Milwaukee plans to reduce capacity limits next week due to COVID-19 surge

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CITY OF MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Health Department has said it plans to reduce business capacity limits next week as it reports an increase in COVID-19 cases in the city since last month.
The seven-day case rate per 100,000 people now stands at 95.6 – a rate the health department defines as “substantial transmission.” The percentage of positive tests for the coronavirus also rose to 5% or “moderate transmission,” according to the health department in a statement Friday.

Based on these negative trends, the ministry plans to change the public health order next week from phase 6 to phase 5, including reducing capacity limits. The ministry admits that many companies with approved security plans may not be significantly affected by the move.

The ministry did not announce details on Friday on where capacity limits would be set and for whom. But the health department’s blocking criteria that guide COVID-19-related limits recommend 25% capacity limits for companies that have not approved security plans with the city in Phase 5. This also affects religious and entertainment establishments, retail businesses, hotels and children. care, among other businesses.

RELATED: These Are The Mask Orders Still In Effect In SE Wisconsin, And When They Expire

The trend is made worse by the increasing spread of COVID-19 variants, including the B.1.1.7 or UK variant, which are believed to spread faster and lead to more severe symptoms.

The department said it hopes Wisconsin’s transition allowing anyone 16 years of age or older to be vaccinated against COVID-19 this week will help tackle the growing number of COVID-19 cases. For the first time, the vaccine supply is “sufficient” to meet demand at the FEMA-led central Wisconsin vaccination site and community sites in the city, the Milwaukee Department of Health said. .

Phase 6 of the public health ordinance came into effect on March 18, allowing the following:

  • Restaurants and bars will see a possible increase in capacity and a relaxation of restrictions on the movement of customers within the establishment. While seating should be available and encouraged, it is no longer needed unless a customer is eating or drinking.
  • Museums can be opened with capacity limits and protective measures, including masking.
  • Sporting events and recreational activities are now allowed to accommodate up to six spectators per event participant, with a limit of 750 fans indoors or 1000 fans outdoors, provided the physical distance can be taken into account. An approved security plan can allow for larger crowds.
  • The ordinance no longer restricts visitors to long-term care facilities.

Some of these improvements, especially those related to capacity limits, should now change.

Since the end of March, however, the Milwaukee Department of Health has expressed concern in a number of statements regarding the increase in cases and the spread of variants.

The city mask’s mandate remains in place, even though the statewide version was overturned by the state’s Supreme Court last week.

Milwaukee Department of Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson described the disturbing trends this way in Friday’s statement:

“It seems counterintuitive. At a time when vaccines are available and everyone is aware of safe practices, we should see COVID-19 infection rates decline. This is not the case. The presence of newer and easily transmitted COVID variants is one of the likely culprits; another factor is COVIDatigue. With the finish line in sight, we must all take all reasonable precautions to limit the spread of the virus. “

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