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Gov. Ricketts announces next steps in Nebraska's reopening plans

Posted at 2:02 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 15:05:06-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) - Much of Nebraska will move into Phase 3 of the state's reopening plan on June 22, Gov. Pete Ricketts announced Monday.

Phase 3 will affect 89 counties. That's all counties but Hall, Merrick, Hamilton and Dakota. Those counties will enter Phase 2 next Monday.

Phase 3 will include sports and fan attendance for youth games. Attendance will not be limited to specific household members. Contact team sports can begin games and practices on July 1.

Elective surgeries will no longer be restricted at all. Ricketts says hospitals have the capacity to manage those.

Places like bars, restaurants, bottle clubs, and gentlemen's clubs will 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. Full capacity will be allowed. Food will be allowed at a bar setting.

Self-serve buffets won't be allowed but the server will be able to hand out food.

Childcare for children three years of age or younger will be limited to 15 kids per room but limits on the number of kids per space increases with age. For instance, school aged kids (K-12) will be limited to 30 per space.

Ricketts said children will be in the classroom for school in the fall. There will be guidance on how to safely open but decisions ultimately will be made locally by individual districts.

Indoor gatherings will be capped at 50 percent capacity with a max of 10,000 people. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 75 percent occupancy. Groups will be limited to eight and must remain six feet apart.

For gatherings over 500 people, organizers need to get approval from local health department. In Douglas County, that number is 1,000 people.

Gatherings include venues like arenas, stadiums, tracks, zoos, libraries and more.

Gyms, fitness centers, health clubs and spas will be limited to 75 percent capacity.

Masks will still be required for workers and patrons in places like salons and barbershops except when work is being done on the face.

For weddings and funerals, there will be a maximum of eight people in a party. Larger groups will need to be split into multiple tables. There will be limited dances or other social events requiring guests to gather outside of their respective tables.

Parades, street dances and beer gardens will still be closed.

Easing restrictions in long term care facilities was also discussed. Visitation, communal dining and group activities are being assessed, along with ways to group symptomatic or COVID-19 positive residents in the facility.

Screening for residents, staff and use of PPE will continue.

All facilities in Nebraska are in phase one; however, facilities will gradually head in the direction of phase two, which is less restrictive and allows for limited personnel entry.

Phase three in long term care facilities allows for visitation outside of compassionate care situations. Residents can take outside trips and volunteers can return.

Facilities must meet requirements for easing restrictions and must be in an equivalent DHM phase in their community.

If a specific outbreak occurs, facilities need to determine if moving to the next phase is appropriate or if they should move back to phase one.

Testing residents is important but will not be a requirement to move to phase 3. Residents can refuse tests while baseline testing in staff must be done before moving to the third phase.

Ricketts didn't announce a date for Phase 4 in Nebraska.

You can read the governor's full guidelines for phases 3 and 4 below, along with guidance for long-term care facilities

You can find all our coronavirus coverage here.