New Dane Co. health order prohibits indoor gatherings of any size

Public Health Madison and Dane County issued on Tuesday, Nov. 17 an emergency order which prohibits indoor gatherings of any size. Outdoor gatherings are permitted with 10 people or less, with physical distancing.  

Officials say this order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County, issued the following statement in a news release:

"This virus does not spread on its own. We spread it. Every gathering – no matter the size – is an opportunity for disease spread and prolongs the pandemic. We are hopeful that with the community's cooperation, we can bring our numbers down and avoid more hospitalizations and deaths."

In-person games, sports, competitions, group exercise classes, meetings, trainings, movies, events, and conferences are all considered mass gatherings. Indoor mass gatherings of any people who do not live together are prohibited. Outdoor mass gatherings are limited to 10 people who do not live together, with physical distancing. The previous limit for gatherings was 10 indoors and 25 outdoors, with physical distancing.

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This emergency order is in effect until 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 16 -- \and continues to require face coverings and limit the capacity for most businesses to 50%, along with many other provisions.

Right now, Dane County is averaging 433 cases per day over a 7-day period, which is more than double the number of cases from a month ago.

The county and City of Madison may issue a fine of up to $1,000 for every violation of the health order, plus court costs. As a result, anyone hosting a gathering could see significant penalties.

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