Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and Pat Lopez, Interim Director of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD), today said that the local Directed Health Measure (DHM) will be updated to align with the state DHM starting June 1. As of that date, the vast majority of businesses, including bars, will be allowed to operate with a 50-percent restriction on occupancy.
“As we continue to learn to live with this novel virus until a vaccine becomes available, we will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our community while taking steps to address the economic crisis we are experiencing,” Mayor Gaylor Baird said. “In this pandemic, those priorities of ensuring both our public health and our economic recovery are interwoven – one cannot be achieved without the other. The most recent changes provide a framework for how we can continue to achieve both and successfully navigate through a new phase of the pandemic.”
The new Lancaster County DHM will continue to provide industry-specific requirements for operation and will include the following provisions:
- Gatherings are limited to 25 people or 25 percent of occupancy, whichever is greater.
- At gatherings, restaurants and bars, groups must be limited to no more than six individuals, and at least six feet of separation between groups must be maintained.
- Bar patrons are to remain seated unless ordering drinks or using the restroom. Pool, darts and arcade games will be prohibited.
- All indoor and outdoor locations or venues that hold 500 or more individuals will be required to submit plans for reopening to LLCHD for approval. The plan must contain the planned number of guests and how the location will meet social distancing requirements and sanitation guidelines.
- Gyms, fitness centers and clubs, and health spas are limited to 25 people or 50 percent of occupancy, whichever is greater.
- Non-contact team sports can begin practice June 1, and games can begin June 18. Contact sports like basketball, tackle football, soccer, and wrestling remain prohibited.
- Vehicle parades and dance recitals are allowed, but other parades, midways, dances, street dances, and beer gardens are prohibited through June 30.
- No changes are being made to the measures related to childcare facilities or restaurant capacity
The mayor emphasized that during the pandemic, “The individual actions of our community members will continue to be the key to limiting the spread of the virus. We must continue to take care of one another, and thorough handwashing, physical distancing, and face masks are absolutely critical to doing just that.”
“We will continue to work with business and industry to assist them in making smart decisions about how to keep our community safe as we change some of our current restrictions,” said Lopez. “I encourage all community members to look to the COVID-19 Risk Dial to evaluate current conditions and take the necessary steps to protect themselves, their families, neighbors, and the community at large.”
The COVID-19 Risk Dial, which provides a color-coded depiction of local conditions, will be updated Friday. The dial is currently at the orange level, indicating a high risk of COVID-19 spread. The Mayor again urged the public to continue to follow safety guidelines despite the easing of limitations. Residents remain at risk of contracting the virus any time they are around others, and she encouraged them to continue to limit non-essential travel, to wear face coverings, to stay at least six feet from others and to wash their hands frequently.
More information on COVID-19 and the City’s response is available at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov. The website includes information on how those with symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested in Lincoln.