Madison police to clamp down on Halloween and football celebrations


With no Freakfest this year and the Badger football season about to get underway, authorities are warning bars and those who may host house parties to comply with Dane County emergency COVID-19 orders.

Due to the COVID-19 global health pandemic, there will not be a Freakfest or any other city-permitted event the weekend of October 31, 2020, according to a letter issued by police and public health authorities.

Additionally, traditional autumn football gatherings, like tailgating and beer gardens, must be substantially curtailed, according to the letter sent to people in the Regent Street area, as well as Langdon, State Street and other heavy-student and establishment areas prior to the first UW football game. 

According to the letter, Public Health Madison & Dane County Emergency Order # 9 enacted on 09/1/2020 limits indoor gatherings to 10 people or less, not including employees, with physical distancing and masks; and, outdoor gatherings to 25 people or less, not including employees, with physical distancing and masks if in enclosed space.

"Under the Order, a business is subject to the 50% capacity rule (25% for restaurants) for everyday operations. If a business is going to have a mass gathering (e.g., meeting, training, conference, sports event, movie, performance, wedding), it must follow the mass gathering rules under the Order," Public Health Madison and Dane County Outreach Coordinator Christy Vogt says.

"House parties and other gatherings contrary to the order will not be tolerated. This letter acts as your formal warning," reads the letter portion from Interim Police Chief Vic Wahl. Party hosts could face fines of more than $1,000.

"UW–Madison continues to work closely with the city and county to ensure students understand the public health expectations and potential consequences for violations on and off campus. This is absolutely critical as COVID-19 remains a public health crisis. Students who violate these requirements face consequences up to and including emergency suspension," says UW Dean of Students Christina Olstad.

Jordan Simon-Wambach is general manager of both Sconnie Bar and Jordan's Big Ten Pub, both popular game day destinations that typically serve hundreds in their biergartens. This year, Simon-Wambach is encouraging customers to go online and secure reservations for that outdoor space. "Using that space, but more in a restaurant setting with everyone seated, spaced out," he says. "You aren't going to have people standing, jumping, dancing around."

Simon-Wambach says even with the COVID-19 restrictions, customers will be there for game day. "We're still hoping to do the best that we can to mimic the atmosphere."

To read more go to WKOW: https://wkow.com/2020/10/12/madison-police-clamp-down-on-bar-house-party-halloween-and-football-celebrations/