Dane County Public Health Emergency Order #10

UPDATE 11/22/20

On November 20, 2020 PHMDC amended the definition of “mass gathering” under Amended Emergency Order #10. A mass gathering is now “any gathering of individuals that are not members of the same household or living unit.”

UPDATE 11/17/20

Starting Wednesday, November 18, in Dane County, all indoor mass gatherings are banned and all outdoor mass gatherings are limited to no more than 10 individuals under Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) Emergency Order #10. Sports activities, group exercise classes, meetings, and trainings are subject to the same mass gathering restrictions. The order expires on December 16.

As a reminder, a mass gathering is “a planned event with a large number of individuals in attendance, such as a concert, festival, meeting, training, conference, performance, show, or sporting event. Individuals that are members of the same household or living unit do not count towards the mass gathering numbers.”

The other requirements from previous PHMDC emergency orders remain in place. You can find Lake Effect’s summaries of the previous orders here.

Lake Effect is here to answer your questions about how local and state public health orders apply to employers. We continue to monitor important legal and HR developments, as well as COVID-related updates from federal, state, and local authorities. Please keep watching our blogs and emails for these important updates, as well as discussions of how compliance meets culture. To dive into these issues, contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

Employees Must Notify Their Employers of Positive COVID-19 Result

According to a November 4, 2020 blog post, Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) will no longer notify employers that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19 unless the employee works for a school, or a childcare, healthcare, or congregate living facility. Instead, employees are responsible for notifying their employer if they tested positive, and working with their employer to identify other employees, customers, or clients who have been in close contact with the employee who tested positive. This is a significant shift in Dane County’s contact tracing due to the high number of positive tests in the community.

Dane County employers should follow guidance from PHMDC if an employee tests positive. Employers should then, to the best of their ability, notify other employees, customers, or clients who had close contact with the affected employee. As a reminder, see our prior blog for the new “6-15-24-48 analysis” in determining who has had “close contact.”

Lake Effect is here to answer your questions about protecting your employees and complying with state and local public health orders. We continue to monitor important legal and HR developments, including COVID-related updates from federal, state, and local authorities. Please keep watching our blogs and emails for these important updates, as well as discussions of how compliance meets culture. To dive into these issues, contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

Statewide Limits on Indoor Public Gatherings

On October 14, 2020, a Sawyer County district court temporarily blocked Governor Evers administration’s Emergency Order #3, which limits indoor public gatherings statewide. The Court will hear arguments on Monday, October 19, to decide whether to issue a permanent injunction that would permanently block enforcement of Emergency Order #3, unless a higher court overrules that decision.

Earlier this week on October 12, a Polk County district court upheld Governor Evers’ Executive Order #90, extending the state’s public health emergency declaration, and Emergency Order #1, requiring all individuals in Wisconsin over the age of four to wear face coverings when in an enclosed space with people outside their household. That order was extended and is in effect until November 21.

As a reminder, employers must comply with any local public health orders such as those in Dane County that impose stricter requirements than those set forth in the statewide orders.

The Lake Effect team will continue to monitor important COVID-related updates such as these from federal, state, and local authorities. Please keep watching for blogs and emails from us for important legal updates and HR best practices. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

WI Emergency Order #3 – Statewide Limits on Indoor Public Gatherings

Indoor public gatherings are limited statewide starting on October 8, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. and ending on November 6, 2020 under Emergency Order #3. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm issued the order on October 6, 2020.

Emergency Order #3 restricts “public gatherings” to 25% or less of the established indoor capacity limit of a building or room. This applies to any business that is open to the public, including restaurants, retail stores, and office lobbies. If the building or room has no capacity limit (e.g., a home), public gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people. The order defines a “public gathering” as an “indoor event, convening, or collection of individuals, whether planned or spontaneous, that is open to the public and brings together people who are not part of the same household in a single room.”

The order places no restrictions on outdoor gatherings, such as outdoor seating areas at a restaurant or bar; on indoor spaces that are not open to the public, such as a manufacturing plant or an office building; or on invitation-only indoor gatherings.

Employers in counties or cities with their own local public health orders and guidance (such as Dane, Milwaukee, Outagamie, and Winnebago Counties) will need to determine the restrictions applicable to their organization. DHS’s Frequently Asked Questions clarifies that Emergency Order #3 supersedes the requirements in local orders that are less restrictive. Conversely, requirements in local orders that are more restrictive will continue to be enforced. For example, a restaurant in Dane County will be required to comply with the applicable restrictions in Dane County’s PHMDC Emergency Order #9 (see Lake Effect’s blogs on the PHMDC orders) and the 25% indoor capacity restriction in the new statewide Emergency Order #3.

Exempt from the order are:

  • Most childcare settings
  • Placements for children in out-of-home care, such as foster and group homes
  • 4K-12 schools
  • Institutions of higher education
  • Health care and public health operations
  • Human services operations
  • Public infrastructure operations
  • State and local government operations
  • Churches and other places of religious worship
  • Political rallies, demonstrations, and other speech protected by the First Amendment
  • State and federal facilities

The Lake Effect team will continue to monitor important COVID-related updates such as these from federal, state, and local authorities. Please keep watching for blogs and emails from us for important legal updates and HR best practices. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

Governor Evers Extends Statewide Mask Mandate and Public Health Emergency

On September 22, 2020 Governor Evers released two orders. Emergency Order #1 amends his earlier order to extend the statewide face mask mandate to November 21, 2020. This emergency order does not change the face mask requirements that were included in the previous mandate. Lake Effect’s summary of the requirements can be found here. Dane County and other local mask mandates also remain in effect. However, the Governor’s Emergency Order #1 supersedes any local order that is less restrictive.
Governor Evers also released Executive Order #90 declaring a public health emergency and designating the Department of Health Services as the lead agency to respond to the emergency. This order effectively extends the public health emergency previously declared in Executive Order #82.

The Lake Effect team will continue to monitor important COVID-related updates such as these from federal, state, and local authorities. Please keep watching for blogs and emails from us for important legal updates and HR best practices. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

Public Health Madison Dane County Issues Emergency Order #9


On September 1, 2020, PHMDC released Emergency Order #9 Amendment. The only change made to Emergency Order #9 was to allow for in-person instruction for students in any grade with a disability and/or with an IEP who may need to receive in-person instruction. This change is reflected in paragraph 4.d. on page 5 of the order.


Prohibits In-Person Instruction for Grades 3-12

Effective Monday, August 24, 2020, public and private schools in Dane County may not hold in-person student instruction for students in third to twelfth grades under Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) Emergency Order #9. Schools may conduct kindergarten to second grade classes in-person with certain restrictions, including a requirement that the school also offer virtual learning options for its K-2 students. In order to open, schools must also adopt and distribute to staff PHMDC’s COVID response plan, which has not yet been posted.

Emergency Order #9 also modifies requirements applicable to child and youth care; expands the County’s face mask requirements; clarifies restrictions on religious groups; and changes the use of “bar” to “tavern,” as defined under Wisconsin statutes. The other requirements of PHMDC Emergency Order #8 remain unchanged.

School Closures

  • All school buildings and grounds – public and private – may open for in-person student instruction only for grades K-2. These schools must also offer a virtual option for students.
  • Although not included in the Emergency Order, PHMDC stated that it may consider reopening grades 3-5 for in-person instruction if Dane County sustains at or below a 14-day average of 39 cases per day for four consecutive weeks. For PHMDC to consider reopening grades 6-12 for in-person instruction, Dane County must sustain at or below a 14-day average of 19 cases per day for four consecutive weeks. PHMDC also noted that if there are more than 54 average cases per day over a two-week period, they would consider closing all schools to in-person instruction. We anticipate that PHMDC would provide orders when metrics permit reopening certain grades, or closing all grades.
  • Under revised requirements, all schools must:
    • Implement a hygiene policy and procedure (Section 4.d.i.), and a cleaning policy and procedure(Section 4.d.ii.)
      • PHMDC has not changed these policy requirements
    • Implement a written protective measure policy and procedure (Section 4.d.iii.) that includes several new requirements to ensure that:
      • When indoors and on buses, students age 5 and older and employees wear face masks and, to the greatest extent possible, maintain at least six feet distance from others.
      • Students and employees who cannot wear a face mask (based on the exceptions set forth in Section 2.c.) maintain at least six feet distancing from others when indoors and on buses.
      • Students and employees, to the greatest extent possible, maintain at least six feet distance from others when outside.
      • Student and employee groupings are as static as possible by having the same group of students stay with the same employees as much as possible. Mixing between groups must be restricted as much as possible.
      • While common areas (such as cafeterias and gyms) may be open, student groupings should be in distinct spaces within the common areas and not mix with one other.
    • Implement PHMDC’s action plan for COVID-19 cases
      • PHMDC will post this plan here when it is available
    • Document employee receipt, acknowledgment, or training on the cleaning, hygiene, and protective measure policies and the COVID action plan (Section 4.d.iv).
    • Post PHMDC’s workplace requirements poster in a location where it is easily viewed by all employees.
      • Employers can email this to all its employees if all or some of your school staff is working from home.

Modified Restrictions on Child and Youth Care

  • Groups or classrooms must be limited to 15 or fewer children regardless of the children’s ages.
    • Under previous orders, the limit was 25 children if they were all 13 years or older.
  • Organizations must also require children who are 5 years or older to maintain at least six feet apart to the greatest extent possible.

Expanded Face Coverings Requirements

  • A face covering is still required for all individuals age 5 or older. Children 2-5 years old are encouraged to wear a face covering. Note that PHMDC has clarified that children under the age of 2 should never wear a covering.
  • In addition to being required indoors, in line to enter a building, or in a vehicle with individuals outside of your home, face masks are now also required outdoors at a restaurant or tavern.
  • As a reminder, all organizations are required to post PHMDC’s “Face Covering” sign, or a similar sign, that is visible upon entering the property.
    • This posting requirement includes residential properties that have shared common indoor spaces, e.g. hallways, lobbies, mailrooms.
  • Recall that a face covering is defined as “a piece of cloth or other materials that is worn to cover the nose and mouth completely.” This may include a bandana, cloth face mask, a disposable or paper face mask, a neck gaiter, or a religious face covering. It does not include a face shield, mesh mask, a mask with holes or openings, or a mask with vents.

Religious Group Gatherings

  • PHMDC clarified that religious entities are exempt from mass gathering requirements only for religious services and practices.

Violations of this order are considered ordinance violations and are enforceable by any local law enforcement official.

The Lake Effect team will continue to monitor important updates such as these from Dane County and other counties across the state. Please keep watching for blogs and emails from us for important legal updates and HR best practices. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

Dane County and Madison’s New Public Health Order

On May 18, Public Heath Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) issued Emergency Order #2 along with a guide for organizations to start planning a phased reopening under the Order, Forward Dane. We are currently in the Preparing for Safe Reopen Phase under Forward Dane and all individuals and organizations are required to follow the Emergency Order.

The Emergency Order is effective May 19 and will remain in effect until PHMDC determines that the outlined criteria to start Phase One toward reopening has been met. Note that no date is set for moving into Phase One. A new Emergency Order will be issued as Dane County moves into each new phase of the Forward Dane plan.

The Emergency Order and Forward Dane provide detailed requirements and guidance. Included below is an outline of the essential elements of each.

Emergency Order #2

Required Policies

Organizations must develop and distribute to employees the following written policies:

  • A hygiene policy that
    • Ensures employees who have a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to work
    • Establishes hand-washing expectations and ensures supplies are available to employees
    • Describes proper cough and sneeze etiquette
  • A cleaning policy that includes guidelines for
    • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces multiple times a day
    • Frequently wiping down any shared equipment, such as work spaces, credit card machines, lunchroom items, carts, baskets, etc.
    • Cleaning common areas and equipment between use or shift changes
    • Cleaning and disinfecting in the event of a positive COVID-19 case
  • A protective measure policy that ensures
    • Individuals are at least six feet from others whenever possible
    • Employees are provided with and wear face coverings when unable to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from customers; however, if a transparent partition is in place, a face covering is recommended, but not required
  • Employers must maintain documentation showing employees received, acknowledged, or were trained on these policies

All individuals are encouraged to continue staying stay at home and to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from any person unless you live together

  • All public and private gatherings are prohibited unless specifically permitted in the Emergency Order
  • Landlords may not enter rented residential premises unless emergency maintenance is required

Organizations must continue to follow Physical Distancing Requirements

  • Physical Distancing Requirements are defined as:
    • Maintaining physical distance of six feet between people
    • Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer
    • Covering coughs and sneezes
    • Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces
    • Not shaking hands
    • Following all other PHMDC requirements
  • If Physical Distancing Requirements cannot be maintained, the organization must ensure that employees are provided with appropriate face coverings or protective shields
  • All organizations must avoid in person meetings to the greatest extent feasible, and no door-to-door solicitation is permitted

Essential Businesses and Operations

Essential Businesses and Operations that may remain open include Healthcare and Public Health Operations, Human Services Operations, Essential Infrastructure, Essential Governmental Functions, and the following businesses and operations:

  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Food and beverage production, transport, and agriculture
  • Restaurants but only for take-out or delivery service
  • Bars, breweries, distilleries, brewpubs, wineries, and alcohol beverage retailers but only for carryout or order pick-up
    • Wineries holding direct wine shippers’ permits may deliver wine
  • Childcare
    • Childcare and youth programming is limited to 50 children per program or per license
    • Childcare providers must prioritize care for (1) families working in health care and (2) families working in other vital areas
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Weddings and funerals
    • Gatherings for weddings and funerals must be limited to 10 or fewer people in a room at any one time
    • Weddings and funerals that occur outside must comply with the Physical Distancing Requirements, unless the individuals live together
  • Religious entities
  • Funeral establishments
  • Media
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
  • Financial institutions and services
  • Hardware and supplies stores
  • Building and construction tradesmen and tradeswomen such as plumbers, fabricators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, carpenters
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services
  • Laundry services
  • Suppliers of products to work from home
  • Suppliers for Essential Businesses and Operations and Essential Governmental Functions
  • Transportation such as airlines, taxis, car rental services
  • Home-based care and services for seniors, adults, children, or people with disabilities, substance abuse disorders, or mental illness, including caregivers or nannies who may travel to the child’s home to provide care, and other in-home services including meal delivery
  • Professional services such as legal, accounting, real estate, and insurance services
  • Manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
  • Critical labor union functions
  • Lodging including hotels, AirBNB, VRBO, motels, and campgrounds
    • Swimming pools, hot tubs, and exercise facilities must be closed
    • Guests may not be permitted to congregate in any common areas, and facility must comply with restrictions applicable to bars and restaurants where applicable
  • Higher education institution for the purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions as determined by the institution
  • Auctions but only if necessary to preserve the value of property and the auction follows other requirements outlined in the Emergency Order
  • Any business or worker identified on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency List

Essential Businesses and Operations - Additional Requirements

In addition to complying with the Physical Distancing Requirements, Essential Businesses and Operations must also:

  • Restrict the number of workers on premises to no more than necessary
  • Increase standards of facility cleaning and disinfection, following guidance from PHMDC, the Department of Health Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Adopt policies to prevent workers from entering the premises if they have respiratory symptoms or have had contact with a person with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19

Non-Essential Businesses May Open for Minimum Basic Operations

Minimum Basic Operations include:

  • Basic functions, such as the minimum basic activities to maintain the value of inventory; preserve condition of the physical space and equipment; ensure security; process payroll and benefits; and related functions
    • Staffing must be limited to the minimum number of staff required
  • Preparation to open, including purchasing and stocking supplies, cleaning, and complying with PHMDC’s guidelines
    • Staffing must be limited to the minimum number of staff required
  • Facilitating remote work
  • Delivery and mailings, including of non-essential items but only under specified conditions
  • Curb-side pick-up and drop off
    • Services and items must be paid for online or by phone, and signatures cannot be required
    • The pick-up or drop off must be scheduled in advance to ensure compliance with Physical Distancing Requirements
  • In-person retail
    • Standalone or strip mall retail stores with an entrance to the outside may allow up to five customers at a time in the store
    • Retails shops must create a space for a line to form with markings six feet apart, or allow customers to wait in their cars for entry
  • Outdoor recreational rentals
    • Payment must be made online or by phone
    • Pick up and drop off must be scheduled in advance
  • Automatic and self-service car washes
    • High-touch surfaces must be cleaned between each use if feasible, or at least as frequently as possible
  • Arts and craft stores may offer curb-side pick-up, and may allow the minimum number of staff necessary in the store to make personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Aesthetic or optional exterior residential construction and lawn care, so long as Physical Distancing Requirements are maintained
    • Aesthetic or optional interior work is not permitted

Facilities That are Closed or May Open with Restrictions

  • Schools are closed for all in-person instruction
  • Libraries are closed except for certain limited functions
  • Indoor and outdoor places of public amusement (including amusement parks, pools, water parks, splash pads, zoos, museum, arcades, parades, playgrounds, movie theaters, gyms, fitness centers, concert halls) are closed except to perform Minimum Basic Operations
    • Golf courses, disc golf ranges, tennis courts, and drive-in theatres may open under specified restrictions
  • Salons and spas (including spas, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, waxing salons, tattoo parlors) may not provide any services to customers but can sell goods and perform Minimum Basic Operations

Forward Dane

PHMDC’s Forward Dane plan provides guidance on a gradual, phased reopening in Dane County broken down by industries. We are currently in the “Prepare for Safe Reopen” phase and subject to Emergency Order #2 outlined above. But if nine public health metrics are met, Dane County will move into Phase One, Phase Two, Phase Three, then full operations under a new normal can begin. Each phase will last for at least two weeks.

In general, each phase allows organizations to gradually open to a larger “capacity.” For example, in Phase One, gyms may open to 25% capacity; in Phase Two, 50% capacity; in Phase Three, 75% capacity. PHMDC has not defined capacity, and as of today’s date, does not plan to do so. Instead, each organization will use its best judgment to determine the appropriate metric for capacity. It may be the building code establish by your city or it could be an average number of customers or employees who would be at the worksite under normal, non-pandemic circumstances.

Forward Dane also outlines expectations and responsibilities of the community. The responsibilities of the business community include:

  • Protecting the health and safety of employees and customers
  • Developing flexible sick leave policies and creating a culture in which employees can stay home when they are sick
  • Monitoring staff for symptoms and working with local public health if an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19 or is a known contact to someone with COVID-19
  • Implementing infection control policies, such as disinfecting surfaces frequently, keeping both employees and customers 6 feet apart from others, and other prevention measures
  • Communicating to management, staff, and customers the importance of following prevention measures in order to prevent future outbreaks

The Lake Effect team will continue to monitor important updates such as these from Dane County and other counties across the state. Please keep watching for blogs and emails from us for important legal updates and HR best practices. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

Lake Effect HR & Law, LLC
(844) 333-5253 (LAKE)


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