At his May 21 daily coronavirus briefing, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that new directed health measures (DHMs) will take effect on June 1.
“Phase I” reopening DHMs will apply to the Central District Health Department (Hall, Hamilton, and Merrick counties) and Dakota County. “Phase II” reopening DHMs, which are less restrictive, will apply to the rest of Nebraska.
Steve Martin, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN), joined the Governor this afternoon. He talked about AFAN’s new grant program to provide food pantries with freezers and refrigerators. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture, an AFAN member, played a key role in developing the program. AFAN’s cold storage grants will give food pantries greater ability to provide perishable items, like milk or meat, to customers.
Gov. Ricketts: New Directed Health Measures
I want to thank Nebraskans who have followed our “Six Rules to Keep Nebraska Healthy” over the past two months.
By cooperating together, we’ve made great progress to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Today, we are announcing changes to the State’s DHMs. They will take effect on June 1.
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. 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 percent 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 percent of the rated occupancy, with a maximum of six persons per table.
Gyms: Will be limited to the greater of 25 people (excluding staff) or 50 percent 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 percent 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 percent 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.
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 percent 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.
Steve Martin: AFAN Food Pantry Grant Program
Due to the stresses of coronavirus, the demand on food pantries has skyrocketed.
At the same time, dairy producers have had to dump milk due to market disruptions.
A farmer near Wayne had the idea of buying milk to donate to his local food pantry. However, the pantry didn’t have refrigeration for it.
The farmer then worked with his local dairy association to provide refrigeration to the pantry.
AFAN joined forces with Midwest Dairy to create a grant fund for 25 additional food pantries.
These pantries serve more than 40,000 people every month.
We’re now rolling out the grant program statewide.
The grant is up to $4,000 per food pantry to purchase refrigerators and freezers, along with the associated delivery and installation costs.
The grant application is online at our website (www.becomeafan.org). The deadline to submit an application is June 22.
Anyone interested in donating to help fund the grant program should also visit our website (https://becomeafan.org/).