Wisconsin State Capitol reopens to the public

    Capitol rally CC Stephen Conn CC BY NC 2 0
    Capitol rally by CC Stephen Conn CC BY NC 2 0

    The public will be allowed back into the Wisconsin State Capitol starting on Monday, after more than a year closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an email from the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA). 

    The public will have access to the building during business hours between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Visitors will be required to enter through the Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Ground Floor entrance. The building will remain closed on weekends and holidays. 

    Welcoming visitors back into the building is the first step of the DOA’s phased reopening plan. For now, the State Capitol tour desk will be staffed to provide information to visitors but tours will not be provided and the State Capitol Museum remains closed. 

    Visitors shouldn’t enter the building if in the past 14 days they’ve had any contacts with someone infected with COVID-19 or have experienced any symptoms of COVID-19. Masks will need to be worn in all common areas of the Capitol, including the rotunda, elevators, hallways and restrooms. 

    The decision to reopen the Capitol comes as more than 60% of Dane County residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 45% have completed their vaccine series. But Capitol visitors aren’t just Dane County residents and statewide only 35% of residents are fully vaccinated. 

    While members of the public are only now being allowed to return to the building, the Legislature has been holding its 2021-22 session mostly in-person. A large number of Republicans have refused to wear masks or follow social distancing guidelines.

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    Henry Redman
    Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.