A new Milwaukee health order set to go into effect on Friday, February 5 will ease restrictions on indoor gatherings, allow for limited reopening of museums and other public exhibition spaces, allow bars and restaurants to offer counter service for ordering and pick up, and more.

The new order—Order #4.4—states that indoor gatherings can include up to 250 people as long as masks are worn, everyone stays seated, and there’s enough room for distancing. Larger numbers of attendees are allowed under approved safety plans.

“Gatherings must require seating for all guests and/or attendees,” reads the order. “Guests and/or attendees must remain seated with the exception of moving to and from the table on arrival, departure and use of restroom. The seating requirement can be waived with a COVID Safety Plan approved by the City of Milwaukee Health Department.”

As for bars and restaurants, the order reads: “Bars/Restaurants may offer counter service for ordering and pick up. One designated ordering and pick up location may be established per cash register. Only one customer per cash register is permitted at the counter. Operator is responsible to ensure there is no congregation at the counter and if a line develops individuals are 6 feet from each other and guests at tables. Consumption is prohibited until the customer is either seated our exits the establishment. Seating must be provided to all guests. Guests must remain seated with the exception of ordering (if counter services are provided as detailed above), moving to and from the table on arrival, departure and use of restroom. Dance floors must be closed.”

As for sports, “COVID19 testing will no longer be required for team and contact sports,” says a press release. “Additionally, two observers or fans will be permitted for each participant in recreational activities, and, with an approved safety plan, organizations can host additional attendees.”

“Changes in our public health orders are based on a careful review of disease trends and authoritative information from the scientific community. The modifications we are making this week allow for additional reopening while maintaining public safety,” Acting Health Commissioner Marlaina Jackson said in a press release. “We are cautiously optimistic that Milwaukee will see continued improvement in our gating criteria. Even so, the pandemic continues to take its toll here, and we cannot let our guard down.”

The new order goes into effect on Friday, February 5. The health department “anticipates the new order will remain in place for at least the next month.” Read the full text of the order HERE.

Here’s the full press release:


Milwaukee Health Department Modifies COVID-19 Public Health Order
Gathering Limits Eased As Disease Trends Improve

Milwaukee – The Milwaukee Health Department is changing the current public health order as the COVID-19 gating criteria continue to show improvement. The most significant changes in the new Order #4.4 affect gathering size restrictions. Under the revised order, indoor gatherings can include up to 250 people if masks are worn, attendees stay seated, and there is sufficient space for distancing. New provisions permit even larger numbers of attendees if an approved safety plan is in place.

The new order also revises the provisions related to recreational and athletic activities. COVID19 testing will no longer be required for team and contact sports. Additionally, two observers or fans will be permitted for each participant in recreational activities, and, with an approved safety plan, organizations can host additional attendees.

Discussions between the Milwaukee Health Department and various sectors of society and the economy helped inform changes in the public health order. Order #4.4 will take effect on Friday, February 5, 2021. The health department anticipates the new order will remain in place for at least the next month.

“Changes in our public health orders are based on a careful review of disease trends and authoritative information from the scientific community. The modifications we are making this week allow for additional reopening while maintaining public safety,” Acting Health Commissioner Marlaina Jackson said. “We are cautiously optimistic that Milwaukee will see continued improvement in our gating criteria. Even so, the pandemic continues to take its toll here, and we cannot let our guard down.”

Under the new order and with approved safety plans, it will be possible for limited reopening of museums and public exhibition spaces. The Order #4.4 also allows bars and restaurants to establish counter service for ordering and pick up. The provisions covering weddings, funerals and religious entities are modified to match the gathering requirements for entertainment venues. While seating is required for all attendees, standing is allowed at traditional portions of a service.

The complete text of the COVID-19 Public Health Plan for the City of Milwaukee, Order #4.4 is available online at the Moving Milwaukee Forward Safely site at city.milwaukee.gov/MMFS.

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