City, county leaders ban mass gatherings of more than 50 people, impose other public health measures


MADISON, Wis. — City and county leaders announced Sunday that mass gatherings of more than 50 people are banned and schools are closed effective immediately to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“We are asking everyone in the City of Madison and Dane County to be respectful and kind and practice social distancing,” Rhodes-Conway said. “What we need everyone to do, if they choose to go out or they need to go out into the community, is to practice social distancing.”

In addition to the limits on mass gatherings, officials have announced that restaurants and some other businesses must reduce their seating capacity by 50%. Grocery stores are exempt from the order. Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said child care facilities are exempt from the order, but those places typically follow the decisions of their school district.

A full list of the public health orders can be found here.

“This is going to be a long term thing,” Mayor Rhodes-Conway said. “This is not something that is going to be over in a week or two.”

Janel Heinrich, the director of Public Health Madison & Dane County said that people or businesses who do not follow the public health orders may face citations and/or imprisonment as a result.

County Executive Joe Parisi also stressed the importance of community collaboration while fighting the spread of the pandemic. Younger people may not be as susceptible to the disease compared to people with compromised immune systems, but they can still act as vectors that spread the disease to potentially vulnerable groups.

“Even if you’re 20 years old, you can get the coronavirus. You can get sick, but as importantly you can become a carrier who can transmit that to others,” Parisi said. “It could be others who are more vulnerable.”

Anyone who thinks they may have the coronavirus is asked to follow the CDC’s guidelines.

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