Gov. Ricketts announces new health measures to take effect Thursday

Nebraska News

FILE – In this Jan. 15, 2019 file photo, Neb. Gov. Pete Ricketts, with first lady Susanne Shore behind him, acknowledges veterans sitting in the visitor’s balcony during his annual State of the State address to lawmakers in Lincoln, Neb. Gov. Ricketts and first lady Susanne Shore have gone into quarantine after both were exposed to a person with the coronavirus, the governor’s spokesman announced Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik File)

LINCOLN, Neb. (KCAU) – Gov. Pete Ricketts announced that Nebraska is moving from the “yellow” to “blue” phase of its coronavirus pandemic response plan. 

According to a release, as a result, the State of Nebraska is issuing new Directed Health Measures (DHMs) effective 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, December 24, 2020.  The new DHMs change some of the restrictions put in place to help manage the coronavirus pandemic. 

Nebraska’s pandemic response plan links DHM restrictions to the percentage of staffed hospital beds in Nebraska filled by coronavirus patients.  The percentage is below 15% (7-day rolling average), which is the threshold for the State moving to the “blue” phase of its pandemic plan.

Moving from the “yellow” to “blue” phase involves the following DHM changes:

·       Seating persons in groups of 8 or less returns to guidance for restaurants, bars, wedding/funeral receptions, and other venues. 

·       The requirement for individuals at bars and restaurants to be seated unless ordering food, using the restroom, or playing games returns to guidance.

·       The maximum capacity for indoor gatherings goes from 50% to 75%.

. Only certain venues where people convene are considered “gatherings” under the State’s DHMs.  You can go to here and click on “Directed Health Measures” for details.

·       Elective surgeries can resume without restriction.

New DHMs will be posted on the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website in the coming days.  To view them, go here, and click on the link for “Directed Health Measures.” 

Executive Order 20-36 remains in force.  It gives public bodies the option to meet virtually by videoconference or teleconference through January 31, 2021.  Full text of the executive order is available by clicking here.

A chart comparing the color-coded phases of the State’s pandemic response plan is available by clicking here.

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