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RACINE – The City of Racine is not seeking to extend the Safter at Home order, but will be limiting mass gatherings and give guidance on how businesses should re-open to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In an email issued Tuesday morning, city officials clarified the difference between the Safer at Home order and the City’s Emergency Declaration after the issue when viral on social media.

SOURCE: City of Racine Health Department

Several residents responded to a post by Carrie Glenn, a Common Council member that implied the City was going to extend the Safer at Home Order. But it was inaccurate. The post failed to clarify that the Emergency Declaration does not continue the City’s Safer at Home Order, which has been in effect since March and extended through May 26. City officials extended the Safer at Home Order after the State Supreme Court struck down Governor Evers’ state-wide order last week.

What’s in the resolution?

The two resolutions — the emergency declaration order and order requiring permits for certain types of gatherings — will be discussed at the Common Council meeting, which is expected to be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 19, virtually.

The City’s emergency declaration order Common Council members will consider would, if passed, apply for state and federal funding for its internal operations.

“This is separate from and NOT an extension of the City’s Safer at Home order, which is set to expire May 26, 2020. Similarly, the extension of the City’s Emergency Declaration until July 31, 2020, is also NOT an extension of the City’s Safer at Home order – that emergency declaration governs internal City operations and allows the City to apply for state and federal funding,” according to a press release from Mayor Cory Mason’s office.

In addition to the emergency extension, City of Racine Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox said she is proposing an order requiring permits for certain types of gatherings. The order is necessary to slow the spread of the virus.

“As we continue to address the spread of COVID-19 in the community, we know that large gatherings present a direct threat to public health. One asymptomatic individual can infect dozens or more people and cause an outbreak,” she stated.

Cases on the rise

Racine has more than 700 confirmed cases of coronavirus, which includes 58 hospitalizations. A week ago, there were 460. Testing has increased significantly over the past few weeks, and in some cases, the percentage of cases has increased.

According to John Hopkins University, Racine County has 39 ICU beds, 343 staffed beds, and 476 licensed beds.

‘That is why today I have issued an order to stop all large events that require City approval until July 31, 2020. Events currently being planned or scheduled to happen after that date will be evaluated based on what the spread of coronavirus looks like in the community over the coming months.

“I also want to clarify that this order is in addition to and separate from the City’s extension of the “Safer at Home” order, which expires on May 26. Later this week, I plan to issue orders that will give businesses and residents guidelines on what will be a phased and gradual reopening of the local economy.”

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.