The end is near, Milwaukee! In a good way! Like, in a “the end of most of Milwaukee’s COVID restrictions is nigh” way!

On Thursday, Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson announced that the city will end most of its COVID restrictions beginning June 15. Capacity limits for indoor and outdoor gatherings—for both businesses and individuals—will end. Indoor mask requirements will remain.

“We have consistently, decision after decision, followed the science, and that is what we are going to continue today,” Barrett said. “The science now is leading us in what many would perceive as a positive direction. It’s because of the work that our community has done to keep ourselves, and your neighbors safe, that we can announce beginning June 15, 2021, the City of Milwaukee will transition out of Phase 6 and away from many of the mandated COVID restrictions.”

Barrett continued:

I want to be clear, this does not mean the pandemic is over. We all know that the pandemic is not even close to being over. All you have to do is look around the world and see that the pandemic is still raging. But here in Milwaukee and here in Wisconsin, we have done a good job. So we will still strongly encourage the public to continue to follow the safety guidelines that have gotten us to this place. After enduring a year of personal and economic sacrifice, this is a reason to celebrate. We have the opportunity to return to a version of normal—not normal, but a version of normal.

The soon-to-be-vacated Phase 6 public health order bumped capacity limits for places without a COVID safety plan to 50% (up from a previous 25%). It went into effect on March 19. According to Johnson, there will be no Phase 7.

Both Barrett and Johnson noted a further emphasis on vaccinations.

“We are moving from restrictions to recommendations,” Johnson said. “We want people to be vaccinated and we want to be able to move forward. We are at a critical point in time and we are really encouraging people to get vaccinated.”

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Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.