Individuals and Families
Updated on 11/18/2020 at 10:30am
What's On this Page
- Understanding the risks
- Shopping and visiting establishments
- Seeing family and friends
- Considerations for children
- Going to work
- Romantic and sexual partners
- People at higher risk
All activities carry some risk. Just because something is allowed under current orders does not mean that there is zero risk of COVID-19 exposure.
- While precautions like wearing a mask and staying at least six feet from people you don't live with reduce your risk, they are not fool-proof measures.
- Consider how many people you are seeing day to day. The more people you interact and socialize with, the greater the chance you have of being exposed to someone with COVID-19. By limiting your social circle to less people, you will lower your risk of COVID-19. Current orders prohibit indoor gatherings with people you don't live with. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people or fewer.
- For example, even though we do not recommend children gathering outside of childcare facilities and schools, if you are going to anyway, consider creating a bubble among families so that only the same few children are playing together instead of your children having playdates with many different families.
- Think about who you in your life is at higher risk for COVID-19. If your job is to care for people who are immunocompromised or over 60 years old, for example, you may want to consider being stricter with your daily activities, even if you are not directly at higher risk of dying from COVID-19.
If you are not able or willing to follow the guidance we outlined below, then please consider all the ways in which you can lower your risk as much as possible. The more you can wear face coverings, limit the number of people you are seeing, and lower the amount of time you are within 6 feet of others, the safer we will all be.
- Stay home when you are sick or feel off.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wear your face covering when out in public.
- Stay a minimum of 6 feet away from others as much as possible.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Reduce your risk by limiting trips and using lower-contact options.
- Limit trips out by making a list and planning ahead.
- Use lower-risk options like delivery, curbside pick-up, and to-go orders.
If you do go out, reduce your risk.
- Keep trips short. Plan ahead with a list so you can quickly grab the things you need and leave.
- Stay 6 feet away from people who don’t live with you. Do not go out to eat with someone you don't live with, since you would both be sitting within six feet of each other.
- Wear a mask or face covering unless you are eating or drinking. Visit our masks page for more information.
- Carry hand sanitizer with you and use it often.
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home.
- Review the establishment’s safety measures before you go. Check their website or social media channels for information about the precautions they are taking. Consider reaching out and asking them how they are keeping people six feet apart, sanitizing their facility, or monitoring their worker’s health and safety. Learn more about what is required of businesses.
Avoid gathering as much as possible.
Virtual gatherings are the safest way to stay in touch with loved ones. Remember to physically distance from anyone who does not live with you. Current orders prohibit indoor gatherings with people you don't live with. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people or fewer, with physical distancing.
- Ask yourself, “Will we all realistically be able to stay 6 feet apart during this activity?” If the answer is no, then do not host or attend the event or figure out an alternative that will ensure physical distancing.
- Consider gatherings where it is possible to physically distance, including: bonfires, picnics (if people bring their own food and do not share food), yoga, hikes, and movie nights.
- Avoid gatherings where it would be difficult to physically distance, including: drinking games, potlucks, playdates and parties, and team games or sports.
- Wear a mask or face covering. Visit our masks page for more information.
If you do decide to get within six feet of others, take precautions that can help decrease your risk.
Remember that while precautions like wearing a mask and saying six feet from people you don’t live with can reduce your risk, they do not eliminate risk.
- Wear a face covering as much as possible. The more people who wear face coverings, the lower your risk will be.
- Go outdoors. A place with good ventilation will be less risky than a cramped or stuffy place.
- Don’t share food, drinks, utensils, cups, or anything else that might spread spit between people.
- Limit the time you spend within six feet as much as possible. Shorter get-togethers are better than longer get-togethers.
- Limit the number of people at the gathering as much as possible.
- Follow everyday prevention measures.
Check out our Thanksgiving guidance for tips on how to celebrate safely.
Limit the amount of people your child sees.
- In order to lower your family's risk of COVID-19, your child should not come within six feet of people they do not live with.
- If your child is going to come in contact with others, such as with child care, consider the following to lower your risk:
- Keep groups small. Smaller groups of children is better than larger groups of children.
- Make an agreement with other parents to keep your playdates to just two or three families. If only the same children interact, this may help lower their risk. This is called making a bubble or pod.
- If your child is above the age of two, consider a face covering when possible. Children age 5 and older are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces and indoor spaces where more than one household is present.
- Go outside or in a well-ventilated area.
- Identify activities that allow for spacing more of the time. Playing catch, for example, might keep children six feet apart more than if they were playing tag.
- Sanitize shared objects and your child’s hands often.
- Follow everyday prevention measures.
If your child goes to daycare or meets up with other children, take steps to avoid exposing them to others.
If your child is regularly exposed to other children or adults through playdates, child care, or other activities, you should limit your child’s exposure to others. This could mean:
- Not taking your child to the store with you.
- Limiting other outings that could additionally expose your family to COVID-19.
- Not getting within six feet of grandparents and other people at higher risk of COVID-19 complications.
Work virtually to the fullest extent possible. If you are able to work remotely, do so. Staying home is the best way to reduce your risk for COVID-19.
Stay home when you feel at all sick or different from normal.
You should not be going to work when you feel at all off or if you have any symptoms of COVID-19. If you do have any symptoms of COVID-19, you should not go to work and should go get tested at your doctor's office or a test site. The federal government passed the CARES Act, which provides paid sick leave to all employees who work for a company with less than 500 employees. The law allows you to take sick leave if you are experiencing symptoms and need to get tested for COVID-19.
Know what your employer is doing to lower your risk at work.
All employers are required to have policies around cleaning, hygiene, and protective measures (i.e., physical distancing). Learn more about workplace requirements and review this employee fact sheet for more information. If you feel that your employer is not implementing these policies in your workplace, please let us know by calling (608) 266-4821 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kissing, hugging, touching, and having sex with people you don’t live with can put you at a greater risk of COVID-19.
- Kissing can easily spread COVID-19. Limit the amount of people you kiss to a small circle of people you trust.
- Having one or two partners will put you at less risk for COVID-19 than having many partners. Keep your circle close and talk about how you want to prevent COVID-19 before having sex, just like you would talk about condoms, PrEP, or other safer sex topics.
- Consider ways you can be close with your partner(s) and meet sexual needs without getting within 6 feet. Phone, texting, and video calls are all good options, as well as masturbation alone or in the same room as a partner.
- Get creative with positions and physical barriers that allow for sex to happen without close face to face contact.
- Don’t have sex if you or your partner(s) feels at all off or has any symptoms of COVID-19.
- Consider wearing a face covering during sex.
- Getting tested for STIs and HIV is important for your health, even during a pandemic. Contact your primary care provider to get tested. If you can’t get tested there, our sexual health clinic offers free, confidential testing.
- Check out the New York City Department of Health factsheet for more strategies and tips.
All sports must comply with mass gathering limits based on the current order.
Courts and fields will remain open. Physical distancing is required.
All sports activities are mass gatherings and are prohibited inside among people that are not from the same household. Sports activities are limited to ten individuals who are not from the same household if played outside.
- Games and competitions are allowed for low risk sports if played outside and are limited to 10 individuals who are not from the same household. Low risk sports are those that can be done individually or with physical distancing.
- Games and competitions are not allowed between teams for medium and high-risk sports. However, games and competitions within teams would be allowed, if the events are modified to ensure physical distancing is maintained at all times, are played outside, and are limited to 10 individuals not from the same household.
- Indoor gyms, courts, swimming pools can operate at 50% capacity as long as no scheduled activities are taking place, people are using the facility on their own or with members of their own household, and 6 feet physical distancing is maintained at all times.
As a reminder, Public Health Madison & Dane County does not have authority over the UW-Madison campus, including Camp Randall football stadium.
Please see the Wisconsin Department of Health Services' recommendations for travel within Wisconsin, within the United States, and internationally.
People at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should continue staying home as much as possible.
If you are 65 or older, or have an underlying condition that puts you at more risk of COVID-19 complications, you should continue to stay home as much as possible and follow everyday prevention measures.
Other things you can do include:
- Continue taking your medication for your underlying condition(s), and do not delay seeking emergency care related to your medical condition(s).
- Keep at least a 14 day supply of medication on hand, and stock up on other medical supplies if possible.
- Have enough household items and groceries so that you will be comfortable staying in your home for a few weeks.
- Make sure you have more than one way to communicate in case of an emergency, such as a landline, cell phone, email, or medical alert system.
- If you have an in-home direct care provider:
- Ask your direct care provider if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- Have them wash their hands when they enter your home and before and after touching you.
- Both you and your care provider should wear a mask or cloth face covering if possible.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Plan what you will do if you or your direct support provider gets sick, and make a plan of who could provide backup care.
- Take care of your mental and emotional health. It is normal to experience more anxiety during this time. Ask family and friends to reach out to you regularly, and find support through Resilient Wisconsin.
- Check out the CDC website for more guidance for people with underlying conditions, older adults, and people with disabilities.
Businesses & Workspaces
See requirements for more information and guidance.