Nebraska - COVID-19 Covered

Nebraska

Total Cases: 186,255 (January 23)
Tests Administered: 895,491 (January 21)
Fatalities: 1,878 (January 23)
Testing:
  • A list of Nebraska’s testing locations and schedules can be found here.  

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Retailers like pharmacies, grocery stores, and home improvement stores are not expected follow The White House guidelines to limit their establishments to 10 people or less because, “generally, customers of these businesses are not in close proximity to one another,” per the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. (March 16)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Nebraska released official reopening guidelines for select businesses and sectors. Details can be found here 

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • The Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services applied for the next round of Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer through the UDepartment of Agriculture’s Food & Nutritional Service. P-EBT is a federally funded program designed to support children who receive free or reduced-priced meals from their schools, but can no longer receive those meals due to remote learning. (September 9) 
  • Governor Ricketts outlined his plan for distributing $1 billion in emergency aid provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help struggling Nebraskans. (July 9) 
  • The Nebraska Department of Revenue announced that the economic impact of COVID 19 had forced the state to raise its gas taxes. Beginning on July 1, the state will raise the tax rate to 33.2 cents per gallon, up 3.9 cents. The rate increase will last until December 31. (June 24) 
  • Governor Ricketts issued an executive order (EO 20-17) that waived personal property tax penalties and interest until December 31. (April 9) 

Business Support & Resources:

  • Nebraska issued updated guidance for local governments seeking Coronavirus Relief Fund reimbursement, which allowed qualified applicants to seek “reimbursement for presumptive payroll expenses for public safety employees for the period of March 1 thru May 31.” (August 24) 
  • Nebraska put a portion of CARES Act funding into a Stabilization Fund for licensed childcare providers who stayed open during the pandemic, and to an Incentive to Reopen Child Care Program Fund for childcare providers that had closed. (July 8) 
  • Governor Ricketts announced that Nebraska would use $1.1 billion in funding received from the federal CARES Act to help small businesses, local governments, nonprofits and other groups hard-hit by the pandemic. (May 28) 

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Reopening:

  • Governor Ricketts announced the state would move from the Yellow Phase to the Blue Phase of its COVID-19 pandemic response plan. (December 23) 
  • Governor Ricketts and Department of Health & Human Services Incident Commander Angela Ling announced that Nebraska expected more than 100,000 COVID-19 vaccinations to arrive in the next few weeks. (December 2) 
  • Governor Ricketts announced that Nebraska would take a phased approach to public health restrictions based on the percentage of staffed hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients. (November 13) 
  • Nebraska issued a statewide Directed Health Measure on November 16 that temporarily halted elective surgeries that could wait four weeks or longer without substantially changing a patient’s outcome. (November 13) 
  • Governor Ricketts signed an executive order allowing certain local elected officials to attend local government meetings virtually when quarantine or isolation is ordered. The executive order would be in effect through December 31. (October 30) 
  • Governor Ricketts announced changes to statewide directed health measures that took effect on October 21. The Governor also launched a campaign to encourage Nebraskans to avoid the “Three C’s” to help slow the spread of the virus: 1) crowded places, 2) close contact, and 3) confined spaces. (October 16) 
  • All counties in Nebraskaexcept for Lancaster Countymoved into Phase 4, during which crowd capacity at indoor and outdoor venues would expand. (September 13) 

SCHOOL PLANNING:

K-12:

  • Catholic schools in the Omaha metro area plan to reopen their doors to all students this fall. (July 2) 
  • Nebraska Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt announced that the state’s public schools “should be able” to open in time for the coming school year. (May 8) 

State Higher Education:

  • A list of Nebraska universities and colleges planning to reopen in the fall can be found here. 
  • The Nebraska State College System created a plan under which schools must re-arrange physical spaces to allow for more room between persons, adopt screening protocols to detect symptomatic individuals and make PPE readily available. Schools must also ensure their academic community has timely access to testing. Multiple learning pathways must be made available to provide flexibility for instruction. (August 10) 

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at COVID-19@marathonstrategies.com