Indoor mask mandate returns to Madison & Dane Co.

The mandate will go into effect on Thursday.
Current understanding about how the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)...
Current understanding about how the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) spreads is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a new disease and there is more to learn about how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States.(CDC)
Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 7:27 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2021 at 12:35 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Dane Co. health officials have re-imposed an indoor mask mandate for the entire county, including Madison.

The new order covers everyone over the age of two-years-old. They will be required to wear a face covering or mask when in an enclosed building with other people who are not members of their household or living unit.

It will go into effect on Thursday.

Public Health Madison and Dane Co. is also asking businesses to post signs reminding customers of the new mandate.

“We still believe vaccines are our best tool to protect our community,” Director Janel Heinrich said. “But as cases continue to increase, requiring face coverings is an easy added layer of protection to further help keep people safe, including our youngest children not yet eligible to be vaccinated.”

The order will remain in effect until September 16th.

In addition to the new requirement, health officials continue to recommend everyone wear masks at private gatherings and outdoor gatherings.

The order comes as the Delta coronavirus variant spreads rapidly across Dane County, health officials will meet Tuesday to address the measures they are taking against it. On Tuesday, health officials pointed out that just less than a month ago, on July 19, the seven-day rolling average in Dane Co. had dropped to 19 cases per day. Since then, that number has nearly quintupled to 91.6 cases per day over the preceding week.

PHMDC announced on Aug. 3 that it would be requiring all city and county employees to be vaccinated or take weekly COVID-19 tests. Officials noted that the mandate applies to remote workers as well. Those who do not comply with the vaccine regulation would be considered to have committed a “work-rule violation,” though, no specific repercussions for the violation were stated.

It was announced just a day later that all state employees and contractor staff would be required to wear masks inside state facilities.

“Vaccination continues to be our best path out of the pandemic,” said Jerry Halverson, MD, Chair of the Board of Health. “As variants create new challenges for our county moving forward, now is the time we must bring it home and get vaccinated.”

Dane County school districts including Madison Metropolitan School District, Verona Area School District and Sun Prairie Area School District have all announced they would mandate mask-wearing indoors, as well as on school buses.

Coronavirus cases continue to soar in Wisconsin, Dane Co.

Dane County moved into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most severe category of COVID-19 transmission almost two weeks ago. It has remained there ever since.

The COVID-19 community transmission map shows not only Dane County is in ‘high’ levels of community transmission, but all of south central Wisconsin.

Under the agency’s advisory, anyone, regardless of their vaccination status, in a county rating as having a ‘high’ community transmission level or that fell into the less severe ‘substantial’ ranking should wear a mask when at indoor public locations or when attending indoor private gatherings.

On Monday, the Department of Health Services noted the seven-day rolling average had surpassed 1,200, marking the first time that has happened since February. One hundred and seventy-one cases were confirmed in Dane County on Monday, according to PHMDC’s dashboard.

Businesses requiring masks, vaccinations

The Alliant Energy Center announced Monday that it will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for all of its indoor ticketed Coliseum events. Those who attend events will need to show their vaccination card, a picture of the card or a copy of their state immunization registry. Guests must be fully vaccinated.

Anyone who is ineligible for the vaccine due to their age should provide a copy of a negative COVID-19 and wear a mask inside the Coliseum.

While not a vaccine mandate, almost 20 Madison restaurants that make up the Food Fight Restaurant Group announced earlier this month that they would be requiring their staff and all customers to wear masks inside their establishments.

Customers only need to wear them when they are not seated at their tables.

The restaurants that make up Food Fight Restaurant Group are:

  • Aldo’s Cafe
  • Bar Corallini
  • Bassett Street Brunch Club
  • Canteen
  • Cento
  • The Coopers Tavern
  • Craftsman Table and Tap
  • DLUX
  • Eldorado Grill
  • Everly
  • Fresco
  • Hubbard Ave. Diner
  • Johnny Delmonico’s Steakhouse
  • Luigi’s Pizza
  • Market Street Diner
  • Miko Poke
  • Monty’s Blue Plate Diner
  • Steenbock’s on Orchard
  • Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace
Explainer image of the new mandate provided by county health officials.
Explainer image of the new mandate provided by county health officials.(Public Health Madison & Dane Co.)

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