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Nebraska restaurants allowed to sell food like grocery stores

Posted at 10:30 AM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 11:31:21-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Governor Pete Ricketts announced a measure giving struggling restaurants a bit of needed relief.

Ricketts says that after the federal government removed red tape, restaurants can now sell bulk food.

These items include milk, eggs, bread, even paper products, just like a grocery store would.

“It’ll fit in where it fits in, where there’s a demand, where customers are saying, ‘Hey, can I get this from you because I couldn’t find it at the store,” says Zoe Olson, executive director Nebraska Restaurant Association.

Olson says her numbers show six percent of Nebraska restaurants will have to close down because of the pandemic. She hopes the new measures by Ricketts allows many of those doors to stay open and their employees to keep getting a paycheck.

For those used to getting carry-out, not much will change, it’ll be the same process.

“So you call and you say this is my order and they always say this is your total and this is when it will be ready, so it would be the same thing,” says Olson.

It’ll especially be useful in rural areas.

“Many of them don’t have grocery stores, there are very few grocery stores, so this is certainly a way for those communities to also get access to food,” says Olson.

Ricketts says those stores and restaurants have separate supply chains.

So there also could be more food on the shelves at grocery stores and possibly less people in them.

“This will help restaurants keep the supply chains strong by selling it directly,” says Ricketts.

Restaurants weren’t aware of the restrictions until the governor announced in the afternoon press conference, so it will likely be a few days until they can sell bulk food.