Dane Co. officials ban indoor gatherings, limit outdoor gatherings to 10 people

MADISON, Wis. — Dane County leaders announced a series of new restrictions and precautions Tuesday to combat the coronavirus that continues to surge throughout the state.

The new public health order bans indoor mass gatherings and limits outdoor gatherings to no more than 10 people.

According to PHMDC’s website, in-person games, sports, group exercise classes, movies, conferences, and similar events are all considered mass gatherings.

The order goes into effect Wednesday at 12:01 a.m. and will remain in effect until Dec. 16 at 12:01 a.m.

“We toss and turn at night thinking about what could happen to our friends, neighbors and loved ones who are at severe risk for COVID illness as well as our loved ones with other health problems who might not get the best or quickest care,” Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County Janel Heinrich said. “We are afraid of how much worse this could get if these trends continue.”

The new limits come in the midst of a major surge in coronavirus cases in Wisconsin. On Monday the state’s positive percentage of new COVID-19 tests reached a record high. As of Monday afternoon state and county health officials had confirmed 317,820* confirmed cases of the coronavirus. More than 70,000, or 22.2% of those cases are still active.

“We know that many of the people that we want to spend time with are very vulnerable to the virus,” Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said. “And we want our loved ones to be around not for just this one holiday but for all the holidays and special occasions of our lives.”

Under Emergency Order #10, most businesses will be limited to 50% capacity. Restaurants will be limited to 25% capacity for indoor seating and indoor seating at bars will not be allowed. Those changes were initially put in place under Emergency Order #9.

Gyms and hair salons will be allowed to remain open, but they must follow the 50% capacity rule. Church services are allowed as long as they follow capacity limits.

Violation of the emergency order could result in a $1,000 fine, according to the City of Madison.

*News 3 Now uses data from DHS and county dashboards to calculate daily cases and deaths. DHS posts new numbers daily at 2 p.m., and our newsroom continues to update our totals throughout the day with additional cases that individual counties report. By using a combination of state and county data, News 3 Now is dedicated to providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date COVID-19 coverage.