Nebraska moves to ‘green’ phase, removes virus restrictions

The state is issuing new directed health measures that will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 30.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Gov. Pete Ricketts on Friday announced Nebraska is moving to the “green” phase of its coronavirus pandemic response plan.

The state is issuing new directed health measures that will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 30.

Moving from the “blue” to “green” phase involves the following DHM change:

·       The maximum capacity for indoor gatherings, including youth extracurricular activities, goes from 75% to 100%.

o  Organizers of gatherings of 500 or more people (1,000 or more in Douglas County), must still submit a reopening plan to their local health department—and receive approval—before holding their events.  Aside from this requirement, there are no restrictions on gatherings/venues in the “green” phase of the State’s plan.  However, guidance is still in place and recommended.

The new DHMs have updated quarantine requirements.

·       Nebraskans who’ve been fully vaccinated (received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine) do not have to quarantine after a close contact.  Instead, they will be in the “self-monitor” category, which involves wearing a mask for 14 days from the date of exposure and monitoring for symptoms.

·       Nebraskans who have recovered from the coronavirus in the past three months do not need to quarantine after a close contact, though they’re encouraged to monitor for symptoms.

The new DHMs also amend the definition of “close contact” to clarify that exposures start 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms or positive test.

The state bases restrictions off of the percentage of staffed hospital beds in Nebraska filled by coronavirus patients.  The percentage is below 10% (7-day rolling average), which is the threshold for the State moving to the “green” phase of its pandemic plan.

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

The changes do not impact the DHM in effect for Lincoln and Lancaster County. The current local DHM runs through Feb. 21.

Channel 8 spoke with local business owners in Seward to get their take on the changes.

“I think the community is definitely ready to come out,” Red Path Gallery and Tasting Room owner Alison Koch said. “We’re ready to see them as well.”

Koch says her business will allow customers to book the tasting room’s space for the first time in months once the restrictions go into effect at midnight. They still will take precautions, sanitize and require customers to wear masks.

Rue 6 owner Gregg Nelson doesn’t think his business will go to 100 percent capacity right away. He wants to take the time to talk it over with his staff and customers to make sure they’re comfortable with the big change. Overall, he’s happy things are starting to get back to normal.

“The governor and most of our local officials have done a great job managing us,” Nelson said. “It’s tough when you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, and there’s no right or wrong answer. I’m just happy to see some light at the end of the tunnel.”

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