Public health officials increase capacity limits for all Dane County, Madison businesses

MADISON, Wis. — Public health officials in Dane County are issuing a new public health order, greatly easing capacity limits for every business in the county starting next week.

Public Health Madison and Dane County’s Emergency Order #16 will take effect on May 5th and run through June 2nd. Health data shows Dane County continues to be a leader in vaccinations and that supply remains high for providers in the region.

“Because our COVID-19 vaccination rates are among the highest in the state and the number of cases we’ve seen each day have stabilized, we are increasing gathering and capacity limits for all businesses,” said PHMDC Director Janel Heinrich said Thursday. “Although more spaces are opening, people should still participate in activities based on their comfort with risks, because although we are making progress, we aren’t out of the woods yet.”

Among the changes in the new order are:

  • Capacity limits for indoor gatherings with food and drink increase from 150 to 350.
  • Capacity limits for indoor gatherings without food and drink increase from 350 to 500.
  • No official limits on outdoor gatherings as long as people have the space to maintain 6 feet of distancing from people not in their household.
  • Restaurants and bars are allowed 75% indoor capacity with physical distancing, up from 50% capacity for restaurants and 25% for bars.
  • Businesses are allowed 75% indoor capacity, up from 50%.
  • Masks are not required when actively playing an instrument that has a bell cover, as long as people are six feet apart.

The previous order issued earlier this month removed mask requirements outdoors and removed gathering limits for outdoor events. Restaurants were still limited to 50% dine-in capacity, while bars and taverns were limited to 25% capacity. That order was set to expire on May 5th.

“This is latest order is fueled by cautious optimism about these promising improvements in COVID activity and increased vaccination coverage while continuing a steady, phased approach to reopening,” Heinrich said.

You can read the full order below. A full list of previous orders is available on PHMDC’s website.