Milwaukee coronavirus limits put pinch on DNC facilities

NOW: Milwaukee coronavirus limits put pinch on DNC facilities

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – With two weeks to go until the Democratic National Convention, we’re still waiting to learn what it will ultimately look like. A major issue that remains is the convention’s coronavirus plan. The Milwaukee Health Department’s current order has strict gathering limits in place.

Before the pandemic, the DNC was expected to bring 50,000 people to Milwaukee. That number has been scaled way back, and now that the convention has shifted to the Wisconsin Center, Milwaukee’s health restrictions could push the numbers even lower.

Sky drone 58 gave us a view of the facilities at the convention’s disposal. The Wisconsin Center. Miller High Life Theatre. U.W. Milwaukee Panther Arena. All together they have thousands of square feet of space and can hold thousands of people. But they won’t when the convention starts.

Milwaukee’s current health phase sets a hard cap at 250 people and requires gatherings to calculate even smaller groups based on square footage or occupancy limits.

CBS 58 ran the numbers.

The Wisconsin Center has ballrooms and meeting spaces, with over 188,000 square feet of space. But when CBS 58 calculated one person per 30 square feet as the health department says to, the combined ballroom could hold 1,250 people. Too many, it’ll have to stick to 250.

Blocks of meeting rooms can get more restrictive, some could be limited to 173 people.

The Miller High Life Theatre also has big spaces, but after applying the 30 square foot rule, the main hall and rotunda will likely have to with 250 people. Plankinton and Kilbourn Halls would have to go lower than that, 204 and 132 people respectively.

Which leaves the U.W. Milwaukee Panther arena. It has plenty of space but again, it too would hold too many people and would face the health department’s 250 person cap.

The health department told the news media a couple of weeks ago it was working on a place for the DNC. That plan may change these calculations, but it has yet to release the details.

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