South Heartland District Health Department Releases Guidelines for Relaxed State DHM for South Heartland Counties

HASTINGS – On Monday, May 11, Governor Pete Ricketts announced plans for relaxing some of the directed health measure restrictions for the South Heartland Health District, which includes Adams, Clay, Nuckolls and Webster counties. These revised directed health measures (DHM) were issued today by the Governor and Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) for South Heartland District’s four counties and will be effective at 12:00 am on May 18, 2020 and continue until May 31, 2020.

SHDHD Executive Director Michele Bever said that SHDHD, NDHHS, and the Governor have been monitoring local trends in the rates of positive cases as well as indicators of hospital utilization and capacity.

“From the public health perspective, our trends are showing that the huge efforts everyone is making in our counties to practice social distancing and prevention are working to slow the spread of COVID-19 and are keeping our healthcare system from being overwhelmed,” she said.

“However, we are not yet out of danger for increased spread of the disease, so it is important to have a stepwise reduction in restrictions that can ease us toward some normalcy, while doing everything we can to continue actions that reduce the spread.”

Bever said that the health department will continue to monitor the rates of positive cases and deaths, as well as hospital utilization. “If our trends start to get worse, the restrictions may be put back in place,” she said.

“We want to emphasize the importance of following the guidance for reopening and we encourage restaurant and salon owners to review the guidance and follow it carefully. We want businesses and patrons alike to understand their risks and to do everything they can to assure they are providing or entering a safe environment,” Bever said.

Changes to the directed health measures that will take effect on May 18 for Adams, Clay, Nuckolls and Webster Counties will include:

  • Restaurant dining rooms are limited to 50 percent of maximum occupancy rating at a time. For Restaurant In-Room Dining Reopening Guidelines  / Guía de Reapertura de Restaurantes Tipo Comedor:
  • Beauty and nail salons, barber shops, massage therapy services and tattoo studios can open while maintaining the 10-person rule with employees and customers wearing masks. For guidance:
  • Childcare facilities will be permitted to have up to 15 children per room/space, an increase of five over the current requirements.
  • All other businesses currently ordered to close must remain closed until May 31, or until the orders are amended, including bars, gentlemen’s clubs, bottle clubs, indoor movie theatres, and indoor theatres.
  • Previously, Governor Ricketts announced churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other places of worship can resume services, weddings and funerals beginning May 4. Each household must meet a minimum of six feet of separation. Guidelines for the Conduct of Faith-Based Services Including Weddings and Funerals Held in Houses of Worship:
  • Previously, Governor Ricketts announced hospitals can resume elective surgeries on May 4 if hospitals meet certain capacity requirements. Dental offices, eye care clinics and veterinary clinics can also reopen.
  • All other restrictions from the previous DHMs will continue through May 31, 2020.

The revised state DHM for South Heartland counties may be viewed on the NDHHS website and is also posted on the South Heartland website

Bever said that SHDHD is working with cities and villages in the district to provide information and support for the businesses that are planning to reopen.

South Heartland District case counts by county are updated daily on SHDHD’s COVID webpage: The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provides daily updates to Nebraska’s coronavirus COVID-19 cases on their Data Dashboard at

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