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Dane County releases reopening plan

Dane County's "nonessential" businesses will experience a gradual reopening under a phased plan dubbed Forward Dane, which was released Monday by county officials.

The plan, which goes into effect at 8 a.m. Tuesday, was released along with a relaxed order impacting businesses. It is based on nine health-related benchmarks for a complete reopening, five of which have been met.

Among the gradual steps taken under the plan are the lifting of all travel restrictions in the county and the relaxation of various business restrictions. Nonessential businesses can operate as authorized in section 12 of the order, which outlines their allowable "minimum basic operations."

For example, nonessential business will be allowed to carry out basic functions such as preserving their physical plants, prepare to reopen with steps such as procuring and stocking supplies, provide for minimum necessary staffing as defined in the order, and arrange for curbside pickup of goods or animals.

Section 11 of the order provides updated guidance for essential business operations.

County Executive Joe Parisi, while acknowledging that many are eager for a return to economic stability, stressed that slowing the spread of COVID-19 remains the critical element in reopening.

Thus far, the county has made progress in several key health measures, including having less than 5% positive COVID-19 tests as a percentage of total tests over the most recent two-week period and stable or decreasing numbers of both COVID-like cases and infected health care workers reported within the most recent two-week period.

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