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Eau Claire County Takes Step to Relax COVID-19 Limits

bigger public gatherings, more people in businesses now allowed

V1 Staff, photos by Andrea Paulseth

A drive-through COVID-19 testing event in Eau Claire in May.
A drive-through COVID-19 testing event in Eau Claire in May.

A new public health order allowing gatherings of as many as 100 people indoors and 250 people outdoors went into effect today in Eau Claire County.

The latest order from the Eau Claire City-County Health Department loosens numerous restrictions put in place in May as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The order became effective at the beginning of Thursday, June 25, the department said in a media release.

While larger planned gatherings are allowed, organizers are still required to gather contact information from attendees as well as to screen people for COVID-19 symptoms. The orders are part of Step D in the county’s “Responding Together Eau Claire Plan.”

Other components of the step include:

  • Public gatherings may have up to 100 people indoors and 250 people outdoors, with physical distancing between households maintained.
  • Door-to-door solicitation is discouraged, but not prohibited.
  • Recommended occupancy is 50%.
  • It is now recommended to limit the number of workers present on premises instead of required.
  • Self-service food and beverage operations and self-dispensing unpackaged food are now discouraged, but not prohibited.
  • This order requires physical distancing be regulated in smaller spaces where large groups may form, such as restrooms, coat closets, or other spaces.
  • Waiting areas at 1-on-1 personal services are now encouraged to remain closed, but not required to be closed.
  • Wearing a cloth face covering when physical distancing can not be maintained is strongly encouraged.

The health department said the order will last until July 8, when the situation will be reevaluated.

As of June 24, 170 Eau Claire County residents had tested positive for COVID-19 and an estimated 137 of them had recovered. One death in the county had been attributed to the disease.

The relaxing of restrictions came the same day that the health department announced that customers at two Eau Claire restaurants may have been exposed to the virus earlier this month. Then, on Thursday morning, they announced patrons at two bars may have been exposed as well. (See “Health Officials: Eau Claire Restaurant Patrons Maybe Have Been Exposed to COVID-19” and “Late-Night Water Street Patrons May Have Been Exposed to COVID-19.”)

You can read the full Eau Claire County order here.