RACINE — On Thursday, 13 months and two weeks after the first COVID-19 restrictions were put in place in Wisconsin, capacity limits have been lifted in the City of Racine.
Only a couple restrictions are left in the city, like the wearing of masks when indoors and how government buildings are not open for the public as normal. Parks and golf courses are open, playgrounds can be played on and organized sports are allowed to be played, and concerts are kicking off again.
The reasons cited for the loosening are that the summer months, when people are more likely to gather outdoors than in, present fewer risks for the transmission of a virus like the coronavirus. Also, a growing proportion of the public has been vaccinated; as of Thursday, according to state data, 39.2% of Racine County residents have received at least one shot and walk-ins are being accepted at the state-run community-based vaccination clinic at Regency Mall.
“Like everyone in the community, I want to move beyond COVID-19 and return to normal life,” Mayor Cory Mason said in a statement. “When I look at the data, I am optimistic that we are moving in the right direction. If we can continue to build momentum, administer more vaccine, and continue to wear masks for just a little while longer, we can beat this virus. We can get parades, festivals, concerts, and all of the events we have missed for more than a year back — but first, we must get vaccinated.”
Indoor and outdoor capacity limits have been revoked “in venues and facilities for normal operations as long as 6 feet social distancing can be maintained,” according to an update to the Safer Racine ordinance released by Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox early Thursday afternoon.
The updates to the ordinance read, in full:
Increases indoor and outdoor capacity limits to 100% capacity in venues and facilities for normal operations as long as 6 feet social distancing can be maintained.
For indoor and outdoor mass gatherings and events, the total number of persons allowed on a premise (indoors and outdoors combined) will not exceed the 100% indoor capacity (based on occupancy permit) or 1500 persons (up from 200 persons), whichever is less, and is only permitted if social distancing of 6 feet can be maintained.
“The traffic is already there,” Gosa said, “but some people have to wait on their cars and miss out on the styles they want.”
Operating at full capacity will give each customer an equal opportunity to buy the clothing they’re coveting, Gosa said.
‘We still need to protect ourselves’
Both business owners, however, remained aware of the restrictions despite the new capacity announced: There would still need to be social distancing and masks in place. Both were in agreement to require masks and social distancing at their businesses.
“The downside is the 3-6 feet of distance,” Gosa said. “It’s hard to keep people at that distance. COVID is still a thing, and we still need to protect ourselves. I’m going to do everything I can to keep everyone safe.”
Roehre agreed: “Am I thrilled about going into packed places? No. But I’m going to be safe about it.”
Kelly Kruse, executive director of the Downtown Racine Corp., said the organization has 65 events already planned for the year. It has “already been safely and aggressively pre-planning events with the anticipation of these restrictions being lifted, as people become vaccinated,” Kruse said. “I am working closely with the merchants, and county and city officials to plan even more safe events that families and visitors can enjoy.”
53 photos showing what life has been like in Racine County throughout this infamous year: 2020
Two families ripped apart
Empty Walmart shelves
Restaurants closing & mask wearing
'YOU ARE INCREDIBLY SAFE TO GO OUT'
Two phones, no answer
Recounting the 12th
Racine Unified recount
Swinging on a closed swingset
ReOPEN WISCONSIN PROTESTS
NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN TESTING EFFORT
Thanking hospital workers: Ascension flyover
BACK IN ACTION, WITH A MASK
Waterford graduation 2020 with face masks for COVID-19
Black Lives Matter on Monument Square
BLACK LIVES MATTER
IN THE STREETS
SAYING HIS NAME
Marching for justice, peace
Kingdom Manna giveaway
Marching for justice, led by Carl Fields
Say their names
Burlington's first Juneteenth rally
Burlington's first Juneteenth rally
Zoom meetings and community discussions
Park High School drive-up graduation
Zoo beach erosion
Racine Art Museum reopens, with masks
St. Catherine's Prom
Fire during Kenosha protests
Unrest after Jacob Blake shooting, preceding Kyle Rittenhouse shootings
CIVIL UNREST AFTER OFFICER SHOOTING
Black Lives Matter debate takes center stage in Burlington
Capping off the globe
Dalquavis Ward convicted
Archbishop Jerome Listecki leads more than 100 faithful past scorched Car Source lot in Kenosha
Adam does a little bit of everything with the JT, from page editing to covering homelessness to localizing state & national politics. He grew up in Racine County, believes in the Oxford comma and loves digital subscribers: journaltimes.com/subscribenow
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Since late July 2020 when this photo was taken along Douglas Avenue, masks were required to be worn by healthy people over the age of 4 in the City of Racine when social distancing (i.e. staying six feet apart from other people who aren't in your household) was not possible. While that requirement remains in place, it is one of only a handful left in the city, since on Thursday businesses were again allowed to operate at 100% capacity.