Date Set for Milwaukee to Return to a ‘Version of Normal’

Expect fewer restrictions and more recommendations as we inch closer to normalcy.

The City of Milwaukee will loosen its COVID-19 health order restrictions on June 15, officials announced on Thursday morning.

“Based on the science and evidence we have followed and learned from since day one, many of our restrictions will no longer be necessary,” Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson said. “This means limits on gathering size and occupancy will be lifted for businesses and events, although we recommend physical distancing whenever possible.”

Events hosted after June 15 won’t need to submit a safety plan, Johnson added.


RELATED: What Will Milwaukee’s Post-Pandemic Normal Look Like?


However, mask wearing will continue to be enforced indoors and the city will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for outdoors.

“We will still strongly urge the public to continue to follow the safety guidelines that have gotten us to this place,” Mayor Tom Barrett said. “But during a year of personal and economic sacrifice, it is a reason to celebrate. We have an opportunity to return to a version of normal.”

 

 

Barrett stressed the next phase of the recovery from the pandemic puts an added emphasis on vaccinations, which he said is the key to being able to continue moving forward.

“I want to be clear. This does not mean that the pandemic is over,” Barrett said. “We all know that. The pandemic is not even close to being over. All you have to do is look around the world to see that the pandemic is still raging.”

The Health Department will continue to track COVID-19 cases.

“We will continue to watch our indicators very closely,” Johnson said. “We will continue to track all the data. The pandemic is not over. We are moving to the next phase and moving forward, but if at any point it starts to look like what occurred last fall, we will have to put restrictions back in place.”

Health officials have reached a point where they are recognizing that COVID-19 is going to continue to exist in the population, Johnson stressed.

“It’s going to be endemic,” she said.

Although the city is essentially moving out of the Phase 6 portion of its public health orders, Johnson said the phase categories will be removed from the department’s website as of June 15.

“We are really moving [away] from restrictions to recommendations,” she said.

COVID-19 numbers in the city began plateauing several weeks ago and have dropped dramatically over the past two weeks, Johnson said. The number of cases stood at 113 per 100,000 people one week ago to 82 per 100,000 as of Thursday, while the positivity rate for testing stands at 4 percent, she noted.

Barrett offered a message for the public.

“I know that this past year has been difficult for everyone,” Barrett said. “Lives have been lost and disrupted. Personal and economic consequences have been severe. But because of everything you did, we are moving in the right direction.”

The Milwaukee Brewers also announced Thursday that American Family Field will return to 100% capacity for games starting on June 25 when the team returns from a seven-game road trip to open a three-game home series against the Colorado Rockies.
 
“This is great news for our fans and our community,” Brewers President of Business Operations Rick Schlesinger said.
 
Effective Thursday, season and partial season packages (10-or-more games) are available by calling 414-902-4487.

Currently, single-game tickets are available for games scheduled through May 27. The Brewers will announce on Friday details about single-game ticket availability and the promotional schedule for all remaining home games from May 31 through Sept. 26.

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Rich Rovito is a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine.