Mayor Adds New Covid Restrictions

Photo courtesy of 10/11 Now

Lincoln, NE (November 24, 2020) Three additional deaths from Covid 19 in Lincoln Tuesday, and 226 new cases, set the stage for additional regulations, which were announced by Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird.  “What we’re dealing with now is uncontrolled spread in our community” said the Mayor.  “What’s clear is that we, collectively, need to do more to turn this around.”

The individuals who died were a woman in her 80s and a man in his 70s, who were both in nursing homes, and a woman in her 90s who was hospitalized.

The positivity rate of tests has been around 25%, she said, and the hospital system is stressed.  “I’d like to  stand before you and tell you a different story, but these numbers tell a different story.  We have no reason to believe our situation will get better without further action.”

Health Director Pat Lopez announced the following changes to her directed Health Measure, effective Wednesday:

  • Alcohol sales at bars that do not sell food are limited to carry-out.
  • Bars that sell food and restaurants must stop serving alcoholic beverages at 8:45 p.m. and must close at 9 p.m., but they may offer take-out and delivery for food and alcohol orders after 9 p.m.  These establishments must reduce occupancy to 50 percent, with parties of no more than eight spaced at least six feet apart.  No games such as pool or darts are allowed.  Patrons are to remain seated except to order or to use the restrooms and must wear masks when not seated.
  • Off-sale alcohol at bars and retail stores continues to be allowed per state law.
  • Gyms are limited to the greater of 25 percent occupancy or 10 people (excluding employees).  Individuals must maintain at least six feet of distance from others at all times, and no indoor contact or limited contact team sports like basketball or volleyball are allowed. This applies to all ages.
  • Indoor gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people, excluding employees. Gatherings in confined outdoor spaces are limited to no more than 25 people.  Exceptions – including schools, grocery and retail stores, offices and factories – are listed at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov.

Lopez said these existing measures remain in place:

  • All large events continue to be postponed.
  • Individuals must wear masks indoors unless no one else is in the same room and they can maintain at least 6 feet of separation from others at all times.
  • Indoor youth sports activities remain postponed until December 7, and this measure will be reevaluated before that date.
  • Religious gatherings, including weddings and funerals continue to be governed by the current State DHM.
  • Companies licensed to allow consumption of alcohol on city streets such as pedal pubs and party buses may not operate until after December 18.

For the third consecutive week, the COVID-19 Risk Dial remains in red, indicating that the risk of the virus spreading is severe.  Lopez said these key indicators continue to move in the wrong direction:

  • The seven-day rolling average of new cases has increased from 124 at the end of October to 278 at the end of last week, a 125 percent increase.
  • The number of new weekly cases has more than doubled from 890 for the week ending October 31 to 1,861 the week ending November 21.
  • The weekly positivity rate has also more than doubled from 13.3 percent for the week ending October 24 to 27.4 percent the week ending November 21.
  • The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized locally has increased from  84 on October 31  to 170 November 21.

“We have no indications that our case numbers, positivity rate, and hospitalizations have peaked.  We do not have reason to believe that things are going to get better without further action,” said Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird.  “We hear our health care professionals – the situation is critical. They need our support, and the only way we can protect our health care system is to turn these numbers around and prevent further illness that leads to hospitalizations.”

The Mayor said she is sympathetic toward businesses impacted by the restrictions, but said the City has no funds to help them.  She added that it would be up to the Federal Government to provide economic help.  She did say that individuals who need help paying rent or utilities can find sources on the City’s Covid 19 website.

As far as Schools are concerned, Lopez said she has been meeting with all administrators weekly, particularly with regard to the re-opening of schools after the Holidays.  She said safety and monitoring systems are in place, and should continue working as long as parents continue monitoring their children.

Also today, the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department announced that City recreation centers will have reduced hours while the COVID-19 Risk Dial is in the red position.  Schedule changes for youth programs offered at Air Park, Belmont, Calvert, and Irving centers will be announced if Lincoln Public Schools moves to remote learning. The schedules are as follows:

Air Park West Recreation Center, 3720 N.W. 46th St., 402-441-7876

Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Saturdays and Sundays, closed

Belmont Recreation Center, 1234 Judson St., 402-441-6789

Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Saturdays and Sundays, closed

Calvert Recreation Center, 4500 Stockwell St., 402-441-8480

Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Saturdays and Sundays, closed

Easterday Recreation Center, 6130 Adams St., 402-441-7901

Monday through Friday, 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Saturdays and Sundays, closed

“F” Street Community Center, 1225 “F” St., 402-441-7951

Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays 1 to 5 p.m.

Irving Recreation Center, 2010 Van Dorn St., 402-441-7954

Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturdays and Sundays, closed

Pioneers Park Nature Center, 3201 S. Coddington Avenue, 402-441-7895

Nature Center hours will not change.  Prairie Building is open 9a.m. to 4 p.m.  Monday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.  The Chet Ager Building is open 1 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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