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Much of Nebraska enters Phase 3 of coronavirus response

Posted at 7:13 AM, Jun 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 00:59:14-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — All of Nebraska is now in a new response phase.

Starting Monday, 89 counties, including those that make up the metro area, are in Phase 3. The remaining four counties, Dakota, Hall, Hamilton and Merrick are now in the second phase.

The third phase includes looser restrictions on bars and restaurants.

They can now have 100 percent capacity. Owner of the Green Room, Matt Owens, hopes the looser restrictions pushes some to his bar.

"I feel like the [vast] majority of people that were kind of holding out to go out and experience night life scenarios are going to be more apt to come out now," says Owens.

It also allows non-household members to attend sporting events.

Indoor gatherings are now limited to 50% capacity, up to 10,000 people.

Outdoor events events can have 75% capacity up to the same 10,000-person limit.

That includes youth and adult sports, including the Corn Belt League, which features players from various levels of college baseball.

The league can now have significantly more fans in phase three.

"Trying to get back to some normalcy and I think for the fans that come out and see the games, it's such an important part for the kids," says league director Joe Siwa.

"We put in these restrictions back in March to try to slow the coronavirus in Nebraska, and it's been very successful," said Governor Pete Ricketts. "We've been taking a step-by-step approach to loosening the restrictions to allow people to go back to a more normal life while still taking steps to make sure we slow the virus here."

Monday's looser restrictions include allowing all elective surgeries.

Governor Ricketts says how well the state adjusts to Monday's changes will determine when Nebraska will move into the next phase.

To see an outline of the Phase 3 changes, click here.