Dane County moves into Phase 1 of reopening plan beginning Tuesday

No end date for Phase 1 yet

MADISON, Wis. — Dane County will enter Phase 1 of its plan to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic starting next week, county health officials said Friday.

Public Health Madison and Dane County said the first phase of its Forward Dane plan will begin at 8 a.m. Tuesday.  Officials said the decision is based on monitoring of the data-based metrics outlined in the plan

Earlier this week, PHMDC released details on Forward Dane.

Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County Janel Heinrich said the agency released Forward Dane so everyone in the community could see the requirements that needed to be met in order to continue opening businesses, while still balancing the health and safety of county residents.

“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,” Heinrich said.

Phase 1 includes:

  • 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 are allowed, with physical distancing
  • Indoor gatherings at private residence of 10 people or fewer are allowed, with physical distancing
  • Outdoor gatherings of 50 or fewer are allowed, with physical distancing
  • Select businesses and activities with high risk for disease transmission are still closed
  • Park courts and fields are open, individuals must maintain physical distancing

“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 in the release.

City of Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said the basics of staying safe during the pandemic are still true during Phase 1.

“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” Rhodes-Conway said in the release. “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.”

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, PHMDC said. If criteria are met, the department 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.”

Businesses and workspaces are enacting measures to help keep us safe, but no matter where you go, there is still a possibility of coming in contact with the virus.

Community members need to remain vigilant and follow public health recommendations to protect themselves and each other:

  • Remember to physically distance from people you don’t live with by staying 6 feet away
  • Wear a cloth face covering if you go out in public
  • Continue to follow everyday prevention measures:
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
    • Stay home when you are sick
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Stay home as much as possible, especially if you are a person at higher risk for severe illness 

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