Dane Co. reopening plan moves into Phase 2 on Monday

Published: Jun. 12, 2020 at 1:56 PM CDT
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Health officials in Dane County have determined the county is ready to move into the second phase of its plan to allow larger gatherings and increase the maximum capacity at most businesses.

On Friday, Public Health Madison Dane County announced it will move into Phase 2 of its “Forward Dane” coronavirus recovery plan Monday, June 15 at 8 a.m. The announcement comes a little more than two weeks after the first phase was implemented, a delay that was required by the plan.

“Businesses and workplaces are reopening with required measures to help contain the spread of disease, but COVID-19 is very much still in our community,” Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County Janel Heinrich said.

According to PHMDC, Phase 2 will allow:

  • Reopening all businesses—such as restaurants, gyms, and retail establishments—to 50% capacity with certain public health requirements and physical distancing
  • Indoor gatherings at 50 people or fewer are allowed, with physical distancing
  • Outdoor gatherings of 100 or fewer are allowed, with physical distancing
  • Park courts and fields are open, individuals must maintain physical distancing
  • Sports activities have updated requirements
  • Playgrounds and splash pads are open, with physical distancing
  • Childcare, youth settings, and schools have updated requirements

PHMDC notes that during that two-week span since Phase 1 went into effect the average number of new cases per day have doubled to 16. In fact, in the eight days between Thursday, June 4, and Thursday, June 11, more than 120 new cases were reported in the county.

“We need our community to remain vigilant and careful as we move to new phases so we don’t see a spike in cases,”

Even with that increase, the average remains below what

for the “Forward Dane” program requires for the second phase to go into effect. However, it is close to the red-level that would have prevented the current restrictions from being eased.

To move to Phase 2, none of the color-coded categories classified as Epidemiology are allowed to be in the red and at least half of them must meet the criteria to be green. Currently, six of the nine are meet those standards, while three remain in the middle, yellow rating. Dane Co. met those Phase 2 criteria ever since health officials announced the implementation of the first phase.

“With these trends, we’re reminded that while the phase has changed, the virus still hasn’t. The virus is still as infectious and dangerous as it has always been,” City of Madison Mayor Rhodes-Conway said.

While the county had met the requirements for Phase 2 early, officials say the county still has not reached the standards set for Phase 3. However, the metrics portion appear to have been met.

PHMDC has not clarified if the county could revert to a lower phase should a currently met hurdle should no longer be cleared.