State of Emergency: What does it mean?

Posted at 6:50 PM, Mar 19, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A lot of questions remain on what a State of Emergency means after Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert made the announcement Wednesday. It changes a few different things, including for bars and restaurants.

"I feel like everyday is a different change. You set up three days ago for 50 people for St. Patrick's Day, then a few hours later you got to go down to 10 and figure that out and then the next day you got to go to zero and takeout only," said Kevin Culjat, owner of Rocco's Pizza & Cantina, and Lefty O'Tooles.

At Rocco's, the dining area is now closed and the restaurant is doing take out orders only, which has greatly hurt business.

"The biggest challenge of this whole deal is laying off all my employees. That's just a really harsh thing to do," said Culjat.

This comes after Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert declared a 72 hour state of emergency for the city on Wednesday in response to the second community spread case of coronavirus. The rule that allowed restaurants and bars to have 10 people or less inside is no more.

"Our Omaha Police Department is involved now in trying to enforce it and I also feel that it's as important that we are all driving the same message in that we are all in this together," said Stothert.

The State of Emergency also gives the mayor the power to establish a curfew, limiting the hours when people can travel public streets. It's important to note that has not been discussed at this time.

It also requires the closure of cocktail lounges, taverns and bars throughout Omaha. Dining areas in other places like Sarpy County were still open as of Thursday morning, but Thursday afternoon, a Directive Health Measure issued by Governor Pete Ricketts, that too has changed.

"We'll take every little bit we can right now. We're a small family business so just trying to make everything work together with the change on the environment," said Lea Watson, of Pint Nine, a brewery in Sarpy County.

Those that remain open, like Pint Nine, continue to stress the importance of take out or picking up orders. That State of Emergency was scheduled to last 72 hours, but the city council voted to extend it if needed.

If you're interested in placing an order at Pint Nine, here is their hours and contact info:

Monday – Friday 2pm – 8pm

Saturday 12 – 8pm

Sunday 12 – 5pm

They can call in or email – 402-359-1418 or for an order.

For Rocco's:

(402) 502-9893