Oneida County Releases Northwoods’ Most Specific COVID-19 Guidance

May 15, 2020

Oneida County Health Officer Linda Conlon.
Credit UW-Madison

On Friday, the Oneida County Health Department set out specific guidance for the county in the absence of the statewide Safer at Home order.

The guidance allows for gatherings of a maximum of 50 people, bars to open with physical distancing, and the opening of theaters, hair salons, and pools with some capacity restrictions.

“Oneida County understands that to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to bring back our economy, we will need to implement a plan that phases an approach of reopening to assure a balance between community health and economic needs,” wrote Linda Conlon, the Oneida County Health Officer.

The state Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home order on Wednesday, removing gathering, business, and health restrictions across the state. That left counties to make their own orders and determinations to move forward during the COVID-19 crisis.

Oneida County’s new guidance seems to be the most specific and restrictive released so far in the Northwoods.

The guidance closely mirrors the Badger Bounce Back plan set out by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. It includes three phases for gatherings, business operation, and health practices. It also includes virus-reduction-related gating criteria to move from phase to phase.

“Based on the specific circumstances in Oneida County, my investigation of COVID-19 in Oneida County, and in partnership with the ‘Onward Oneida County’ Task Force, it has been determined that following a strategic phased approach to ‘re-opening’ Oneida County is necessary to prevent, suppress, and control COVID-19 in Oneida County,” wrote Conlon.

Conlon’s guidance places Oneida County in Phase 1 of COVID-19 recovery, with several areas in the less-restrictive Phase 2.

Those include:

  • Hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, day spas, tattoo parlors, tanning facilities - open with best practices
  • Gatherings: outdoor - 50 people maximum, indoor - with 25% capacity or 50 people, whichever is fewer
  • Bars - open with physical distancing and active monitoring of staff
  • Theaters, amusement parks, arcades, trampoline parks, bowling alleys and related establishments – open with 25% capacity or 50 people, whichever is fewer
  • Pools and water attractions - open with 50% capacity

Read the entire guidance document here. A related reopening toolkit is here.

See updates on guidance in other Northwoods counties here.