Ricketts: 89 Nebraska counties to enter Phase 2 of reopening in June

Nebraska News

LINCOLN, Neb. (KCAU) – Governor Pete Ricketts announced Thursday that Directed Health Measures (DHM’s) in 89 Nebraska counties will be loosening in June.

Ricketts said all but two health districts in the state will be entering Phase 2 of reopening on June 1.

Dakota, Hall, Hamilton, and Merrick counties will begin Phase 1 of reopening in June with DHMs similar to what other counties saw in May.

Statewide DHM changes

  • Travel quarantine
    •  Starting June 1, only individuals returning from international travel will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon coming back to Nebraska.
  • Sports
    • Team sports have been categorized by contact level based on guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics (available here). 
    • Limited and non-contact team sports, for both youth and adults, may resume practices on June 1 and games on June 18.
    • Contact sports like basketball, tackle football, soccer, and wrestling remain prohibited.
    • Rodeos may also begin on June 1.  Rodeo events will be treated as “gatherings” under the new DHMs.

Phase II Reopening DHMs (apply to all counties except for Dakota, Hall, Hamilton and Merrick)

  • Gatherings
    • Gatherings will be limited to the greater of 25 persons (excluding staff) or 25% of rated occupancy (not to exceed 3,000).
  • Bars and restaurants
    • Restaurants remain open for dine-in, and bars can reopen.
      • Bars and restaurants are limited to 50% of the rated occupancy, with a maximum of six persons per table. Tables must be 6 feet apart.
  • Gyms
    • Will be limited to the greater of 25 people (excluding staff) or 50% of rated occupancy.
  • Salons, barber shops, massage therapy services, and tattoo parlors
    • Will be limited to the greater of 25 people (excluding staff) or 50% of rated occupancy.
    • Both workers and patrons are still required in the DHM to wear masks at all times.
  • Wedding and funeral reception venues
    • Will be limited to the greater of 25 people (excluding staff) or 50% of rated occupancy.
    • Self-serve buffets and salad bars are prohibited.  
    • No dances or other social events that require guests to gather outside of their respective tables are permitted.
  • Other group size and physical distancing limitations apply to the gatherings and venues above.  For full details of the “Phase II” DHMs, click here.

Guidelines already published in May regarding houses of worship, elective surgeries and day care will be extended into June and remain the same, Ricketts said.

Phase I Reopening DHMs (apply to Dakota, Hall, Hamilton, and Merrick counties only).

  • Gatherings—including gyms and event venues—remain subject to the 10-person limit.  
  • Salons, barber shops, massage therapy services, and tattoo parlors can reopen.  They are limited to 10 patrons.  Both workers and patrons must be masked.
  • Restaurants can reopen for dine-in, up to 50% capacity, with a maximum of six persons per table.  Bars remain closed.
  • Childcare facilities can have up to 15 kids per room/space, subject to the usual staff-to-child ratios.

In response to the newly announced DHM, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has created guidance documents for county fair officials and livestock show managers to utilize as they work to determine what their event may look like in 2020.

According to the NDA guidance, the decision to move forward or not, with a county fair or
livestock event, will be decided at the local level.

Guidance documents with more details will be published to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services website.

A Facebook post from the DHHS details the statewide DHM currently in effect for all Nebraska counties.

Current DHMs can be viewed in full here.


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