy and procedure
- Documented staff receipt, acknowledgement, or training on the policies
- Post “Workplace requirements for employers and workers”
- Post PHMDC’s “Masks required” sign (or a similar sign)