LINCOLN – Governor Pete Ricketts announced Monday afternoon the next steps in the State’s phased plan to loosen restrictions that have been in place during the coronavirus pandemic. The new directed health measures (DHMs), easing restrictions on businesses and activities, will take effect June 22, 2020. Most counties in Nebraska (89 out of 93) will move to “Phase 3” of the reopening on June 22nd. Dakota, Hall, Hamilton, and Merrick counties will move to “Phase 2.”
Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) Commissioner Matthew Blomstedt also joined the Governor at this afternoon’s briefing. He stated that the NDE expects schools to resume instruction this fall with students in the classroom.
- Fan attendance for youth and school games changes to same limit as gatherings on June 22nd. (See below for details.)
- No longer limited to household members only.
- Contact team sports may begin practices and games on July 1st
- All restrictions on elective surgeries are removed from DHM starting June 22nd
Changes for all counties except Dakota, Hall, Hamilton & Merrick:
Starting June 22nd, the following guidelines apply to all counties except for those located in Central District Health Dept. (Hall, Hamilton, Merrick) and Dakota County Health Dept. (Dakota)
Bars & Restaurants
- Restaurants, Bars, Bottle Clubs, and Gentlemen’s Clubs remain open for dine-in.
- Patrons will be required to be seated while on premise unless they are placing an order, using the restroom, or playing games.
- May allow patrons at 100% of rated occupancy
- Maximum of eight (8) individuals in a party (groups larger than eight (8) will need to split into multiple tables.)
- Food can now consumed at bar seating.
- Self-serve buffets and salad bars are still prohibited. Venue staff must serve food directly to all individuals.
- Games such as pool, darts, arcade games, etc. are now allowed.
- Capacity will be limited to the following numbers:
- Infants to 3 year old – 15 children per room/space
- 3 year olds – 20 children per room/space
- 4-5 year olds – 24 children per room/space
- School-age children (K-12) – 30 children per room/space
- All other state provisions, statutes, and regulations, including child to staff ratios, still apply.
- INDOOR Gatherings will be limited to 50% of rated occupancy (not to exceed 10,000)
- OUTDOOR Gatherings will be limited to 75% of rated occupancy (not to exceed 10,000)
- Gatherings include but are not limited to Indoor or Outdoor Arenas, Indoor or Outdoor Auctions, Stadiums, Tracks, Fairgrounds, Festivals, Zoos, Auditoriums, Large Event Conference Rooms, Meeting Halls, Indoor Theaters, Libraries, Swimming Pools, or any other confined indoor or outdoor space.
- Groups shall be no larger than eight (8) individuals.
- Six (6) feet separation between groups is now “guidance” but no longer a legal requirement.
- Parades, carnivals, midways, dances and street dances, and beer gardens remain prohibited throughout Phase III.
- Parades where patrons remain in their vehicles and the public does not line the streets are permitted.
- Dancing at events is permissible if individuals remain at/near their tables/seats and keep social distancing between groups.
- Dance recitals are permitted but must follow the Gathering requirements.
- Plans for reopening or expanding to new capacity limits must be submitted to and approved by the local health departments for all indoor and outdoor locations/venues that hold 500 or more individuals (1,000 or more in counties over 500,000 population) before reopening is permitted. The reopening plan must contain planned number of guests, how the location will meet social distancing guidelines, and sanitation guidelines.
Gyms, Fitness Centers/Clubs, Health Clubs, & Health Spas
- Will be limited to 75% of rated occupancy.
Salons, Barber Shops, Massage Therapy Services, & Tattoo Parlors/Body Art Facilities
- Will be limited to 75% of rated occupancy.
- Both workers and patrons are still required in the DHM to wear masks at all times.
- An exception will be made for all services performed on faces. Patrons will be permitted to remove their mask while receiving services directly. The mask must be worn by the patron at all other times while on the premise.
Wedding & Funeral Reception Venues
- Maximum of eight (8) individuals in a party (groups larger than eight (8) will need to split into multiple tables).
- Self-serve buffets and salad bars are prohibited. Venue staff must serve food directly to all individuals.
- Limited dances or other social events requiring guests to gather outside of their respective tables will have further guidance issues.
Starting June 22nd, all counties located in Central District Health Dept. (Hall, Hamilton, Merrick) and Dakota County Health Dept. (Dakota) will be reissued DHMs with Phase II Requirements.
While schools are not currently in session for in-person instruction, Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) Commissioner Matthew Blomstedt says the state and parents should plan on in-person instruction in the fall. “Today is a significant day for us,” said Blomstedt. “We’ve said before that we hope schools can have in-person learning in the fall. Now, our expectation is that schools will have in-person learning this fall.
The NDE will continue to provide guidance for schools as they work on protocols to safely hold classes in the fall, posting best practices online at launchne.com.
“Schools are built for students,” said Blomstedt. “We’ve always intended to get students back in buildings. We’ll work to provide a safe environment for them as we prepare for the fall.”