Dane County will move into Phase 2 of reopening June 15 after meeting criteria outlined in Foward Dane, a phased reopening plan for the county in face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Public Health Madison & Dane County announced Friday.

The new order will go into effect 8 a.m. this coming Monday. Businesses, including restaurants, gyms and retail stores, can operate at 50% capacity with certain public health requirements and physical distancing. The new order also permits indoor gatherings of up to 50 people, and outdoor get-togethers of 100 people or below with physical distancing in place, according to the press release.

Currently under Phase 1, businesses can operate at 25% capacity. With physical distancing, indoor and outdoor gatherings are limited to ten and 50 people respectively, according to Forward Dane.  

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PMHDC said they used real-time, data-based metrics to guide the reopening process for the county. To move to Phase 2, the organization tracked two full weeks of Phase 1 data (May 26 through June 9). With six out of the nine metrics cleared and the number of cases still below the epidemiology criteria, PHMDC issued the order to transit to Phase 2, according to the press release. 

Director of PHMDC Janel Heinrich said in the release while the county transitions to the new phase, it’s important for the community to stay cautious.

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

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There is no set ending date for Phase 2, according to PHMDC. The phase will last for a minimum of two weeks, and the decision to move to Phase 3 depends on the metric criteria outlined in Forward Dane.

Since May 21, there has been an increase in the daily average number of new cases from eight to 16, according to PHMDC. Although the number is still below the “red” threshold of 20 cases per day, City of Madison Mayor Rhodes-Conway emphasized risk reduction.

“With these trends, we’re reminded that while the phase has changed, the virus still hasn’t,” Rhodes-Conway said. “The virus is still as infectious and dangerous as it has always been … Remember that the actions you take affect others.”