Weather Alert

Health Department Orders Directed Health Measures In Lincoln

LINCOLN-(KFOR Mar.  25)-The Lincoln-Lancaster Health Department ordered Directed Health Measures that further limit the opportunities for community spread of the coronavirus.

LLCHD will contact the impacted businesses directly with guidance on complying with the measures. As of 8 a.m. tomorrow, the following are not allowed in Lancaster County:

  • Gatherings of any reason of more than 10 people in single spaces, including schools, fitness centers and gyms, auditoriums, stadiums and arenas, large event conference rooms and meeting halls, theaters, and libraries. Daycare and childcare facilities will be allowed to operate with groups of 10 or fewer children. If more than on group of children is cared for, each group shall be separated.
  • Gatherings of any reason of less than 10 people in single spaces where a minimum of six feet between all individuals cannot be maintained, including, but not limited to, tattoo and massage parlors, barber shops, and beauty and nail salons.
  • Food and beverage sales at any dine-in establishments including restaurants, bars, taverns, and private clubs are restricted to drive-thru, carry out, and delivery only. This does not apply to food service in health care facilities. Alcohol sales are restricted to carry-out sales and delivery only, to the extent permitted by law. No on-site consumption of alcohol is permitted.

The Directed Health Measures also include a list of exceptions.  The measures do not apply to the following:

  • Courts of law, meetings or sessions of the Nebraska Legislature, or operations of any other political subdivision
  • Essential federal, state, county, and city operations
  • Election offices and polling places on an election day
  • Medical providers or facilities and  pharmacies
  • Public utilities
  • Logistics and distribution centers
  • Congregate living settings, group homes, residential drug and/or mental health treatment facilities, and shelters
  • Public transportation and airport travel
  • Necessary shopping at fuel stations, grocery stores and other retailers
  • Dwelling units housing ten or more related people.

Violating the Directed Health Measures in the Lincoln city limits is a city misdemeanor, subject to six months in jail, a $500 fine, or both.  In Lancaster County but outside the City limits, violations are Class III misdemeanors subject to three months in jail, a $500 fine, or both.

Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister told reporters the initial response to any investigation will be from the health department, not the police. If there is a violation found, the police will be contacted on a case-by-case basis. Chief Bliemeister asked the public not to call 911 or non-emergency numbers, but to report a situation to UPLNK either through the phone app or online.

The action is in response to the third lab-confirmed case of COVID-19, which was reported Tuesday. The male in his 50s became symptomatic March 11 and is currently hospitalized.  LLCHD officials said he has no travel history and is not related to the previous two local cases, so this third case is considered community acquired, the first case of this kind in Lincoln.

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said she believes Lincoln is fortunate to have already taken voluntary steps to curb the spread of COVID-19. For local businesses and employees facing hardship because of the pandemic, Mayor Baird said the city is working with Federal and State partners to provide access to resources that will help those impacted.

Mayor Baird added that because global testing is not available, it cannot be said for sure how many people have the virus. But, information about lab confirmed cases is accurate and timely. She said the measures that go into effect Thursday morning are not meant to inflict any damage, but are meant to protect Lincoln and its citizens.

READ MORE: 64 Cases of COVID-19 In Nebraska

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