LINCOLN – At Monday’s press briefing, Governor Pete Ricketts announced Phase 3 of Directed Health Measures with more restrictions being loosened. Most of the state will be on this new phase except for Hall, Hamilton, Merrick, and Dakota counties. Those counties will move into Phase 2, which is what most of the state was on during June. Governor Ricketts announced new statewide directives for sports.
Fan attendance for youth and school games changes to the same limit as gatherings. They’ll no longer, for example, be limited to just household members.
There will also be no restrictions on elective surgeries at hospitals. For Phase 3, bars and restaurants will be able to have games, such as an arcade, darts and pool, will re-open along with some other changes.
Occupancy will now be 100 percent of rated occupancy. However, they will still have to have a maximum of eight people at a table. Food may be consumed at the bar. Self serve buffets and salad bars are still going to be prohibited, staff will have to serve food directly to all individuals.
Child care facilities will now have new guidelines as well.
Infants to three years old will be 15 children per room. Three year olds will be 20 children per room. Four to five year olds will be 24 children per room. And school age children, K through 12, 30 children per space.
Restrictions on gatherings were also loosened.
Indoor gatherings will be going up to to 75 percent of rated occupancy. Up to a maximum of 10,000 people. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 75 percent of rated occupancy.
Events that have more than those restrictions will have to submit a plan to the local public health department. Gyms, health spas, and fitness clubs will be able to go to 75 percent occupancy. Salons and barbershops must still use masks but they can also have 75 percent occupancy at a time now. Ricketts also talked about what Phase 4 will look like.
Very similar to Phase 3. With the exception is, that what I told you is all in the Directed Health Measure. That means it’s a misdemeanor violation to violate those. What we will be doing in Phase 4 is, by and large, we’re going to be taking all those things and moving them from the DHM into guidance, in phase 4. The one exception to that will be gatherings.
They do not know the timing of Phase 4 yet. It is also the expectation of Governor Ricketts that Schools will host students in the Fall. Commissioner of Education Matt Bloomstedt said schools should start planning for the Fall now.
To figure out what are all of the safe protocols that ought to be in place. The department of education will continue to provide guidance for schools. Guidance that can be found at www.LaunchNE.com. This guidance really will be helping find the best practices that are taking place.
More information on the new Directed Health Measure can be found at DHHS.NE.Gov.