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City of Madison says Halloween is on, but asks families to modify plans

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Halloween trick-or-treat COVID-19

MADISON (WKOW) -- The City of Madison isn't canceling trick-or-treating over concerns of COVID-19, but they're asking families to stay safe while celebrating.

"We're not recommending that we cancel Halloween. It's one of the few activities we can do outside," said Public Health Madison & Dane County Director Janelle Heinrich.

Public Health recommends going out only with members of your household, wearing a mask, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. If you choose to give candy out, leave it out on your porch instead of directly handing it to people.

Public Health Madison & Dane County recommends not holding a Halloween party this year. If they are held, a number of requirements must be met.

  • Indoor private gatherings must be limited to 10 people, not including household members. Everyone must maintain physical distance. Everyone must wear masks.
  • Outdoor private gatherings must be limited to 25 people, not including household members. Everyone must maintain physical distance. Masks are recommended. If outdoors in an enclosed space, like a park shelter, masks are required per the State of Wisconsin Emergency Order #1 PDF .

If you visit a restaurant or tavern:

  • Everyone must remain seated at physically distanced tables if they visit a restaurant. Restaurants are limited to 25% capacity and everyone must have a mask on when not eating or drinking.
  • Taverns may only provide outdoor service. Everyone must remain seated at physically distanced tables and have a mask on when not eating or drinking. Customers may enter bars only to order, pick-up, and pay for food or beverage.
  • Emergency Order #9 lists all requirements.

Public Health Madison & Dane County will be working with the City of Madison Police Department, the UW–Madison Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and UW Police Department, as well as with the City of Madison Attorney’s Office, to ensure compliance with the Public Health Order.

Individuals or businesses violating the Order may be issued citations. Under the relevant Madison General Ordinance, if a business violates the allowed capacity or an individual hosts a gathering, each person over the limit in the Order can result in a penalty of $1,000. For example, an establishment with an occupancy capacity of 100 is required under the Order to limit indoor capacity to 25%, which is 25 people. If this establishment has 100 people inside, they face a potential forfeiture of $75,000 plus court costs and fees.

“House parties and other gatherings contrary to the order will not be tolerated. The Madison Police Department expects residents will abide by it. Violators may be cited. Please stay safe, enjoy the night, but keep yourself and others safe during these unprecedented times,” said MPD Central District Captain Kelly Donahue.

UW–Madison students can also expect follow-up from the university if students violate the order.

“We expect our students to abide by the Public Health Order and to celebrate Halloween responsibly. We have seen the majority of our students wearing face masks, practicing physical distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and showing a commitment to take care of our community. Students who do not follow the expectations clearly defined in the Public Health Order will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards,” said Christina Olstad, Dean of Students at UW–Madison.

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