What You Need to Know About Milwaukee’s New Stricter Restrictions

The maximum number for indoor events is down to 10, and for outdoor events it’s 25.

The Milwaukee Health Department is revising its COVID-19 orders, placing tighter restrictions on gatherings, bars and restaurants, sports and activities in an effort to control the spread of the disease. 

The new restrictions go into effect on Thursday.

“As we evaluate the metrics the Milwaukee Health Department monitors, it is clear we have entered a more dangerous period of COVID-19 infections,” Interim Health Commissioner Marlaina Jackson said. “It is important that we take additional steps to protect the people of Milwaukee.” 

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Significant changes in the order include the following: 

  • Public gathering limits that reduce occupancy to 25% of a site’s capacity and reduce the maximum number of people at an indoor event to 10, not including employees. Seating is required. The maximum number for outdoor events is 25 people. Religious and political events are subject to gathering limits of 100 people, all of whom are required to be seated. 
  • Restaurant and bar occupancy will be restricted to 25% for those without a COVID safety plan approved by the Milwaukee Health Department, and all patrons must be seated except when arriving, departing or walking to restrooms. Dance floors are prohibited. 
  • Team sports are restricted to intra-squad or intra-school events, unless a Milwaukee Health Department- approved safety plan is in place. A safety plan requires COVID-19 testing at least once every three days. If a plan has been previously submitted, it must be resubmitted with details related to the testing procedures. 
  • COVID safety at schools in Milwaukee will continue to be monitored by the Health Department. Movement between instructional models will be made on an individual school basis by the department. 

The tightening of restrictions come as several of the key indicators that city uses to monitor the containment of the virus have declined. As of Monday afternoon, there were 27,614 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 300 deaths as a result of the disease since the pandemic began in March, according to the city’s online dashboard. 

Statewide, 201,049 people have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday, according to the state Department of Health Services. DHS reported 2,883 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. The rolling seven-day average stands at 3,879 daily cases. The state’s death toll from the coronavirus rose to 1,788.

“Our goal is to get the indicators and gating criteria to head back in the right direction so we can move forward with reopening and moving Milwaukee forward,” Jackson said.

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Rich Rovito is a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine.