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City of Racine issues stricter COVID-19 order as virus surges

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Posted at 10:01 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 23:02:02-05

CITY OF RACINE — The City of Racine has issued a stricter COVID-19 order as the virus continues to surge in the community.

The 'Safer Racine' order lowers the capacity in bars and restaurants to 25 percent and to 50 percent in retail businesses, as well as maxes out the number of people allowed at special events like places of worship and "mass gatherings" to 50 people, besides some exceptions. Indoor recreational facilities such as gyms and yoga studios also have a reduced capacity to 25 percent.

Racine Public Health Administrator, Dottie-Kay Bowersox, explained in a statement Monday that the stricter order is necessary given the virus' "uncontrolled spread throughout the community."

"Outbreaks continue to be linked to gatherings of friends and family on private property with people from outside of their immediate households including sports parties, baby showers, backyard gatherings, and wedding receptions," Bowersox wrote.

It is why the health department has decided to clamp down on many of those events. The Racine Common Council originally passed the city-wide order in late June. The revised COVID-19 order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 27.

To support the revised order, Bowersox cited the grim COVID-19 statistics her department has gathered.

Since Labor Day, Racine has identified more than 3,400 COVID-19 new cases, a 250 percent spike in cases in just two and a half months compared to the first six months of the pandemic.

Twenty deaths due to the coronavirus have been reported during the same time, bringing the total number of deaths to 53, according to the Racine health department.

Wisconsin remains a hot spot in U.S., averaging more than 6,500 new cases a day, with the exception of the regular dip over the weekends.

“I am fully aware of the disappointment and anger that some in the community will feel at new measures and restrictions being issued," Bowersox acknowledges.

"The community must realize that inconveniences now, like wearing a mask properly and not participating in family gatherings outside of your immediate household, are necessary to protect public health and save lives long-term,” she writes.

To view the full, revised order, click here. Business restrictions can be found starting on page 12.

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