This morning, Public Health Madison and Dane County announced several new restrictions on bars and restaurants. The new measures limit indoor dining at restaurants to a quarter of maximum capacity and limit bars to exclusively outdoor dining and take out.
The new measures also limit indoor gatherings to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 25.
Since June 13th, half of the positive coronavirus cases in Dane County have been between the ages of 18-29, reports the Associated Press. The average age of COVID-19 patients in Dane County is now 23.
At a press conference earlier today, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway attributed the recent outbreaks to local bars.
“It is clear that alcohol and Coronavirus do not mix,” she said. “People don’t make responsible decisions when crowding into a bar or partying on a Saturday night. That’s why the new public health orders are so important.”
At today’s press conference, Public Health Madison Dane County Director Janel Heinrich said only a dozen of Dane County’s nearly 2000 positive Coronavirus cases have been traced to recent protests against police brutality.
The new restrictions come just one week after county health officials amended Phase Two of the Forward Dane plan. Those amendments limited indoor bar and restaurant capacities to half of maximum capacity.
Heinrich says if rates continue with the new restrictions in place , county officials will consider more options.
“We will return to more restrictive measures if we continue on this path. We have developed criteria to help us determine when we need to adjust course to tighter orders, these are called rebound criteria.”
Last month, several alders and county supervisors expressed concern over the Forward Dane plan. They said that the reopening guidelines for Forward Dane would result in a case rate rebound, and that the plan didn’t provide guidelines for how to go back a phase if cases began to spike.
(Photo c/o Mayor of Madison’s Office)