Stoughton Trailers provides COVID-19 vaccines to 500 workers

Employee Fredo Ocasio receives a COVID-19 vaccine.

Restaurants and taverns will be allowed to seat 75% of their official capacities under new Dane County gathering restrictions.

Public Health Madison and Dane County’s Emergency Order No. 16, released Thursday, April 29, and to take effect Wednesday, May 5, loosens gathering restrictions as the rate of vaccination in Dane County continues to increase. Order No. 16 lasts 28 days and will be in effect until June 2.

The new order allows increased capacity from the previous one, which limited restaurants to 50% capacity and taverns to 25%. The county allowed taverns — defined as establishments where 51% or more of sales are alcohol — to have customers inside starting on March 10.

Other businesses will be allowed to operate at 75% capacity, and indoor gatherings have increased to a limit of 350 people when food and drink are being consumed, up from a 150-person limit; and 500 indoors without food and drink, up from 350.

PHMDC director Janel Heinrich cited the county’s high vaccination rate in comparison to others in the state, as well as stabilized newly diagnosed cases of COVID-19, as the reason for loosening restrictions in the news release.

As of April 29, 59% of Dane County residents have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the highest percentage in the state, according to the Department of Health Services’ vaccination data dashboard. People ages 65 and older, who are most at risk for serious illness and death from COVID-19, are vaccinated at the highest rate, with 92.9% of them having at least one dose.

“Although more spaces are opening, people should still participate in activities based on their comfort with risks, because although we are making progress, we aren’t out of the woods yet,” Heinrich said in the news release.

The number of newly discovered cases of COVID-19 has remained stable, the news release states, with a seven-day average of 64 new cases, in comparison to the seven-day average of 78 when Emergency Order No. 15 took effect on April 7. In that same time frame, the rate of vaccination in Dane County increased from 39.2% to nearly 60%.

County executive Joe Parisi said in the release that vaccination is the path out of the pandemic, and encouraged people to get vaccinated. Vaccinations are available at Alliant Energy Center without an appointment, as well as other pharmacies and health providers.

“People who are vaccinated are able to do things safely that unvaccinated people can’t, like hugging loved ones and gathering with friends without having to worry about masking or distance,” Parisi said in the release. “Get vaccinated and get back to doing the things you love.”

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

News Editor

Kimberly Wethal joined Unified Newspaper Group in 2018, where she serves as the news editor for four publications and primarily covers the Verona Area School District and the City of Fitchburg. She previously was an intern with UNG starting in 2013.