As of Oct. 13, Wisconsin authorities are tightening gathering restrictions due to an increase of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity in the state. Under the new restrictions, which will remain in effect through at least Nov. 6, indoor public gatherings are limited to 25 percent of the building or room's capacity. In instances where there is no occupancy limit, such as in private residences, gatherings are limited to 10 people. Child care services, schools, health care institutions, human service and public infrastructure services, government buildings, houses of worship, and political rallies are exempt from these gathering restrictions.

Other restrictions remain in place. Authorities in Wisconsin are maintaining a statewide order for all residents over the age of four to wear protective facemasks whenever they are in indoors or enclosed spaces with people from outside of their household through at least Nov. 2. Other statewide restrictions were lifted on May 13, following a decision by the state's Supreme Court.

However, multiple counties and cities maintain additional restrictions. As of Oct. 13, the city of Milwaukee remains on Phase 4.1 of its economic recovery plan, under which most businesses can operate but some of them under capacity limits, including gyms, retail stores, restaurants and bars, libraries, and hotels at 50-percent capacity. Gatherings of more than 250 people are banned, and the use of facemasks is required in all public settings. Authorities in Dane County, including Madison's city, continue to order the use of facemasks when in public and maintain a limit on gatherings to no more than 10 people indoors and no more than 25 people outdoors. Most businesses can operate at 50-percent capacity. Indoor services at bars are banned, and indoor services at restaurants can only be offered at 25-percent capacity. In the city of Racine, restaurants can offer dine-in services at 50-percent capacity, and gyms and other indoor entertainment centers can operate at 50-percent capacity.

All state and county-level restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Heed the directives of the local authorities. Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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