Wisconsin's second-most-populated county announced that starting Wednesday it will no longer require people at outdoor gatherings to wear masks or keep crowds to a certain size, as long as they stay distanced from each other.
Public Health Madison and Dane County issued the public health order on Friday. It stipulates that people at outdoor gatherings are still required to stay 6 feet (1.8 meters) away from each other, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The order also allows self-service food stations and public saunas to reopen.
The order came as Wisconsin's daily case count jumped to its highest mark since mid-February. Average daily cases have been on the rise, increasing by 24% over the last two weeks.
But health officials noted that Dane County has one of the lowest case rates in the state, despite its high population. Officials also cited the 89% rate of vaccination among people aged 65 and older in the county, saying it was “a critical step in protecting the population most at risk of severe outcomes and death.”
“We’re happy to take a step forward today, but we cannot let our guard down yet,” Janel Heinrich, the director of Public Health, said in a statement.