Public Health Madison & Dane County said they will not require face coverings in public indoor spaces starting March 1 at 12 a.m.
This new order comes in light of decreasing COVID-19 case and hospitalization rates, PHMDC said. The order does not impact the federal mandate for face coverings on public transport such as city buses, Ubers and Lyfts, which has been extended through March 18, 2022.
PHMDC Director Janel Heinrich said it is important to stay up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines to prevent severe infections, hospitalizations or death due to COVID-19.
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“Letting the face covering order expire doesn’t mean that the pandemic is over,” Heinrich said in the press release. “Rather, it signals that we have made it through the Omicron surge and are entering a new stage of the pandemic.”
Dane County’s mask mandate expires the same day as the University of Wisconsin’s mask requirement. UW spokesperson Meredith McGlone said in a statement to The Badger Herald the university’s mask mandate will remain in effect through March 1.
McGlone said the university will announce by the end of February whether the mask requirement on campus will continue.
“University leaders continue to consult with campus and other public health experts and monitor COVID-19 case trends on and off campus,” McGlone said in the statement.
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As of Feb. 7, 95.1% of students and 96.4% of employees were vaccinated. McGlone said data about how many students and faculty members have booster shots is not yet available, but the university is currently processing those records.
According to the COVID-19 dashboard, the seven-day average for positive COVID-19 cases among students has been between 32.4 and 42.3 cases since Jan. 23. All daily-reported cases since the start of the semester have been less than the Jan. 4 high of 135 positive cases.
This story was updated Feb. 14 at 3:00 p.m. to add a statement from UW spokesperson Meredith McGlone and campus-related COVID-19 data.