April 29, 2021 7:23 PM

Adam Duxter

Posted: April 29, 2021 7:23 PM
Updated: April 29, 2021 9:04 PM

MADISON, Wis. – Public Health Madison Dane County’s newest health order allows businesses to operate at 75 percent capacity, while indoor events with food/drink can be as large as 350, and without food/drink can be as large as 500.
For restaurants, the 75 percent capacity limit can be deceiving. While it’s a considerable jump from 50 percent capacity, social distancing requirements leave them with no places to put customers.
“As far as amount of people in here I don’t think it’s going to change a lot If you’re still having to social distance,” said Tonya Patten, owner of Draft House in Verona. 
Still, Patten says the change will be crucial in convincing customers it’s safe to come back and dine in person.

“It’s more of people feeling comfortable to come in and eat inside instead of carry out,” Patten said. 
The boost to indoor event capacity makes a noticeable difference for those in the event planning industry, including wedding venues like Barnwood Events in Fitchburg.
“I think once the 150 (person limit) came in place, we were really happy about that,” said co-owner Julie Wood. “At least we knew they could have a smaller celebration. Now that it’s up to 350, our capacity is actually 300, so we could have a full house so to speak.”
Like Patten, Wood says the biggest change is allowing the customer to feel confident in hosting their event.
“We still wear masks and everything, but people can feel comfortable that they can have their event (with the change),” Wood said. 
“I’m feeling positive,” Patten said. “Like every step that we’ve had or hurdle we’ve had has been a step in the right direction.”
You can find a full list of changes under the newest guideline, which begins Wednesday May 5, here.
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