Warm memories

Donovan Erhardt plays at the splash pad at Nordic Ridge on Monday, June 17, in the mid-70 degree weather. He and his family will be moving to Florida soon, so he was spending one of his final days in Stoughton at a place he loved, his mother said.

Businesses will be able to operate at 50% capacity, and playgrounds and splash pads will be allowed to open as the county enters Phase 2 of its Forward Dane plan Monday, June 15.

Public Health Madison and Dane County announced Friday, June 12, in a news release that the county would enter Phase 2, after analyzing two weeks of health data starting Tuesday, May 26, when Phase 1 went into effect. Phase 1 allowed businesses to operate at 25% capacity, but kept certain amenities like playgrounds and splash pads closed.

To move to Phase 2, the data collected from the last two weeks needed to be compared to nine health benchmarks, which included epidemiology criteria that counted the number and percentage of positive COVID-19 cases per day. Under Phase 2, epidemiology metrics cannot have a “red” rating, and out of all nine benchmarks, more than half of them had to be rated as “green.”

Six of the benchmarks were green as of Friday, June 12, and the remaining three are yellow, the release said.

Under Phase 2, businesses will be able to open at 50% capacity, and park courts and fields are allowed to open with physical distancing. Playgrounds and splash pads will also be allowed to open, and indoor gatherings are allowed to have 50 or fewer people, with outdoor gatherings allowed 100 or fewer.

School buildings will also be allowed to operate under Phase 2, but the decision on whether to conduct in-person instruction has been left largely up to each district.

Public Health Madison and Dane County staff are closely watching the trend of average daily cases, the release said. Since May 21, the county has seen its average number of daily new cases increase from eight to 16, which puts the county closer to being in the “red” on that metric.

“Businesses and workplaces are reopening with required measures to help contain the spread of disease, but COVID-19 is very much still in our community,” Janel Heinrich, director of Public Health Madison and Dane County, said in the release. “We need our community to remain vigilant and careful as we move to new phases so we don’t see a spike in cases.”

Email reporter Kimberly Wethal at kimberly.wethal@wcinet.com and follow her on Twitter @kimberly_wethal.​