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Bars and restaurants will face more scrutiny from health officials, police

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DANE COUNTY (WKOW) -- Dane County Health officials and police are planning stricter enforcement efforts at bars and restaurants because of increasing complaints that they are not complying with Emergency Order #9.

Right now, restaurants have to limit indoor capacity to 25 percent of legal occupancy due to concerns about the spread of Covid-19. Taverns can only have people inside to order, pick-up orders, provide payment or while in transit.

Public Health Madison and Dane County says the majority of complaints are for exceeding the 25 percent indoor capacity restrictions, employees not wearing face coverings or not wearing them properly, employees not physical distancing and customers not physical distancing.  

To respond, PHMDC and Madison police will shift their focus to enforcement to address violations of the current emergency order. 

The penalty is up to $1,000 per violation.

An establishment with an occupancy capacity of 100 is required under the health order to limit indoor capacity to 25 percent, which is 25 people. If the establishment is found to have 100 people inside, they face a potential forfeiture of $75,000 plus court costs and fees.

The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce says county health officials sent a letter to all licensed food and drink establishments in Dane County to inform them about the enforcement effort.

Violations could also lead to alcohol licenses being suspended or revoked.

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