Dane County to lift all COVID orders June 2 thanks to ‘extremely high’ vaccination rate

Dane County lifting all restrictions on June 2 is a “major milestone” for businesses, says Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce President Zach Brandon.

All mask requirements and gathering and capacity limits will be lifted June 2, Public Health Madison & Dane County announced yesterday.

“This is especially encouraging news for Dane County businesses, who have been doing their part through improved health and safety protocols, workspace upgrades and encouraging their employees to get vaccinated,” Brandon said. “Their efforts are a significant reason why Dane County is seeing its lowest case counts in months and becoming a state and national leader in vaccination rate.”

Dane County leads the state with more than 63 percent of its residents having started a vaccination series. It ranks No. 2 for residents fully vaccinated at 53.6 percent.

“This extremely high number allows us to make the decision … to lift our orders on June 2, when we estimate that 75% of those eligible for vaccine will have received their first dose,” said PHMDC Director Janel Heinrich. 

But because not everyone is able to get the COVID-19 shot, particular kids younger than 12, Heinrich says unvaccinated people should continue to wear masks in public spaces. When the orders expire, masking requirements will become recommendations and individual businesses and organizations may choose to enforce their own policies.

“This decision is an extraordinary step in the right direction and further evidence that vaccines are safe and effective against COVID-19,” Brandon said. “We appreciate Public Health following the science and the data and continuing to align these decisions with CDC guidance while also giving businesses time to prepare for full reopening.”

In about a week since 12-15 year olds became eligible to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, nearly 20 percent have gotten their first dose. 

“This two-week window gives 12- to 15-year-olds more time to get vaccinated before all orders are lifted,” said Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. “I encourage all vaccinators, not just Public Health, to continue to prioritize vaccine equity and continue to outreach to and visit those communities who have been most affected by COVID-19.”

The county’s Black residents make up 5.5 percent of the population but only 2.6 percent of those fully vaccinated. More than 28 percent of Black Dane County residents have at least started a COVID-19 vaccine series, which is ahead of the state average of nearly 22 percent.

After June 2, PHMDC strongly recommends that school and youth settings continue to require masks in indoor settings, as outlined in the latest CDC guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html 

-By Stephanie Hoff