Today (Thursday, March 19, 2020), Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts announced the State’s first Directed Health Measure (DHM) for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The DHM imposes an enforceable limit on public gatherings. The measure comes after the Douglas County Public Health Department confirmed its second case of community transmission of COVID-19.
The DHM applies to all communities in Educational Service Units (ESU) #3 and #19 (Cass, Douglas, Sarpy, and Washington counties). It will be in effect until April 30, 2020. Full text of the DHM can be found by clicking here.
Among other steps, the DHM requires restaurants and bars in these areas to close their dining areas immediately and move to takeout service, delivery, and/or curbside service only until further notice. Additionally, schools in these areas are directed to operate without students in their buildings. This restriction does not apply to school staff working in school buildings.
Regions of Nebraska outside of ESUs #3 and #19 remain under the guidance issued on Monday by the Governor’s Office. You can find it by clicking here. If a community transmission case of COVID-19 occurs in other regions of the state, the Governor will announce DHMs covering the additional regions.
In addition to the DHM issued by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Douglas County Public Health Director Dr. Adi M. Pour has also issued an order covering Douglas County from March 18, 2020 through April 30, 2020. Full details of the order can be found on the Douglas County Health Department website (douglascountyhealth.com) or by clicking here.
UNDERSTANDING THE STATE’S DIRECTED HEALTH MEASURE
Who does the Directed Health Measure apply to?
It applies to places such as theaters, churches, houses of worship, gyms, social clubs, salons, and social gatherings, including weddings, funerals, concerts, and athletic events. This is not an exhaustive list, but illustrates the types of locations the DHM applies to.
Do I need to shut down my bar or restaurant?
At bars and restaurants, it applies to patrons, not to your workforce. Restaurants and bars are encouraged to ask their patrons if they can prepare their order for takeout upon arrival. Restaurants will play a key part in feeding people throughout the pandemic.
Do I need to shut down my daycare?
No. DHHS has issued new guidance that daycares need to follow. You can find it by clicking here.
Do I need to shut down my office?
No. The Directed Health Measure does not apply to places such as office buildings, grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes, correctional facilities, court houses, court rooms, banks, car dealerships, auto repair shops, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, small shops, golf courses, big box stores, gas stations, convenience stores, shopping malls, manufacturing facilities, packing facilities, construction jobs, and other traditional office settings. This is not an exhaustive list, but illustrates the types of locations the DHM does not apply to.
Furthermore, we do not expect these facilities to be impacted by additional limits at this time.
Do I need to cancel a wedding or a funeral?
Weddings and funerals are also subject to the 10-person limit. Event planners and facilities are encouraged to be flexible with people who are rearranging their plans.