Dane County is moving to Phase 2 of its COVID-19 reopening.

A release Friday June 12 from Public Health Madison & Dane County said the change will go into effect at 8 a.m. Monday June 15.

The changes effective Monday under the county's Forward Dane reopening plan will include:

· Reopening all businesses — such as restaurants, gyms, and retail establishments — at 50% capacity with 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, with individual physical distancing.

· Sports activities have updated requirements.

· Playgrounds and splash pads are open, with physical distancing.

· Childcare, youth settings, and schools have updated requirements.

To move to Phase 2, public health officials had said that based on two weeks of data (May 26 through June 9), more than half of certain metrics needed to be green, and no epidemiology criteria (percent positive tests and cases per day) could be red. As of Friday June 12, 6 measures were green and 3 were yellow.

Dane County will be in Phase 2 for at least two weeks. In order to move to Phase 3, the county needs two full weeks of data (June 15-28) and a few days afterwards to compile the data from that time period. Additionally, more than half of metrics must be green, and no metrics in Dane County nor in south-central Wisconsin can be red. Based on June 12 metrics, the county would not meet the criteria to move to Phase 3, the release said.

“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,” Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County, said in the release

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

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said he was “proud of the work of our public health department and believe that the Forward Dane plan is a sound approach that is based in science and data."

"It can be easy to criticize from the sidelines, but the reality is that Public Health Madison & Dane County have been leaders in the state from the start, and I have no doubt that their actions have prevented illness and death in our community. We should all continue to support this measured approach," Parisi said.

The release stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic remains ongoing, and that while the county is moving to Phase 2, “it’s important to note there are some trends we are closely monitoring.”

Since May 21, the county has seen an increase in average number of new cases per day move from 8 to 16. While still below the “red” threshold of cases per day, this trend is moving closer to red, the release said.

“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,” Madison Mayor Rhodes-Conway said.“We want to stress risk reduction: doing things to minimize your risk while we work back towards normalcy. Remember that the actions you take affect others.”

Risk reduction strategies include:

· Limiting your bubble. Consider how many people you are seeing day to day. The more people you socialize with, the greater the chance you will be exposed or will expose others. By limiting your social circle to less people, you will lower your risk and the risk of others.

· Minimizing trips out. Plan ahead so you can get all the things you need at once. Use online ordering or curbside pickup for lower risk options.

· Gathering outside instead of inside. Don’t forget to physically distance yourself and wear a cloth face covering too.

· Continuing to participate virtually. Work from home if possible and attend events, services, and performances virtually.

· Getting tested if you need it. The Alliant Energy Center community test site remains open Monday through Saturdays. See our website for details.

· Continuing to maintain prevention measures. Stay home when you’re sick or feel off, stay six feet from people you don’t live with, wear a face covering when you can’t maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow, and wash your hands and use hand sanitizer often.

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