Cass, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington Counties Now Under Directed Health Measure from the State

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced the first state-level Directed Health Measure (DHM) in response to the current COVID-19 outbreak. Washington county is one of four counties included in today’s Measure.

Directed Health Measure means any measure, intended and directed to prevent or limit the spread of communicable disease or to prevent or limit public exposure to harmful environmental agents. DHMs carry the force of law, and the rules outlined in a DHM are enforceable by police officers.

This DHM imposes an enforceable limit on public gatherings; ten or fewer individuals can assemble – any more, and both the business/facility owner and members of the public can be ticketed.

Thursday afternoon’s DHM applies to all communities in Educational Service Units (ESU) #3 and #19 – Cass, Douglas, Sarpy, and Washington counties – and remains in effect until April 30, 2020.  Full text of the DHM can be found by clicking here.

Among other steps, this DHM requires restaurants and bars in these areas to close their dining areas immediately. Restaurants must move to takeout service, delivery, and/or curbside service only until further notice. Bars in these counties without food service must close. Schools in these areas, if not already closed, are directed to operate without students in their buildings.  This restriction does not apply to school staff working in school buildings.

Cass, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties are the only counties within this DHM, as of Thursday at 1PM. All other Nebraska counties and communities are still under the CDC and Governor’s guidance from earlier this week. You can find it by clicking here.

If a community transmission case of COVID-19 occurs in other regions of the state, the Governor will announce DHMs covering those additional regions.

Nebraska currently has 29 cases of COVID-19 infection in multiple regions throughout the state. To date, the United States has 11,238 cases with 157 deaths. Worldwide, there are 236,384 cases and nearly 10,000 have died.


Who does the Directed Health Measure apply to?

It applies to places such as theaters, churches, houses of worship, gyms, social clubs, salons, and social gatherings including weddings, funerals, concerts, and athletic events.  This is not an exhaustive list, but illustrates the types of locations the DHM applies to.

Do I need to shut down my bar or restaurant?

Restaurants must go to take-out, delivery or curbside service only. Your staff is allowed to come to work. Restaurants and bars are encouraged to ask their patrons if they can prepare their order for takeout upon arrival.  Restaurants will play a key part in feeding people throughout the pandemic.

Do I need to shut down my daycare?

No.  DHHS has issued new guidance that daycares need to follow.  You can find it by clicking here.

Do I need to shut down my business office?

No.  The Directed Health Measure does not apply to places such as office buildings, grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes, correctional facilities, court houses, court rooms, banks, car dealerships, auto repair shops, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, small shops, golf courses, big box stores, gas stations, convenience stores, shopping malls, manufacturing facilities, packing facilities, construction jobs, and other traditional office settings.

This is not an exhaustive list, but illustrates the types of locations the DHM does not apply to.

Do I need to cancel a wedding or a funeral?

Weddings and funerals are subject to the 10-person limit.  Event planners, vendors and facilities are encouraged to be flexible with people who are rearranging their plans in this unprecedented time.