Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Nebraska, US, to lift additional movement and business restrictions, remove travel restrictions from other US states, June 1.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Omaha, Nebraska
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
  • North Platte, Nebraska
  • Scottsbluff, Nebraska
  • Grand Island, Nebraska

This alert began 26 May 2020 13:15 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nebraska (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions

Summary
Nebraska Governor Peter Ricketts issued measures to lift additional restrictions starting June 1, as part of the state's response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Starting June 1, only travelers entering Nebraska from abroad will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days; a requirement for travelers entering from other US states to quarantine will be lifted. Statewide, non-contact and limited-contact team sports may resume practices June 1, and competitions June 18. Rodeo may also resume June 1.

Starting June 1, officials will move Dakota, Hall, Hamilton, and Merrick counties to Phase 1 of the state's economic recovery plan, which includes:

  • Reopening of personal care businesses, such as barbershops and hair salons, with a maximum of 10 customers per facility, providing workers and patrons wear masks.
  • Restaurants may offer dine-in services, limiting capacity to 50 percent.
  • Childcare centers may open for up to 15 children per room.
  • Gatherings of more than 10 people will be banned.


Starting June 1, the rest of the state will move to Phase 2 of the economic recovery plan, which includes:

  • Gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed. Event venues such as indoor and outdoor arenas, stadiums, fairgrounds, zoos, tracks, conference rooms, theaters, pools, and libraries can accept a maximum of 3,000 people, provided venues do not exceed 25 percent of their maximum capacity. Any venue with more than 500 people must submit a reopening plan to local authorities, and have it approved, before reopening.
  • Bars can reopen, and bars and restaurants may allow a maximum of 50 percent of their capacity.
  • Gyms may allow up to 25 people, or 50 percent of their maximum capacity.
  • Personal care businesses may allow up to 25 customers, or 50 percent of their maximum capacity; workers and customers must wear masks.
  • Weddings and funerals may have up to 25 people attending.
  • Drive-in movie theaters may open at full capacity, as long as visitors remain inside their vehicles.


Parades, carnivals, and beer gardens will remain banned through at least June 30. All businesses that reopen must comply with specific mandates aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing guidelines, enhanced sanitation procedures, and the necessary protective equipment, among other guidelines. Essential businesses, including grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, fuel stations, and companies in the transport, media, security, energy, and critical manufacturing sectors, are allowed to remain open.

Authorities urge residents to limit their time outside the home, follow social distancing guidelines, shop alone, and only once per week and work from home whenever possible. Officials could extend or otherwise amend the orders with little to no advance notice depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures will likely accelerate in the coming weeks; however, officials may reimpose restrictions or extend them further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly comply with the directed health measures if operating in Nebraska. Consider allowing a liberal telecommuting policy, if possible; plan accordingly for increased absenteeism among employees who are parents or guardians of school-aged children.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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