(The Center Square) – Gov. Pete Ricketts on Friday announced that Nebraska is moving from the “orange” to “yellow” phase of its coronavirus pandemic response plan.
Effective at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, the new Directed Health Measures will change some of the restrictions put in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, protecting Nebraska’s hospitals has been the ‘north star’ guiding our strategic response to the coronavirus,” Ricketts said in a news release. “Coronavirus hospitalizations have decreased from where they were three weeks ago. As a result, we’re updating the State’s DHMs in keeping with our pandemic plan. The virus is still present in our communities, and we all need to continue using the tools we have to slow its spread. I especially urge Nebraskans to be mindful of at-risk loved ones when making plans to celebrate the holidays. Let’s all take personal responsibility to stay healthy and keep Nebraska headed in the right direction.”
Ricketts has tied restrictions to the percentage of staffed hospital beds in Nebraska filled patients suffering from COVID-19. The seven-day rolling average is now below 20%, which is the threshold for the state moving to the “yellow” phase of its pandemic plan.
In the yellow phase, Rickets announced:
- Fan attendance at extracurricular activities is no longer limited to household members of participants.
- Parties at restaurants and bars remain limited to groups of 8 or less. Individuals must still be seated unless ordering food, using the restroom, or playing games. Six feet of separation between groups returns to a guidance.
- The maximum capacity for indoor gatherings goes from 25% to 50%.
- Masks are recommended, rather than required, for establishments such as childcare centers, salons, barber shops, massage therapists, and body art studios.
- Elective surgeries can resume as long as a hospital keeps 10% of its capacity available to treat coronavirus patients.
Only certain venues where people convene are considered “gatherings” under the State’s DHMs. Go to dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus and click on “Directed Health Measures” for details.