Dane Co. health officials issue new order removing mask requirement outdoors

MADISON, Wis. — People in Dane County will no longer be required to wear a mask outdoors when in public, according to a new public health order released Friday.

Among other provisions, Emergency Order #15 removes the outdoor face covering requirement, removes limits on outdoor gatherings, and updates some industry-specific requirements.

Health officials say a steadying trend in new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, along with the availability of vaccinations, has allowed them to take continued steps toward reopening the county.

The new order will take effect on Wednesday, April 7 and run through May 5. The previous emergency order was issued on March 2nd and was set to expire on April 7th.

More specific provisions in the new order include:

Face coverings

As mentioned, face coverings will no longer be required in outdoor settings, but anyone over the age of 5 will still be required in any enclosed building outside of your home, while you’re in line to enter any enclosed building, or driving or riding in a vehicle with someone who isn’t a member of your household.

Gathering Limits

Indoor gathering limits from the previous order still stand, meaning a maximum of 150 people when food and drinks are being served, or 350 people when food and drinks are not being served. As mentioned, there is no longer a maximum number of people allowed for outdoor gatherings, as long as people not from the same household stay six feet apart.

Restaurants and Taverns

No changes from Emergency Order #14, meaning restaurants are still limited to 50% dine-in capacity, while bars and taverns are limited to 25% capacity. Outdoor seating is allowed for both.


Gyms and fitness centers will continue to be limited to 50% capacity and space equipment out six feet apart when possible. Excercise classes can be offered if people are spaced six feet apart.

Religious Entities and Groups

Groups organized and operated for a religious purpose continue to be exempt from gathering limits for religious services and practices.

The entire emergency order can be seen here.