Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce: PHMDC loosens gathering limits

Today, Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) issued a new order that loosens restrictions on mass gatherings, limiting indoor gatherings to 10 people with masks and physical distancing and outdoor gatherings to 25 people with physical distancing. The new order takes effect tomorrow (Dec. 16) at 12:01 a.m. and remains in effect until Jan. 13 at 12:01 a.m.

PHMDC officials will be our guests on this week’s Lunch(UP)date (presented by Perkins Coie) to answer questions about how the new order will impact business. Register for Thursday’s event here and submit your questions for Public Health or the Chamber to [email protected].

Under the new order, a “mass gathering” is once again defined as “a planned event such as a concert, festival, meeting, training, conference, performance, show, sporting event, or party. Individuals that are members of the same household or living unit do not count towards the Mass Gathering numbers in their own household or living unit.”

We are continuing to analyze the order line by line and will address any further changes during Thursday’s Lunch(UP)date. Upon our initial reading of the order, additional provisions include:

— Capacity for most businesses remains limited to 50 percent, and the existing face covering order is still in effect.

— Indoor dine-in capacity for restaurants remains at 25 percent (though individual tables are no longer limited to six people, as long as everyone at the table is from the same household or living unit). Outdoor restaurant seating is still allowed, with physical distancing.

— Customers still may enter taverns only for the purposes of ordering, pick-up and payment of food or beverage or while in transit.

— Gyms are still allowed to open to 50 percent capacity, but saunas and steam rooms must remain closed.

— Group exercise classes may only be offered if physical distancing can be maintained at all times and there is no person-to-person contact. Indoor group classes are limited to 10 or fewer people. Outdoor group exercise classes are limited to 25 people who do not live together, with physical distancing.

Chamber staff met last week with PHMDC leadership to share topline results from our recent business survey, reiterate concerns about using data to drive decision-making and emphasize the need for a strong public-private partnership to accelerate our economic recovery, particularly for small businesses. Maximizing these opportunities for collaboration are critical to maintaining an equilibrium among health, the economy and public confidence.

Read all of Emergency Order #11 here.

For key differences between Order #10 and Order #11, click here.