Mifflin and Other Gatherings: Please Stay Safer at Home

‘Safer at Home’ is not just a state order — it’s the fundamental principle behind flattening the curve and keeping our community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s why we’re reminding our campus community about the importance of staying home and avoiding gatherings — like the annual Mifflin Street Block Party. The statement below is from our partners at the City of Madison Police Department, detailing the importance of staying home and what penalties you may face if you decide to defy that order and gather. You can find their full message posted online by clicking here.

This Saturday was to be the spring gathering largely known as the Mifflin Street Block Party. Over the past week, the MPD’s Central District Community Police Team has been letting area residents and landlords know that festivities will not be tolerated this year and that non-residents who gather will be cited. The fine for creating a public health nuisance is a minimum of $376.

“While MPD has historically taken a fairly tolerant view of the Mifflin Street Block Party, this year is different,” said Chief Vic Wahl, adding, “Any parties or gatherings occurring are in violation of the Governor’s ‘Safer at Home’ order. Please do what’s best for public health and stay home.”

Chief Wahl said if UW-Madison students are cited their information will be shared with the Dean of Students for possible school discipline.

“In the interest of health and safety of our entire community, it is our expectation that Badgers practice social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19. We are in this together and we know our Badgers will do their part,” said Christina Olstad, UW-Madison Dean of Students.

UWPD Chief Kristen Roman offered a similar sentiment: “Sacrifices have unfortunately become the norm during this difficult time – but we know these sacrifices are working to flatten the curve. I thank our Badgers for their continued social distancing, for abiding by the state’s Safer at Home order, and for doing their part to help keep the community safe and healthy. Our collective efforts will help us return to a more normal world more quickly so let’s stay the course together.”

Janel Heinrich is the Director of Public Health for Madison and Dane County. “Holding a gathering like the Mifflin Street Block Party during this crisis would go against the current orders and every public health recommendation we have. It would be extremely irresponsible and would certainly result in more COVID-19 cases in Madison, Dane County, and likely beyond as we know Mifflin has always been a destination.”

Traditionally, the party has attracted many non-students to the area, something Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway says just can’t happen this year: “I understand the desire to go outside as the days grow warmer and we enter a new season. But we are not out of danger yet. I join our Governor; our Public Health officials, and our partners at the University of Wisconsin in urging you all to protect yourselves – and the rest of our community – by avoiding public gatherings at this pivotal time.”