Nebraska - COVID-19 Covered

Nebraska

Total Cases: 63,215 (October 25)
Fatalities: 595 (October 25)
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 
  • The State of 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, 2020 thru May 31, 2020.” (August 24) 
  • The state’s unemployment program focused again on reemployment strategies. Those people wishing to continue to receive unemployment benefits, including the $600 federal supplement available through July 25, must search for work, a requirement that had been waived in the state since March 15. (July 7) 
  • Governor Ricketts announced that local governments will not receive disbursements of $100 million in federal COVID-19 money allocated to the state if their “customers” are required to wear masks. (June 18) 
  • Governor Ricketts issued an executive order extending unemployment claims by those laid off by no fault of their own due to COVID 19. As part of this executive order, the Nebraska Department of Labor would only adjudicate the last separation from employment which resulted in the claimant’s unemployment. (June 2) 
  • Governor Ricketts and State Economic Developer John Goins announced that the state would be launching a task force to provide guidance on best practices for businesses that are ready to re-open. (April 29 

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) 
  • The Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services issued emergency supplemental allotments to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients who receive benefits for the month of July. (July 29) 
  • 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) 
  • Nebraska First Lady Susanne Shoreannounced the Nebraska Impact COVID-19 Relief Fund, which aims to help individual communities meet their local needs, through financial assistance for rent, mortgage, and utilities payments; provisions for food pantries; or supplies for students from low-income families now studying from home. (April 2 
  • Governor Ricketts issued an executive order to prevent evictions of Nebraskans significantly impacted by the coronavirus who are unable to pay rent. (March 25) 

Business Support & Resources:

  • Nebraska is putting part of the funding from the CARES Act to a Stabilization Fund for licensed childcare providers who have stayed open during the pandemic and to an Incentive to Reopen Child Care Program Fund for childcare providers that have 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) 
  • Governor Ricketts issued an executive order to expand childcare access by activating nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and schools. (March 26)  
  • Governor Ricketts announced eligibility of Nebraska businesses to apply for SBA disaster loans. (March 25 
  • Governor Ricketts announced that the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued a statewide economic injury declaration for Nebraska, qualifying small businesses throughout the state to apply for SBA disaster assistance loans. SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer low-interest rates and long-term repayment options, and specific terms are determined on a case-by-case basis. (March 20) 

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Reopening:

  • Governor Ricketts announced changes to the State’s directed health measures (DHMs) that will take effect statewide on October 21, 2020.  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 Countyhave moved into Phase 4, during which crowd capacity at indoor and outdoor venues will 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) 
  • Governor Ricketts and the University of Nebraska President Ted Carter announced students will be welcomed back to campuses next month to start the fall semester. (July 22) 
  • The University of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Global Center for Health Security have developed a recovery guide and checklist to help college leaders consider if they are ready to resume classes. (May 9 

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