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Mayor urges community to take precautions as City of Racine reopens

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RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Tuesday, the City of Racine reopened under their “Forward Racine” plan that lays out the guidelines and restrictions for reopening Racine’s economy.

“Businesses are reopening, but that doesn't mean that we are out of the woods yet,” Mayor Cory Mason said.

From Friday to Tuesday morning, Mayor Mason said the city saw nearly a 25 percent increase in positive cases.

“We continue to be very concerned about the spread of coronavirus and just want to emphasize to people if you are going to go out, you have to maintain all of the safety precautions,” Mayor Mason said.

One of the businesses that reopened Tuesday was the Racine Zoo.

“I am feeling estatic,” Racine Zoo Executive Director Beth Heidorn, said. “Our animals have missed our guests, I have missed our guests, and I’m thrilled.”

The zoo is now open with limited hours and is only allowing 100 guests in with masks. All indoor exhibits are closed. Instead, visitors follow a one-way path past outdoor animals.

As of Tuesday, Racine salons can also reopen, and restaurants and bars can open at 50% capacity.

Gyms and bowling alleys can also reopen, but only 10 guests are allowed in at a time.

Castle Lanes runs largely on league bowling. The owner said the capacity limit is going to make it tough to stay in business.

“I do not like that I’ve been put in a group with no input that is stripping the livelihood of my employees, my business of 30 years, and my livelihood,” Phillip Ontko, Castle Lanes Owner, said.

Under the Forward Racine plan, Mayor Mason said as the city reaches certain benchmarks, like more testing and contact tracing, they will be bable to continue to loosen restrictions.

“We still need people to take every precaution as this continues to spread throughout our community,” he said.

One way the Mayor said people can support their local first responders and front-line workers is by continuing to practice social distancing and good hygiene.

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