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RACINE – Reduced capacity limits for retailers, bars, restaurants, and other businesses within the City of Racine will take effect this Friday (Nov. 27) as public health officials attempt to slow the recent acceleration of the COVID-19 virus.

The revisions to the Safer Racine ordinance were announced Tuesday afternoon by Dottie-Kay Bowersox, Public Health Administrator for the City of Racine. The Safer Racine ordinance update, which applies to just the city, goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

Among the changes:

  • Retail establishments will be limited to up to 50 percent of capacity.
  • Restaurants and bars will be limited to up to 25 percent of capacity.
  • Indoor recreation facilities (including gyms, fitness center and bowling centers) will be limited to up to 25 percent of capacity.
  • Childcare centers will be limited to no more than 15 students per classroom.
  • Commercial offices will be urged to “facilitate remote work” for employees.
  • Places of worship will be limited to up to 50 percent of indoor capacity. Special events will be limited to 50 people on premises.

For full details and copies of the updated Safer Racine ordnance, visit:  Business descriptions and requirements start on page 12 of the document. 

Questions about the update to the Safer Racine Ordinance should be directed to the City of Racine Public Health Department at 262-636-9201 or Enforcement of the ordinance is done in partnership between the Public Health Department and the Racine Police Department. Enforcement actions can result in forfeitures and potential loss of licenses to operate. 

The Racine Public Health Department had previously ordered all public and private schools to be closed from Nov. 27 through Jan. 15, 2021. The Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty (WILL) is challenging that order on behalf of some private schools and parents.

In a news release, the Public Health Department noted that more than 3,400 new COVID-19 cases have been identified within the city since Labor Day. This represents an increase of 250 percent in just 2.5 months compared to the first six months of the pandemic, at a current positivity rate of 31 percent.

In addition, the city has reported 20 COVID-19 deaths since Labor Day, bringing the total number of deaths to 53. During the same time period, Racine County overall has identified more than 8,300 new cases, an increase of 300 percent, and has had 65 new deaths, bringing the total numbers of deaths to 157.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, after every major holiday, significant spikes in positive cases occur because individuals are not taking the personal responsibility to abide by best practices to ensure that they and others do not contract the virus,” Bowersox stated. ”Given that, the Public Health Department fully expects to see a sharp increase in cases yet again between Thanksgiving, “Back Friday”, Christmas, and the New Year.

“I am fully aware of the disappointment and anger that some in the community will feel at new measures and restrictions being issued. I understand that we are all ready for COVID-19 to be gone,” she added. “However, we will continue to have to make these tough decisions to slow the spread of COVID-19 until everyone in this community takes personal responsibility for slowing the spread of this virus. The community must realize that inconveniences now, like wearing a mask properly and not participating in family gatherings outside of your immediate household, are necessary to protect public health and save lives long-term.”


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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...