Dane County Issues New Public Order #16 Effective May 5

April 30, 2021 | Business | COVID | Current Events


Public Health Madison & Dane County (“PHMDC”) has issued Emergency Order #16 to replace Order #15 (our analysis of Order #15 can be found here), which expires at midnight on May 5. The new order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on May 5 and will be effective until June 2. PHMDC notes that, as it gradually reopens Dane County, that the 7-day case average is down from 78 on April 7 to 64 on April 26, but the 7-day hospitalization average is up from 23 to 32 on those same dates. PHMDC further notes that the hospitalization level is five-fold lower than this past Fall, and that almost 60% of Dane County residents have received at least one does of the vaccine.

Here is a rundown of what will change in the new order:

Face Coverings

The rules for when face coverings are required remain largely the same. One additional exception to the general face covering mandate has been added: a person need not wear a mask when actively playing a wind instrument that has a fabric bell cover, or similar cover, as long as individuals are at least 6 feet apart. As in Order #15, Face coverings are not required outdoors.


Indoor gatherings may now have up to 350 individuals (up from 150) if food and drink are offered, and 500 (up from 350) if no food or drink are provided. Numbers must be limited to ensure individuals from different households maintain 6 feet of distancing.

Outdoor gatherings are the same as in Order #15, where the only limit is ensuring space for 6 feet of distancing between people from different households – there is no cap on the number of individuals that may be in attendance.

Business Capacities

In general, businesses may now admit up to 75% capacity indoors (up from 50%). Salons/spas, restaurants, taverns, and retail stores, as well as grocery stores or bakeries with indoor, dine-in operations may admit up to 75% capacity. Capacity limits for gyms and fitness centers are also now 75%. PHDMC still requires tables, chairs, etc. to be set up to ensure 6 feet of distancing in these facilities, however.

Fully Vaccinated People

The provisions for fully vaccinated individuals have not changed, except to clarify that they apply both indoors and outdoors. Order #15, as written, technically only applied to situations in an enclosed space. Fully vaccinated individuals must comply with other requirements of the order, including wearing a face covering in indoor public spaces. The order includes a reminder that “fully vaccinated” means it is two weeks after someone received their second dose of a 2-dose vaccine or two weeks after they received a 1-dose vaccine.

As always, if you have questions about the rights and obligations of your business under the Dane County’s latest order or other orders, requirements, and guidelines surrounding COVID-19, feel free to contact Kramer, Elkins & Watt, LLC at 608-709-7115.