Rock County fully reopens for the first time in over a year

Businesses can reopen and operate at 100% capacity
Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 7:09 PM CDT
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BELOIT, Wis. (WIFR) - Rock County can go maskless for the first time in over a year.

The Rock County Health Department (RCHD) reached its decision after careful consideration of the area’s COVID-19 statistics. In the past months, RCHD reported a vast increase in positive COVID-19 cases, including a drop in the seven-day positivity rate. 170 new cases in November 2020 dropped to about eight new cases in January 2021.

Fewer cases also meant lower hospitalization rates. RCHD said as many as 70 patients were hospitalized due to COVID-19 at the height of the pandemic. Currently, anywhere between eight and 15 patients receive treatment. The vaccination rate slowly increased in the county since its approval.

The lifted restrictions mean that local businesses such as Lucy’s #7 in Beloit can once again see a packed dining room.

“It feels different, but good,” said General Manager Emily Hopper. “We’re able to be at 100% capacity now, bring in the tables and chairs we had already taken out, and bring back the customers we were losing for a while there because we were on such a long wait and we didn’t have the space to accommodate them.”

“While some of the community agrees with Rock County’s decision and move to life before the pandemic, there are some residents who think it’s not the best option.”

“My wife and I have been vaccinated since early in the year and while those who have been vaccinated it gives us a sense of peace, our children are not vaccinated because of course they are still too young,” said parent/resident Daniel Barolsky. “I know that the rates are such that there are far to many people walking around for reasons that I quite frankly don’t understand haven’t gotten vaccinated.”

But, Dianne Melby will return to some of her favorite activities.

“Travel and go to baseball games I’ve scheduled a game in St. Louis and I’ll go to games in Florida,” said Melby.

COVID-19 isn’t gone for good, but officials say it was the right time to make this move.

“We are very optimistic that the trends and disease will continue to remain low but we do still have the virus in the community but we are at a place where we can reopen,” said RCHD Health Officer Katrina Harwood.

Despite discontinuing its reopening plan, RCHD reminds the community that those who are unvaccinated should still follow CDC guidelines such as wearing masks and maintain social distancing.

RCHD will continue to monitor the trends of COVID-19 in the area every two weeks and make adjustments if necessary.

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