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Racine releases reopening plan, restaurants will be able to open with 50% capacity Tuesday

Racine releases reopening plan, restaurants will be able to open with 50% capacity Tuesday

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Racine reopening plan

Racine Mayor Cory Mason addresses the media Friday morning as he, along with Police Chief Art Howell, left, and Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox, right, details the city's Forward Racine plan to roll back some of the local Safer at Home rules. The city is set to reopen for the most part on Tuesday at 8 a.m. 

RACINE — The City of Racine published its Forward Racine reopening plan on Friday morning.

The plan details how businesses in each industry present in Racine will, and won’t, be able to resume business starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

If Racine sees a spike in cases — the coronavirus spread in the city currently ranks among the fastest rates of spread for any city in the country — the reopening plan can be backtracked, according to Mayor Cory Mason and Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox.

“Make no mistake,” Mason said, “if the data shows us that we are going backwards, we will stop or back off on this reopening.”

Racine Police Chief Art Howell said that those who do not follow the city’s new rules will face citation and be identified publicly online for not following the order.

The plan will be re-evaluated on June 30, when more restrictions may be rolled back.

Racine is one of a handful of municipalities in Wisconsin with restrictions still in place after the Supreme Court overturned the statewide Safer at Home on May 13. Dane County’s “Forward Dane” plan shares many similarities with Racine’s plan, and also is to go into effect Tuesday.

The city is now facing two lawsuits calling for its Safer at Home to be overturned. City Attorney Scott Letteney says that Racine’s order is still legal, and that the Supreme Court’s decision only said that how Safer at Home was enforced was illegal. Since there still is an outbreak in the City of Racine, the local public health administrator is still allowed to make such an order.

New guidelines

Within the plan, restaurants will be able to open in-person dining with 50% seating capacity. All retail businesses will be able to reopen but must follow the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.’s general and retail guidelines.

Gyms and other “indoor recreational facilities” will be allowed to reopen Tuesday, but with a limit to only 10 people inside at any one time.

“Personal care establishments” such as hair salons or tattoo parlors will also be allowed to reopen by following WEDC guidelines.

Movie theaters and other “indoor places of arts and culture” will be allowed to reopen with capacity limited based on the square footage of the facility.

Zoos and farmers markets also will be able to reopen with capacity limited based on the square footage of the facility.

Private “mass gatherings,” such as weddings and banquets and funerals, are limited to 25 people and 6 feet of social distancing must be maintained.

Outdoor playgrounds, skate parks and splash pads will remain closed until at least June 30.


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“Like many in Racine, I will be closely watching which businesses are protecting their employees and their customers, and which ones are not. I will not hesitate to publicly acknowledge good actors and bad ones,” Mayor Cory Mason said. “If cases are traced to a business because of violations of this new order, we will publicly identify that business and they will be shut down.”

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