Larger gatherings, dance floors allowed under Milwaukee’s new order

Gating criteria updated

Hand sanitizer stations and signage is visible throughout the property.

Last updated on March 23rd, 2021 at 01:38 pm

The city of Milwaukee on Friday will implement a new public health order, easing restrictions on gatherings, museums, and bars and restaurants, as the level of COVID-19 transmission improves.

Beginning Friday, indoor gatherings are limited to the lesser of 75% total capacity or one person for every 30 square feet. Gatherings larger than 750 people, in addition to employees or contractors, are permitted with a safety plan approved by the city. Outdoor gatherings exceeding 1,000 people also require an approved safety plan.

Under the city’s previous order 4.4, which has been in place for the past six weeks, gatherings were capped at 25%.

Bars and restaurants without city-approved safety plans are subject to a 50% limit on total capacity. Establishments with safety plans are exempt from the city’s capacity limit, but must continue to comply with their own protocols.

Proper physical distancing and mask wearing are still required at gatherings, restaurants and bars, but patrons are no longer required to remain seated at all times as was the case under order 4.4.

“Seating must be provided and encouraged for all customers, however movement throughout the establishment is permitted,” according to the updated order.

Patrons must remained seated while eating or drinking. Dance floors are also allowed, so long as individuals remain masked.

Museums may operate at an indoor capacity of up to 100%, or a maximum 1,000 individuals, with physical distancing and mask wearing requirements.

“The Phase 6 order reflects several COVID-19 trends including the reduced presence of the disease in Milwaukee and the lower percentage of positive COVID-19 test results,” said Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson. “While we are taking a step forward, we are doing that cautiously because COVID-19 is still a dangerous threat in our city.”

The city also announced updates to the gating criteria used to establish the level of restrictions in the city’s public health order. They formerly included things such as hospital bed usage, contact tracing, and personal protective equipment availability. The criteria are being updated and simplified to include measures such as the number of cases per 100,000 people and vaccination rates, according to a news release.

Phase 6 is considered ‘moderate transmission,’ characterized by a rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 over 7 days in the range of 10 to 49. On Tuesday, the city’s seven-day average was 38.

The rate of new COVID-19 cases in Milwaukee has trended downward since the peak in early November. At its height, the city reported 1,028 new cases on Nov. 9. On Tuesday, March 16, the city had 9 new cases.

Read the March 8 issue of BizTimes Milwaukee here:

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer covers restaurants, retail, tourism, and sports and entertainment. She joined BizTimes in 2015, previously as an intern reporter. She earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University in 2017. When she's not on the job, Maredithe coaches field hockey and loves exploring her favorite city on earth, Milwaukee.

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