Businesses in Dane County began the process of reopening Tuesday, May 26.

Based on active monitoring of the data-based metrics outlined in Forward Dane, a phased reopening plan for Dane County during the COVID-19 pandemic, an order was issued that moved Dane County into Phase 1 of the reopening plan.

“We released Forward Dane so everyone in the community could see the requirements that needed to be met for us to continue opening businesses, while still balancing the health and safety of our residents,” said Janel Heinrich, director of Public Health Madison & Dane County.

“We are receiving hundreds of test results each day and have analyzed additional data from the community testing site at the Alliant Energy Center. We feel confident that our county can take the next step in the reopening process at this time.”

Phase 1 includes:

– Reopening all businesses such as restaurants, gyms, and retail establishment to 25 percent capacity with certain public health requirements and physical distancing.

– Indoor gatherings at commercial facilities of 50 people or fewer are allowed, with physical distancing.

– Indoor gatherings at private residence of 10 people or fewer are allowed, with physical distancing.

– Outdoor gatherings of 50 or fewer are allowed, with physical distancing.

– Select businesses and activities with high risk for disease transmission are still closed.

– Park courts and fields are open, individuals must maintain physical distancing.

“While we know that many businesses, and their customers, are eager for reopening and getting back to providing services, we want to stress that if a business doesn’t feel ready for an open date of May 26, they should wait until they are comfortable and have all their systems in place to open,” Heinrich said.

As outlined in the Forward Dane plan, certain data criteria must be met to move forward through the phases. Dane County will remain in Phase 1 for a minimum of 14 days. If criteria are met, Public Health will issue a Phase 2 order. If criteria are not met, they will be reassessed at regular intervals.

“It’s important to note that there is no end date for Phase 1 as of right now,” said Heinrich. “We’re looking at an absolute minimum of 14 days in that phase, but the reality is that we could be in it for longer.”

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