CLICK HERE FOR CONTINUAL UPDATES ON COVID-19 from various local entities.

CONTINUAL COVID-19 UPDATES BELOW THE PRESS RELEASE

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION
Sanitation COVID-19 UPDATE 3-26-2020
CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTABLE VERSION
UPDATED COVID-19 PRESS RELEASE 3-24-2020
CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTABLE VERSION

UPDATE - City of Scottsbluff

Unlike in some states, the City of Scottsbluff is not empowered to control how business conducts themselves.  We cannot directly control seating levels, delivery methods, hours of operation etc.

A reminder that recyclables will not be collected during the coronavirus threat.  Neither commercial nor residential. PLEASE HAVE YOUR TRASH CANS OUT ON YOUR TRASH DAY BY 6:00 AM

UPDATE- OFFICE of GOVERNOR

For Immediate Release:

9:35AM CT on March 25, 2020Media Contacts:  

Taylor Gage, 402-471-1970

Justin Pinkerman, 402-471-1967

 

Media Release:

Gov. Ricketts Encourages Business Flexibility during COVID-19 Emergency 

Gov. Ricketts (center-left), DED Director Tony Goins (center-right),

small business owner Natalie Micale (far left), and Duncan Aviation

Chairman Todd Duncan (far right) during a recent Facebook Live event 

Watch the video by clicking here. 

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts hosted a Facebook Live event to discuss ideas on flexibly continuing business operations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  He was joined by Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) Director Tony Goins; Natalie Micale, Owner of Oh Hello! ad agency; and Todd Duncan, Chairman of Duncan Aviation.  Business owners were invited to participate online and to submit questions electronically during the event.

Oh Hello! has created a “COVID-19 Lincoln Business Directory” which can be found by clicking here.  The Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA) has also created a resource that can be accessed by clicking here.

BUSINESS FLEXIBILITY IDEAS

Offer drive-up service to customers

  • Restaurants and bars have moved to takeout, curbside pickup, or drive-thru service. 
  • Traditional sit-down restaurants are adding phone lines to handle calls for delivery/pickup orders.
  • Local retailers are posting items for sale online, and then readying orders for curbside pickup.
  • Veterinary clinics have begun to offer stay-in-car services.  They will come get the pet from a vehicle, take the pet inside for a checkup, and then deliver the pet back to the vehicle after the exam.
  • Photography stores are offering online sales and giving customers the option to pick up curbside.

 

Deliver to customers

  • Traditional sit-down
    restaurant establishments and bars are delivering orders.
  • Consider how you can deliver your product to your customer.  Even cigar lounges are delivering cigars to customers.
  • Fitness centers are offering virtual classes.  YMCA has classes available on a YouTube channel.  Other gyms are offering free classes on demand.
  • Gyms are sending instructors to provide in-home classes to groups of 10 or less.

 

Modify normal day-to-day operations

  • Businesses are meeting virtually via teleconference or videoconference.
  • Food processing plants are taking temperatures of all workers at the door to ensure the health of their teammates at the worksite.
  • Large stores have marked off where customers should stand while waiting to checkout.  This helps to maintain the recommended social distance between customers.
  • Medical clinics are having patients check in from the parking lot and wait in their vehicles for their appointment.  This prevents patients from being bunched together in a waiting room.
  • Fitness centers are spreading out their equipment to allow up to 10 customers to work out at once.
  • Manufacturers are rearranging workspaces to space out their teammates during the pandemic.
  • Restaurants are offering gift cards with more value than the purchase price, while specifying that the cards must be used at a later date.  For instance, they’re selling $75 gift cards for only $50, provided that the cards are used after June 1, 2020.  This is helping their cash flow during the pandemic.

 

Video of the recent Facebook Live sessions are available by clicking here and clicking here.

 Justin Pinkerman

Executive Writer

 Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

OFFICE  402-471-1967
CELL  402-318-1467
justin.pinkerman@nebraska.gov
governor.nebraska.gov | Facebook | Twitter

UPDATE- OFFICE of GOVERNOR

Governor Ricketts has released a new weekly column, which is now available below.

The War Against the Virus

03/24/2020 09:52 AM CDT

It’s hard to believe how quickly the coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed our lives in just a matter of weeks.  I am grateful to Nebraskans for making sacrifices and taking precautions to help slow the spread of the virus and keep people healthy.  Nebraskans have been complying with limitations on social gatherings and practicing good hygiene.  These actions are vitally important as we seek to protect everyone from the virus, especially the most vulnerable people in our state. 

UPDATE- UNO

Below is information on the SBA Disaster Loan program.

  • Small businesses will have 3 opportunities to submit their loan application to SBA within 6 months.
  • Decline letters will also be sent the SBA District Director (Leon) who will triage them and refer the small businesses to resource partners as appropriate.
  • The top 3 reason for declining the EILD loan applications are: (1) credit score, (2) missing documentation, (3) lack of financials.
  • At this point, minimum credit score not set. It is a case-by-case determination by SBA.
  • Expected loan processing timeframe is currently 14-21 days. This will most likely change because SBA has never had a situation where all states/territories were hit by a disaster at the same time.
  • Please find the attached documents, the Disaster Application Flyer has a good “checklist” for needed documents for the application process.

If you have any questions over this please contact Spencer Rien via email.

Spencer Rien, MBA
Scottsbluff Center Director
University of Nebraska at Omaha
srien@unomaha.edu

UPDATE- NE Emergency Management Agency

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                       CONTACTS:

Jodie Fawl, Public Information Officer | OFFICE 402-471-7428  | 402-326-3179

Nebraska Joint Information Center Update

March 23, 2020 (LINCOLN, Neb.) While the response to COVID-19 is uppermost in all Nebraskans’ minds, it is important to remember that March 22-28 is Nebraska Severe Weather Awareness Week, and we all need to make sure we are prepared for the season.

When a tornado warning is issued for your area, you should take action to protect yourself and your family. Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building and make sure to avoid windows. Put as many walls between you and the outdoors as possible. If you are in a mobile home, a vehicle or outdoors, move to the closest substantial shelter, and protect yourself from flying debris.

While the need for social distancing is important in preventing the spread of COVID-19, you must respond to the immediate life safety needs surrounding the issuance of a tornado warning in your area. Seek shelter as soon as possible if a tornado warning is issued. Stay near your shelter when severe weather is imminent. Do not travel when severe weather is threatening.

For more spring and summer severe weather preparedness information visit: https://nema.nebraska.gov/operations/spring-and-summer-severe-weather-preparedness

Governor Pete Ricketts’ Office Gov. Ricketts’s news releases

The unicameral has reconvened for a three day session starting today and will vote on emergency need for the state.

Small Business Administration Designation:

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and its partners continue to track the unfolding outbreak of respiratory illness caused COVID-19 and anticipate its impact on Nebraska and its health care system. Nebraska case informationis updated as new numbers are available on the DHHS website. Current case numbers are:

  • Total number of cases: 52
  • Cases that tested negative 972 (Please note: case numbers are updated several times daily.)

DHHS reminds you of the importance ofFlattening The Curve - History Tells Us Why Community Mitigation Strategies Matter

The Nebraska COVID-19 Information Line is (402) 552-6645.  It is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST – every day.

  • State agencies are sharing information using the #NECOVID19 Hashtag
  • DHHS has produced COVID-19 Public Service Announcements which are available in Englishand En Español
  • Health Care Provider Information (HAN)

Stress and Coping https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html

The outbreak of COVID-19 may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about and your community stronger.

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations.  How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.

Things you can do to support yourself

  • Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

Here are some free behavioral health resources available for the public:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Talk with a counselor, a doctor, or a clergy member anytime of the day or week. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Interpreters are available as well.

Hotline: 1-800-985-5990 Messaging: text TalkWithUs to 66746.

More information: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline

Boys Town National Hotline

The Boys Town National Hotline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and is staffed by specially trained Boys Town counselors. This is a great resource for parents/caregivers and families.

Hotline: 1-800-448-3000. Email for speech- and hearing-impaired: hotline@boystown.org.

More information: https://www.boystown.org/hotline/Pages/default.aspx

The Nebraska Family Helpline

A great resource for families concerned about a youth experiencing mental or behavioral health issues. Assistance is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Helpline: 1-888-866-8660

More information: http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Nebraska-Family-Helpline.aspx

Nebraska Emergency Management Agency NEMA news releases  

NEMA is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to meet the demands for personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing supplies for the state through new acquisition, Department of Defense allocation or Strategic National Stockpile sources.

FEMA, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is assisting state, local, tribal, territorial governments and other eligible entities, with the health and safety actions they take on behalf of the American public. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, five territories and one tribe are working directly with FEMA under the nationwide emergency declaration for COVID-19.

To help the American public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to COVID-19, FEMA has created a Rumor Control page on FEMA.gov. The public can help control the spread of rumors by sharing our page: fema.gov/coronavirus.

Department of Corrections              https://corrections.nebraska.gov/ndcs-coronavirus-health-update

The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) is working to help minimize the transmission of COVID-19. Team members and people incarcerated in its facilities have been advised that sanitary precautions are currently the best defense against contracting the illness.

 

Department of Economic Development     https://opportunity.nebraska.gov/nded-covid19/

 

DED is working to inform and assist businesses during Nebraska’s ongoing response to COVID-19. Information for businesses is available on the DED website. DED is committed to serving Nebraskans facing financial challenges during this time, and understands that local economic leaders will play an important role in creating regional solutions for businesses and their workforce. The department’s Field Services Team is working with business leaders in these regions to address ongoing COVID challenges. 

 

Department of Environment and Energy               http://dee.ne.gov

 

The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy’s Wastewater Division would like to remind people that sanitizing wipes, baby wipes and even “flushable” wipes are not flushable — regardless of what the product states. Flushed wipes cause sewer system blockages, resulting in overflows from manholes and basement backups. This can lead to expensive repairs and damage to your municipal systems or homes. Please throw sanitizing wipes in the trash.

Department of Labor            Unemployment Insurance Information

Unemployment claims should be filed online atNEworks.nebraska.govor on the free NEworks mobile app. For more information visit:  Short-Time Compensation  FAQshttps://dol.nebraska.gov/PressRelease/Details/141

Department of Motor Vehicles        DMV news releases

The DMV has generated a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) documents to assist customers with how the Governor’s recent executive order may impact them. Answers to specific questions can be found under the News Releases section of the DMV website here.

Department of Revenue, Lottery   https://nelottery.com/homeapp/article/4220/display

Nebraska Lottery players with prizes up to $19,999 are encouraged to claim by mail. Instructions for claiming prizes by mail can be found at https://nelottery.com/homeapp/article/4220/display Regional Lottery Claim Centers in Grand Island, Norfolk, North Platte, and Scottsbluff are closed to the public, but Nebraska Lottery headquarters in Lincoln and the Omaha Claim Center are open. Call 402-471-6100 to confirm office hours before claiming a prize in person at these locations.

 

Department of Transportation

 

NDOT reopened all rest areas on Friday, March 20 in an effort to support those transporting vital goods and services across the nation to those who need it most. Contractors on site will clean and sanitize the buildings during normal daytime hours. Travelers are reminded to wash hands, avoid unnecessary touching of surfaces and to maintain social distancing whenever possible. Continue to check 511.nebraska.gov for updated information on availability.

Game and Parks http://outdoornebraska.gov/healthinfo/

  • Nebraska Game and Parks’ public buildings are temporarily closed to public walk-in traffic until further notice. A list can be found at http://outdoornebraska.gov/healthinfo/
  • All events and activities are cancelled through May 31 or until further notice.
  • State parks and recreation areas grounds remain open for day-use, fishing and recreation.  
  • Park permits, fishing permits, and hunting permits should be purchased in advance online at OutdoorNebraska.org.
    • In a proactive state and national effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the health of its customers and staff, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is closing viewing blinds to public access. The commission aims to protect its staff and customers by removing opportunities for crowds to gather at facilities and events and by maintaining clean areas that are available to the public.
    • Enjoying the crane migration is available by using several driving routes from North Platte to Hershey. Buffalo Bill Ranch State Recreation Area has a scenic drive-through where cranes can be seen flying across the North Platte River and feeding in the adjacent meadows. Early mornings and late evenings, you can watch the cranes fly over the North Platte River at Cody Park in North Platte. The North Platte/Lincoln County Visitors Bureau has a self-guided Sandhill crane driving route brochure, which is available from their office located at 101 Halligan Dr. or online at visitnorthplatte.com/outdoor-recreation/

 

Nebraska Attorney General’s Office COVID 19 Information

Attorney General Doug Peterson reports:  “During the COVID-19 health crisis, we are confident that Nebraskans will work together to look out and care for their family and neighbors. However, we caution consumers to be aware that fraudulent scams often occur during such crises. We encourage people to contact our office online (email: ago.consumer@nebraska.gov) or file complaints through our website: ProtectTheGoodLife.Nebraska.Gov  if they believe a scam or fraud is occurring. We will investigate, and when possible, prosecute to the fullest extent.”

The Attorney General’s Office remains operational at both locations with essential personnel. Phone lines are being answered. Nebraskans are encouraged to call, email or submit concerns online because of the necessary social distancing needed to protect the community. Consumer protection concerns are encouraged to be submitted via ProtectTheGoodLife.Nebraska.Gov. We have a designated page that will be updated with consumer information during response to COVID-19: https://protectthegoodlife.nebraska.gov/coronavirus-consumer-protection.

 

Nebraska Military Department

 

  • All unit training assemblies for the remainder of March and all of April have been postponed.
  • Mission critical activities continue, such as units preparing to deploy overseas and aircraft flight crews maintaining qualification.
  • The Army Basic Leader Course at Camp Ashland for March was accelerated and concluded March 21, five days ahead of schedule.
  • The Army Basic Leader Course scheduled for April at Camp Ashland will not be conducted in-person, but distance learning options are being evaluated.
  • Maintaining mission readiness and the health of our force are our top priorities, to be always ready when called upon, not only for COVID-19 response but other potential emergencies as well.

Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office

Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the Unclaimed Property Division offices are closed to the public. Treasurer’s Office staff are available by phone at 402-471-8497 or 877-572-9688 and will continue to process claims mailed into the Lincoln office or filed online.

 

Office of the Chief Information Officer Website

The OCIO askes Nebraskans to be aware that there are many reports of social media pleas, texts or calls related to COVID-19 and that all Nebraskans should avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments. They ask that everyone use trusted sources—such as legitimate, government websites—for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19. Tips for Using Caution with Email Attachments: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-010 Tips for Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-014

 

Public Service Commission

https://psc.nebraska.gov/for-consumers/psc-urges-carriers-pledge-keep-nebraskans-connected.

Telecommunications Carriers doing business in Nebraska are asked to take the “Keep Nebraskans Connected” pledge. The pledge is similar to the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected pledge only for Nebraskans. Carriers that have agreed to participate are listed at: http://tiny.cc/KeepNebraskansConnected

State Fire Marshal

Inspections of nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living facilities by the State Fire Marshal’s office have been suspended until April 8. In addition, training classes administered by NSFM training specialists are canceled through March 31.

Veterans’Affairs

A virtual visitor system to keep veterans’ home members and their families connected while the facilities are limiting entry has been launched by the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs (NDVA). Access to the four state veterans’ homes is currently limited to NDVA teammates and medical professionals only, as a precaution against COVID-19 exposure.

The Lancaster County Veteran’s Service Center is closed to the public. The office is open but no longer accepting walk-ins for claims assistance and other in-person services. Veterans with claims specific or other questions may request information via email at rringlein@lancaster.ne.gov or by telephone at 402-441-7361. Veterans can continue to get information about benefits by visiting www.lancaster.ne.gov/484/veterans-service-center.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

u County Courthouse Updates  https://nacone.org/pdfs/COVID-19/COVID%20-%2019%20Map.pdf

u Key Facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cdc.gov/COVID-19

FACT 1 — Diseases can make anyone sick regardless of their race or ethnicity. Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 can cause people to avoid or reject others even though they are not at risk for spreading the virus.

FACT 2 — For most people, the immediate risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.

FACT 3 — Someone who has completed quarantine or has been released from isolation does not pose a risk of infection to other people. For up-to-date information, visit CDC’s coronavirus disease situation summary page.

FACT 4 — There are simple things you can do to help keep yourself and others healthy.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

FACT 5 — You can help stop COVID-19 by knowing the signs and symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Seek medical advice if you develop symptoms AND have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 OR live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.

Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.

uResources collected by the Nebraska Association of Emergency Management:

Disaster Distress Helpline - TalkWithUs.pdf

disaster-distress-spanish-brochure.pdf

SCUS COVID19 Be Informed. Educate families. Take Action. 2020.pdf

SCUS Coronavirus and Kids Resources for Save the Children Fun Ways to Incorporate Math.pdf

SCUS Coronavirus and Kids Resources from Save the Children 10-family-learning-activities.pdf

SCUS Coronavirus and Kids Resources from Save the Children Our Picks - Free Eduational Websites and Apps.pdf

How to Talk to Your Grandkids About Coronoavirus Separation.pd

u RUMORS ADDRESSED

Please verify the source of all information you receive regarding COVID-19. Not all information shared online or via social media is accurate. Misunderstandings can cause confusion. Please do your part to make sure accurate information is being dispersed. The following are some of the rumors (myths) being circulated regarding COVID-19 as well as the verified information from the Nebraska Joint Information Center public information officers.

__________________________________________________________________________________

MYTH: Omaha residents have been asked to shelter in place.

FACT: There is no lockdown in Omaha

__________________________________________________________________________________

 

MYTH: The National Guard has been activated to lock down Omaha, cordon off Omaha or cordon off the four counties affected by the Directed Health Measure (DHM).

 

FACT: No, the guard has not been activated to lockdown Omaha or the four counties under the Directed Health Measure (DHM).

 

The DHM imposed an enforceable limit on public gatherings and applies to all communities in Cass, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties. The measure was a result of Douglas County Public Health Department’s confirmation on March 19 of a second case of community transmission of COVID-19.

 

The DHM will be in effect until April 30. It requires restaurants and bars in these counties to close their dining areas and move to takeout service, delivery and/or curbside service only until further notice. Additionally, schools in these areas are directed to operate without students in their buildings. This restriction does not apply to school staff working in school buildings.

__________________________________________________________________________________

MYTH: I need to stockpile as many groceries and supplies as I can.

FACT: Buy what your family needs for a week. Consumer demand has been exceptionally high for grocery, household cleaning and some healthcare products. Freight flows are not disrupted, but stores need time to restock.

_________________________________________________________________________________

u Every American has a role to play.

  • Do your part to prevent rumors by verifying the source of information.
  • You can also consider donating cash, giving blood or volunteering your time to help fight COVID-19.

 

Jodie Fawl - Public Information Officer

Nebraska Emergency Management Agency

2433 N.W. 24th St., Lincoln, NE 68524

¾ Phone: (402) 471-7428 ¾ Cell:  (402) 326-3179 ¾ Fax:  (402) 471-7433 ¾

UPDATE- OFFICE of GOVERNOR

For Immediate Release:

5:30PM CT on March 23, 2020

 

Media Contacts:  

Taylor Gage, 402-471-1970

Justin Pinkerman, 402-471-1967

 

Media Release:

Gov. Ricketts Announces Extended Tax Deadline, Overviews the State’s Continuity Plans                           

Gov. Ricketts (podium), DAS Director Jason Jackson (far left), and

Green Plains CEO Todd Becker (seated on right) at today’s press conference. 

Watch the video by clicking here. 

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that Nebraskans will have until July 15, 2020 to pay state income taxes.  For Nebraskans impacted by COVID-19, this change will give them additional flexibility.  Nebraskans who are not impacted by the virus should consider filing by the traditional April 15th date.

Jason Jackson, Director of the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services, joined the Governor to provide an update on the State’s continuity plans.  When possible, the State is allowing teammates greater flexibility to work remotely during the pandemic, while ensuring that Nebraskans continue to receive excellent service from all agencies.

During today’s briefing, Gov. Ricketts also noted that it is National Agriculture Week.  Throughout the week, he will highlight steps taken by ag producers and companies in Nebraska to serve the public during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Todd Becker, President & CEO of Green Plains, joined the Governor to talk about his company’s work to provide essential supplies to Nebraskans.  Green Plains, an ethanol producer, is donating industrial alcohol to the State for conversion into hand sanitizer.  In turn, the State will supply the sanitizer to cities and counties that need it.

ABOUT THE JULY 15, 2020 STATE INCOME TAX DEADLINE

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and actions taken by national health authorities to limit the spread of the disease, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently granted federal income tax relief to taxpayers.  The IRS has automatically extended the tax filing and payment deadlines for federal income taxes from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020.  The official release from the IRS can be found by clicking here.  

The State of Nebraska is providing this same income tax relief to state income taxpayers.  The tax filing deadline will automatically be extended to July 15, 2020 for state income tax payments and estimated payments that were originally due on April 15, 2020.   Nebraskans who are able to pay earlier are encouraged to do so to help the State manage its cash flow.

For Nebraskans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in ways that impair their ability to comply with their state tax obligations for taxes administered by the Nebraska Department of Revenue, the Tax Commissioner may grant penalty or interest relief depending on individual circumstances.  To request relief, please complete and mail a Request for Abatement of Penalty, Form 21, or Request for Abatement of Interest, Form 21A, with an explanation of how you were impacted.

Full video of today’s press briefing is available by clicking here.

 

Justin Pinkerman

 

Executive Writer

Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

OFFICE  402-471-1967

CELL  402-318-1467

justin.pinkerman@nebraska.gov

governor.nebraska.gov | Facebook | Twitter

UPDATE- OFFICE of GOVERNOR

For Immediate Release:

5:10PM CT on March 23, 2020Media Contacts:  

Taylor Gage, 402-471-1970

Justin Pinkerman, 402-471-1967

 

Media Release:

Gov. Ricketts Calls on Nebraskans to Donate Blood   

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts called on Nebraskans to make appointments to donate blood.  The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage as many blood drives are being cancelled across the country due to coronavirus concerns.

“The American Red Cross has been there for Nebraskans in our times of greatest need.  Now, I urge healthy Nebraskans to help the Red Cross and their neighbors by setting an appointment to donate blood as soon as possible,” Gov. Ricketts said.

Through March 17, nearly 4,000 Red Cross blood drives have been cancelled across the country due to coronavirus concerns, resulting in more than 100,000 fewer blood donations.  Some of these cancellations have occurred in Nebraska.

Organizations can safely host blood drives while adhering to social distancing measures.  By continuing to donate, Nebraskans can ensure an available blood supply for patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients suffering from cancer.

Eligible and healthy donors are strongly urged to make an appointment at https://www.redcross.org/give-blood.html to provide lifesaving blood products to patients. 

Justin Pinkerman

Executive Writer

Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

OFFICE  402-471-1967

CELL  402-318-1467

justin.pinkerman@nebraska.gov

governor.nebraska.gov | Facebook | Twitter

UPDATE - Scottsbluff PUBLIC SCHOOLS

An update from the Superintendent, Rick Myles
 
  Parents, Students, and Community,
  As you know from our own District communications and the overwhelming volume   and frequency of information we all receive from other sources, this   COVID-19 crisis is challenging everything we've come to take for granted   about our daily routines, about our lives, and about our futures. Schooling   is certainly one of those primary expectations that have been jolted.
   
  The closure of schools is dramatic. However, it does not mean the end of   education. Our staff is already developing and implementing plans with the   goal of continuing to support all of our students and families. 
   
  Thusly, along with all other Panhandle School Districts, we make the   following announcement only after much consideration, collaboration, review   of regional data, and, most importantly, informed advice from our   professional health advisors.
   
  After consultation with COVID-19 Unified Command, it has been   determined that all schools in the Nebraska Panhandle will be closed through   May 1st, with the possibility of schools being closed for the   remainder of the 2019/2020 school year.  This decision will be   re-evaluated as circumstances change, with parents and families updated   accordingly and extended as needed.  This is a precautionary measure;   there are currently no confirmed cases in the Panhandle; however, local   health and school officials are watching the COVID-19 situation in Colorado,   Wyoming, and South Dakota closely.  School Superintendents met with   Unified Command today and agreed this action would help prevent exposure to   our area to flatten the curve and decrease the spread of disease.   


  In order to preserve safety and to honor our responsibility to all of you to   help minimize the chance of community spread of the coronavirus, we need to   make some difficult decisions. Thusly   

    • All school buildings will         remain secured and closed. No adult or student admission.
    •    
    • Food distribution will         continue as a priority with locations and times continually assessed.
    •    
    • Further Chromebook         distribution and repairs are suspended immediately.
    •   


  Please continue to refer to our District website (sbps.net), regular   Health Updates, Remind messages and District Communications as well as (if   you have children in the system) the information provided by our school   principals and teachers. If you are not receiving these, please email info@sbps.net.
   
  Best wishes and thank you. We're all in this together!
   
  Rick Myles



UPDATE- OFFICE of GOVERNOR
Media Release:

Gov. Ricketts Announces Eligibility of Nebraska Businesses to Apply for SBA Disaster Loans 

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts welcomed news that the Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued a statewide economic injury declaration for Nebraska.  The declaration qualifies small businesses throughout the state to apply for SBA disaster assistance loans.

 

“As Nebraska steps up its efforts to combat coronavirus, we’ve limited the size of public gatherings and asked people to stay home when possible,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “These temporary measures are vitally important to public health, but they present challenges for the day-to-day operations of many small businesses.  Nebraska is grateful to the SBA and Administrator Carranza for offering much-needed financial assistance to our hard-working store owners and entrepreneurs at this time.”

 

“The hard work and creativity of Nebraska’s small business owners enriches our communities and grows our state,” said Nebraska Department of Economic Development Director Tony Goins.  “SBA loans will give small businesses the needed financial resources to weather the current pandemic and will set them up to thrive throughout the rest of 2020.”

 

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer low interest rates and long-term repayment options.  Specific terms are determined on a case-by-case basis.

 

Small businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size can apply for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan at disasterloan.sba.gov/elaApplicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or emaildisastercustomerservice@sba.gov

 

 

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) has teammates available to assist businesses with their questions.  Contact information for DED’s regional development team can be found on DED’s COVID-19 website at opportunity.nebraska.gov/nded-covid19.  The webpage also has information on SBA resources.

 

 UPDATE- NE Emergency Management Agency  

Nebraska Joint Information Center Update

March 19, 2020 (LINCOLN, Neb.) The State of Nebraska is working together in its response to COVID 19 including activation of the State Emergency Operations Center following a State Emergency Declaration by Gov. Pete Ricketts on March 13. While the Department of Health and Human Services is the lead agency for the state’s response to COVID-19, all state agencies are coordinating information and resources and working at the direction of the Governor in support of the state response.

Governor Pete Rickett’s Office Gov. Ricketts’s news releases

Today Gov. Ricketts announced the first Directed Health Measure in Nebraska for COVID-19.  The DHM imposes an enforceable limit on public gatherings and applies to all communities in Cass, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties.

The measure comes after the Douglas County Public Health Department confirmed its second case of community transmission of COVID-19. The DHM will be in effect until April 30. It requires restaurants and bars in these areas to close their dining areas immediately and move to takeout service, delivery and/or curbside service only until further notice.  Additionally, schools in these areas are directed to operate without students in their buildings. This restriction does not apply to school staff working in school buildings.

Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 Information | DHHS News Releases

The COVID-19 Hotline number in Nebraska is (402) 552-6645. State Agencies are sharing information using the #NECOVID19 Hashtag.

Nebraska Emergency Management Agency NEMA news releases

The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) at Nebraska Emergency Management Agency activated March 16 and NEMA officials and partner agencies continue to work together in response to the rapidly evolving health concerns surrounding COVID-19.

  • NEMA officials and partner agencies are monitoring conditions, fielding calls from citizens and community partners and locating resources to keep citizens safe.
  • NEMA is working with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Administrative Services on purchasing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to keep Nebraskans safe.
  • The SEOC will remain open as needed. Daily webinars and conference calls are providing situational awareness for state employees and partners while limiting the need for a large meeting.
  • NEMA is tracking cancellations and closures across the state, responding to requests for assistance from local emergency managers and developing a common operating picture to keep local officials aware of the evolving situation.
  • NEMA and state officials are working with the U.S. Small Business Administration on disaster assistance in the form of low-interest loans for small businesses suffering substantial economic injury because of COVID-19. Gov. Pete Ricketts submitted the request for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance Program and once Nebraska is officially designated, the SBA will submit information to all affected communities. For information:
    • Visit SBA.gov/disaster 
    • Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or
    • E-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
    • Local entities can and have been submitting emergency declarations to the state through NEMA so that should conditions change and state and federal assistance be needed, the local governments and schools can make requests for assistance without any undue delay.

 

Department of Environment and Energy   http://www.deq.state.ne.us/

The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy’s Wastewater Division would like to remind people that sanitizing wipes, baby wipes and even “flushable” wipes are not flushable — regardless of what the product states.

Flushed wipes cause sewer system blockages, resulting in overflows from manholes and basement backups. This can lead to expensive repairs and damage to your municipal systems or homes.

Please throw sanitizing wipes in the trash.

Department of Motor Vehicles   DMV news releases

DMV will no longer be conducting driving tests statewide until further notice and has taken steps to introduce social distancing at all state DMV offices. That includes limiting the number of people allowed in the lobby or asking customers to wait outside in their vehicle. DMV has dozens of services available online. Customers are urged to complete any possible transactions online. A full list of services is available at: dmv.nebraska.gov/services.

Office of the Chief Information Officer Website

The OCIO provided the following information to keep Nebraskans safe online.

  • Exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts or calls related to COVID-19.
  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments.
  • Use trusted sources—such as legitimate, government websites—for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19.
  • Look at the email address, not just the sender. A genuine email from a legitimate organization would have the organization’s name in the domain name, indicating that it is coming from someone at the organization.
  • Do not reveal personal or financial information in an email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information.
  • Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations.
  • Look for obvious grammatical errors and be wary of any emails that have implied consequences for failure to comply with demands.

Tips for Using Caution with Email Attachments: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-010

Tips for Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-014

State Fire Marshal

  • Inspections of nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living facilities performed by State Fire Marshal (NSFM) deputies are suspended until April 8.
  • Training classes administered by NSFM training specialists are canceled through March 31.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

County Courthouse Closures

The Nebraska Association of Government Officials (NACO) is updating a map of county courthouse closures at: https://nacone.org/pdfs/COVID%20-%2019%20Map.pdf

 

President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America

 

  • Listen to and follow the directions of your state and local authorities.
  • If you feel sick, stay home.
  • If your children are sick, keep them home. Do not send them to school. Contact your medical provide
  • If someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, keep the entire household at home. Do not go to work. Do not go to school. Contact your medical provider.
  • If you are an older person, stay home and away from other people.
  • If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition that can put you at increased risk (for example, a condition that impairs your lung or heart function or weakens your immune system), stay home and away from other people.

Check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on How to Protect Yourself.

Jodie Fawl

Public Information Officer  |  OPERATIONSNebraska Emergency Management Agency

OFFICE          402-471-7428

CELL             402-326-3179

jodie.fawl@nebraska.gov

nema.nebraska.gov  Facebook  |  Twitter   |  YouTube |  Flickr  | 

 
UPDATE- NE Game & Parks
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Game and Parks closing public access to wildlife viewing blinds

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. – In a proactive state and national effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and ensure the health of its customers and staff, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is closing the public crane viewing blind at North River Wildlife Management Area north of Hershey.

The Commission aims to protect its staff and customers by removing opportunities for crowds to gather at facilities and events and by maintaining clean areas that are available to the public.

A prairie-chicken viewing blind located south of North Platte, is a partnership between the Commission and the Nebraska Cooperative Republican Platte Enhancement (NCORPE), will also be closed for this season to help eliminate opportunities for the virus to be spread.

Enjoying the crane migration is available by utilizing several driving routes from North Platte to Hershey. Buffalo Bill Ranch State Recreation Area has a scenic drive-through where cranes can be seen flying across the North Platte River and feeding in the adjacent meadows. Early mornings and late evenings you can watch the cranes fly over the North Platte River at Cody Park in North Platte. The North Platte/Lincoln County Visitors Bureau has a self-guided Sandhill crane driving route brochure, which is available from their office located at 101 Halligan Dr. or online at visitnorthplatte.com/outdoor-recreation/.

Nebraska has many state parks, state historical parks, recreation areas and wildlife areas where people can get outside and enjoy nature this spring. These areas offer hiking, biking, fishing, camping, wildlife viewing, and places to explore. In addition, trout are being stocked in lakes across the state this month, giving anglers many opportunities to get out fishing, and the Nebraska spring archery turkey season begins March 25.

Keep up to date on all cancellations, postponements and closures for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, which are posted on the Commission’s website at OutdoorNebraska.org/healthinfo.

UPDATE - UNIFIED COMMAND

March 19, 2020                                                                                  For immediate release

For more information, contact:

Kim Engel, Director, 308-760-2415, kengel@pphd.org

COVID-19 Panhandle Unified Command: Anyone who travels outside the Panhandle is to self-quarantine

 

To limit spread in Nebraska, all travelers should self-quarantine for 14 days upon returning home and immediately report any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to their health care provider or public health. This means that if you travel out of the Panhandle, you need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return.

 

Returning travelers should assume that COVID-19 disease is present at the locations they have visited and traveled through and self-quarantine.

What does self-quarantine mean?

  1. Stay home from work, school, and away from other public places. 
  2. Monitor your symptoms carefully and immediately report any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 disease (fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore through) to their health care provider or public health. As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home.  Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available. 
  3. Avoid sharing personal items with other people in your household, like dishes, towels, and bedding.
  4. Clean all surfaces that are touched often like counters, tabletops, and doorknobs.  Use household cleaning sprays or wipes according to the label instructions.

Guidelines for what self-quarantine entails can be found at www.pphd.org.

Health care workers who return from travel should consult with a trained medical professional at their facility (infection preventionists or physician) and establish a specific infection control protocol that mitigates patient and co-worker exposures.

It is critical to remember, strict self-quarantine is necessary to flatten the curve. There are currently no cases of COVID-19 in the Panhandle.

People can help protect themselves from COVID-19 and other respiratory infections by: 

  • Social      distancing, staying 6 feet away from others. 
  • Washing      hands often with soap and water for at      least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based      sanitizer.
  • Avoid      touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with      unwashed hands.
  • Avoid      close contact with sick people and stay home if you are sick.      Social distancing has been key in reducing spread. 
  • Cover      your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or      sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean      and disinfect frequently      touched objects and surfaces.

Panhandle Public Health District will keep you posted in this quickly changing environment. We continue to monitor the unfolding COVID-19 epidemic to anticipate its impact on the Panhandle.  We are working as a unified command with Region 21, 22, and 23 Emergency Managers, and Scotts Bluff County Health Department on this evolving situation.  We will continue to communicate important updates to the public and our partners.  The CDC is putting out updated guidance daily; for the most up to date information visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. To learn more about COVID-19, go to https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.

Panhandle Public Health District is working together to improve the health, safety, and quality of life for all who live, learn, work, and play in the Panhandle.  Our vision is that we are a healthier and safer Panhandle Community. Visit our website www.pphd.org.

UPDATE - OFFICE of GOVERNOR

March 19, 2020

For Immediate Release:

7:10PM CT on March 19, 2020

Media Contacts:  
Taylor Gage, 402-471-1970
Justin Pinkerman, 402-471-1967

Media Release:

Gov. Ricketts Issues Executive Order to Provide Relief to Restaurants and Bars during COVID-19 Emergency   

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued an executive order to provide relief to restaurants and bars as they continue to serve Nebraskans during the coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19) pandemic.  In keeping with federal guidelines, the State of Nebraska has issued guidance that restaurants and bars are currently limited to 10 patrons as part of a nationwide social distancing effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.  

On March 19th, the State of Nebraska directed restaurants and bars in Cass, Douglas, Sarpy, and Washington counties to close their dining / seating areas and move to takeout, carry-out, or delivery only.  This action came after the Douglas County Public Health Department reported its second case of COVID-19 that officials could not trace to its origin (commonly known as a “community spread” case).

The Governor’s executive order will permit restaurants and bars statewide greater flexibility to serve Nebraskans during the current public health emergency.

  • Liquor Licensing – Establishments such as pizza parlors (Class A license holders) will be able to sell beer to customers on take-out or delivery orders.  Restaurants (Class I license holders) will be able to sell beer, wine, and spirits to customers placing take-out or delivery orders.
  • Sale of Alcohol – To encourage social distancing, restaurants and bars will be permitted to sell alcohol on drive-thru or curbside orders without customers having to exit their motor vehicles.
  • Temporary Operating Permits – Temporary operating permits will be extended from 90 to 180 days.
  • Waiver of Excise Tax Penalties – Excise tax payees still have the duty to file and pay the excise tax according to statute.  However, the executive order will waive penalties for late payments.
  • Payment of wine and spirit deliveries – Under normal circumstances, wine and spirit deliveries must be paid within 30 days.  The executive order will give restaurants and bars 90 days to pay for wine and spirit deliveries for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.  The requirement that beer deliveries be paid upon delivery is not changed.

Complete text of the executive order is available by clicking here.


UPDATE - OFFICE of GOVERNOR

Unlike in some states, the City of Scottsbluff is not empowered to control how business conducts themselves.  We cannot directly control seating levels, delivery methods, hours of operation etc.

A reminder that recyclables will not be collected during the coronavirus threat.  Neither commercial nor residential. PLEASE HAVE YOUR TRASH CANS OUT BY 6:00 AM ON YOUR TRASH DAY.

UPDATE - Gering Visitors Bureau

For Immediate Release: 12:55PM CT on March 19, 2020

 Media Contacts:   Taylor Gage, 402-471-1970
Justin Pinkerman, 402-471-1967

 

Media Release:

Gov. Ricketts Announces Directed Health Measure for Cass, Douglas, Sarpy, & Washington Counties   

 

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced the State’s first Directed Health Measure (DHM) for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).  The DHM imposes an enforceable limit on public gatherings.  The measure comes after the Douglas County Public Health Department confirmed its second case of community transmission of COVID-19.

The DHM applies to all communities in Educational Service Units (ESU) #3 and #19 (Cass, Douglas, Sarpy, and Washington counties).  It will be in effect until April 30, 2020.  Full text of the DHM can be found by clicking here.

Among other steps, the DHM requires restaurants and bars in these areas to close their dining areas immediately and move to takeout service, delivery, and/or curbside service only until further notice.  Additionally, schools in these areas are directed to operate without students in their buildings.  This restriction does not apply to school staff working in school buildings.

Regions of Nebraska outside of ESUs #3 and #19 remain under the guidance issued on Monday by the Governor’s Office.  You can find it by clicking here.  If a community transmission case of COVID-19 occurs in other regions of the state, the Governor will announce DHMs covering the additional regions.

In addition to the DHM issued by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Douglas County Public Health Director Dr. Adi M. Pour has also issued an order covering Douglas County from March 18, 2020 through April 30, 2020.  Full details of the order can be found on the Douglas County Health Department website (douglascountyhealth.com) or by clicking here.

UNDERSTANDING THE STATE’S DIRECTED HEALTH MEASURE 

Who does the Directed Health Measure apply to?

It applies to places such as theaters, churches, houses of worship, gyms, social clubs, salons, and social gatherings, including weddings, funerals, concerts, and athletic events.  This is not an exhaustive list, but illustrates the types of locations the DHM applies to.                                                                                                                             

Do I need to shut down my bar or restaurant?

At bars and restaurants, it applies to patrons, not to your workforce.  Restaurants and bars are encouraged to ask their patrons if they can prepare their order for takeout upon arrival.  Restaurants will play a key part in feeding people throughout the pandemic.

Do I need to shut down my daycare?

No.  DHHS has issued new guidance that daycares need to follow.  You can find it by clicking here.

Do I need to shut down my office?

No.  The Directed Health Measure does not apply to places such as office buildings, grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes, correctional facilities, court houses, court rooms, banks, car dealerships, auto repair shops, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, small shops, golf courses, big box stores, gas stations, convenience stores, shopping malls, manufacturing facilities, packing facilities, construction jobs, and other traditional office settings.  This is not an exhaustive list, but illustrates the types of locations the DHM does not apply to.                                                                                                                             

Furthermore, we do not expect these facilities to be impacted by additional limits at this time.

Do I need to cancel a wedding or a funeral?

Weddings and funerals are also subject to the 10-person limit.  Event planners and facilities are encouraged to be flexible with people who are rearranging their plans.

Taylor Gage

Director of Strategic Communications
Office of Governor Pete Ricketts
OFFICE  402-471-1970
CELL  402-499-8351

taylor.gage@nebraska.gov

governor.nebraska.gov | Facebook | Twitter

UPDATE - Gering Visitors Bureau

 MEMORANDUM – Gering Visitors Bureau                                       

Karla Niedan-Streeks, Executive Director - 308.436.6886 – karla@visitgering.com
TO:                  Gering Visitors Bureau Members and Tourism Partners

FROM:            Karla
DATE:             March 19, 2020
SUBJECT:      Bureau Update on Our Tourism Industry Amidst Covid-19

 First and foremost; your Gering Visitors Bureau thanks you, your staffs and everyone on the front lines of our tourism industry and business community for your resilience during these difficult times; and for doing all we can do to keep everyone healthy and safe while doing our best to maintain a level of optimism for the future.  Hang in there everyone!

 Some general information I want to share with our Members and Partners:

  • The Gering Visitors Bureau offices and the Gering Civic Center are open; I and Civic Center management staffs are working and keeping usual business hours; complying with all cleaning, sanitizing and social distancing practices.  Additionally, our health safety measures and efforts include:
    • Locking of the front doors with signs posted; entrance to the Gering Visitors Bureau Offices-Visitors Information Center and Gering Civic Center are by calling ahead-by appointment to comply with the 10 or less guideline and to limit person to person contact to only immediate necessary business transactions.
  • First part of this week; booked business for conferences, meetings, fundraising events and social functions-weddings for the next few months were calling to post-pone and reschedule their events to later in the summer and beyond.  I’m happy to say that 90% of those calls postponed and did not cancel their functions-events.
  • Our Bureau was working with the Nebraska Tourism Commission and Scotts Bluff County Tourism to co-host (32) group tour operators from the Select Traveler organization on a FAM trip to Western Nebraska March 19-22.  The FAM trip was cancelled; but our Bureau is finalizing a direct mail campaign with a new virtual tour video that we’ll be sending to those operators to “show them Gering-area” despite the cancellation of the FAM.  These operators develop and book group tours 1-3 years ahead; they too are staying in their offices planning for the future and we’re going to make sure our destination products and services are in the forefront of planning for their companies.
  • We’ll be using our new “virtual tour video” in the coming weeks-months to keep our destination and tourism amenities in the forefront of the minds of other ABA tour operators we’re in a business relationship, meeting planners and sport-tourism recreation planners.  These markets are long-term planning markets; we’ll encourage them visually with positive images and stories about our area so then can book with confidence for the future.
  • We’re in the process of making some adjustments to our website; www.VisitGering.com that will be both conscientious about our “sales outreach” in the current climate but still using messaging, video and good photography to encourage group business and visitors to plan ahead for visiting Gering and Western Nebraska when travel starts again.  The site will also keep local tourism industries and visitor markets apprised of attractions closing and amended operations due to the crisis.
  • The Bureau is in constant communications with our destination marketing organization colleagues statewide as well as the Nebraska Tourism Commission; we’re talking, sharing ideas and developing collaborations that will keep our tourism products in the forefront of meeting planners, tour operators, sports and recreation markets and leisure visitors.

As we finalize and implement these revisions in our marketing strategies; I will be communicating with our members and partners on both what we’re doing as your Bureau as well as sharing ideas of what other attractions and tourism services are doing statewide to keep tourism businesses afloat during this difficult time and beyond. 

Most of all; I want to reiterate that we’re all in this together and to encourage you to give me a call or ask me to stop by so we can share our concerns and ideas for the future.  This crisis is going to end; and I’m constantly encouraged that we have a long history of working together and tourism collaboration to get the job done and succeed.

Just as a reminder; here is my contact information if you want to reach me at any time to talk tourism:

Karla Niedan-Streeks

Office Phone:  308.436.6886
Cell Phone:  308.631.2313
Email Address:  karla@visitgering.com

 Also, amongst the great amount of information we’re all following and heeding about COVID-19; here’s a link to a good video that was put together by a Lincoln, NE physician and board of education member.  It speaks very specifically to why we are taking the actions we are locally, regionally and statewide. https://youtu.be/lUMuc-zMzS8

UPDATE - UNIFIED COMMAND

March 17, 2020                                                                                  For immediate release

For more information, contact: Kim Engel, Director, 308-760-2415, kengel@pphd.org

COVID-19 Panhandle Status Update

There are currently no cases of COVID-19 in the Panhandle. A number of
Currently implemented in the Panhandle to flatten the curve:

  • All callers must call 262-2764 to self-report before seeking medical care.
  • Schools have closed for two weeks with a reevaluation date of March 27, 2020.
  • Nursing homes are restricting visits.
  • Events and gathering to include: concerts, festivals, conferences, worship service/church, weddings, funerals, gyms, theaters, restaurants and bars, sporting, and other such events (not including worksites and grocery stores) are limited to 10 or less with the critical message to stay 6 feet away from others.
  • Many places are closing to the public to use this critical time for sanitizing and critical administrative planning.

It is critical to remember, these are all precautionary measures to flattening the curve during this timeframe.

There are currently no cases of COVID-19 in the Panhandle. Travel advisement

 We recommend that you call Panhandle Public Health District at 308-262-5764 if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread.

Residents are encouraged to review their family preparedness plans.

People can help protect themselves from COVID-19 and other respiratory infections by: 

  • Social      distancing, staying 6 feet away from others. 
  • Washing      hands often with soap and water for at      least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based      sanitizer.
  • Avoid      touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with      unwashed hands.
  • Avoid      close contact with sick people and stay home if you are sick.      Social distancing has been key in reducing spread. 
  • Cover      your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or      sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean      and disinfect frequently      touched objects and surfaces.

Panhandle Public Health District will keep you posted in this quickly changing environment. We continue to monitor the unfolding COVID-19 epidemic to anticipate its impact on the Panhandle.  We are working as a unified command with Region 21, 22, and 23 Emergency Managers, and Scotts Bluff County Health Department on this evolving situation.  We will continue to communicate important updates to the public and our partners.  The CDC is putting out updated guidance daily; for the most up to date information visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. To learn more about COVID-19, go to https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.

Panhandle Public Health District is working together to improve the health, safety, and quality of life for all who live, learn, work and play in the Panhandle.  Our vision is that we are a healthier and safer Panhandle Community. Visit our website www.pphd.org.

 UPDATE - UNIFIED COMMAND

March 15, 2020                                                                                  For immediate release

For more information, contact:
Kim Engel, Director, 308-760-2415, kengel@pphd.org
Panhandle Schools Close at Precautionary Measure

After consultation with COVID-19 Unified Command, it has been determined that all schools in the Nebraska Panhandle will be closed for the next two weeks. This decision will be re-evaluated on Friday, March 27, 2020, with parents and families updated accordingly and extended as needed.  This is a precautionary measure; there are currently no cases in the Panhandle. The State of Nebraska has elevated the risk assessment, and Nebraskans, in general, maybe at the same risk as travelers from other areas in the nation and other parts of the world. School Superintendents met with Unified Command tonight and agreed this action would help prevent exposure to our area to flatten the curve and decrease the spread of disease.

We ask that students and community members immediately begin engaging in social distancing.  There will be no practices or school activities during the 14 day period.  Unified Command has asked that anyone who has traveled to areas with community transmission of COVID-19 to self-monitor and self-quarantine.  At this time, there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Panhandle. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared that worldwide, including many states in the U.S, community transmission is occurring.  Some countries and communities have widespread, sustained transmission.

  1. This weekend it was confirmed the first case of community transmission in Nebraska.
  2. Our neighboring states are beginning to identify community transmission (Iowa) 
  3. Multiple large-scale exposure events have been identified in Omaha, which raises concerns about additional community transmission regionally and possibly statewide.

In light of these developments, we are modifying our risk assessment and the allocation of valuable public health resources. These updates are in reaction to the rapidly evolving epidemiology of this virus: community transmission changes everything. Nebraskans in general may soon be at the same risk as travelers from other areas in the nation and other parts of the world.

Public health recommendations for travelers: 

A.   All returning travelers have an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19

B.   All returning travelers should limit public interactions, practice strict social-distancing, and self-monitor for symptoms

C.   If a returning traveler develops fever or respiratory illness, they need to IMMEDIATELY self-isolate and report to a provider or call Panhandle Public Health District’s 24/7 line at 308-262-5764.

D.   Returning travelers need to track the publicly reported COVID-19 disease burden in the areas to which they have travelled through both the local/state public health departments and public media websites.  Areas with widespread sustained transmission, please see list below, are at increased risk and of special concern.  Such travelers should self-quarantine for 14 days and immediately report any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection to their health care provider. Individuals unable to observe the 14-day self-quarantine should consult with Scotts Bluff County: 308-630-1580, all other Panhandle counties: 308-262-5764.

E.    Health care workers with a travel history from an area with widespread sustained transmission or other high-risk exposure should consult with a trained medical professional (e.g. infection preventionist or physician) at their facility and establish an infection control protocol (e.g., home quarantine, self-monitoring, PPE while at work etc.) that mitigates the risk of patient and co-worker exposure.

Areas with widespread sustained transmission, are at   increased risk and of special concern.  Such travelers should   self-quarantine for 14 days and immediately report any symptoms consistent   with COVID-19 infection to their health care provider. Individuals unable to   observe the 14-day self-quarantine should consult with Scotts Bluff County:   308-630-1580, all other Panhandle counties: 308-262-5764.  Visit www.pphd.org for self-quarintine guidance.   

United States: Check here for updates - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html

California state counties

  •   Contra   Costa
  •   Los   Angeles
    •   Cities   of Los Angeles & Anaheim
    •   Riverside
    •   Sacramento
    •   San   Bernardino
    •   San   Francisco
    •   San   Mateo
    •   Santa   Clara
    •   Sonoma
    •   Solano
    •   Yolo

Colorado state counties

  •   Eagle
  •   Gunnison
  •   Pitkin  
  •   Summit  
  •   All   ski resorts

 

Houston, Texas

 

Iowa

  •   Carroll
  •   Dallas  
  •   Harrison
  •   Johnson
  •   Pottawattamie

 

New York state

  •   New   York City Nassau
  •   Suffolk

 

Reno, Nevada

 

Washington state counties

  •   King
    •   City   of Seattle
    •   Snohomish

 

Internationally: Check here for updates - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html

  •   China
  •   Italy
  •   Iran
  •   South Korea
  •   Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland,   France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania,   Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia,   Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City
 

We thank you for your cooperation, these are unprecedented times and it will take each person doing their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Students and families, please do not gather at alternate locations. Help keep our communities safe and protect our most vulnerable populations!

Panhandle Public Health District will keep you posted in this quickly changing environment. We continue to monitor the unfolding COVID-19 epidemic to anticipate its impact on the Panhandle.  We are working as a unified command with Region 21, 22, and 23 Emergency Managers, and Scotts Bluff County Health Department on this evolving situation.  We will continue to communicate important updates to the public and our partners.  The CDC is putting out updated guidance daily; for the most up to date information visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. To learn more about COVID-19, go to https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.

Panhandle Public Health District is working together to improve the health, safety, and quality of life for all who live, learn, work and play in the Panhandle.  Our vision is that we are a healthier and safer Panhandle Community.    Visit our website www.pphd.org.

 UPDATE - TWIN CITY DEVELOPMENT

Good Afternoon Western Nebraska ED leaders:

Over the past several days, DED and the Governor’s Office have started receiving requests from business owners (including health care practices) for potential resources to assist in navigating COVID-19. This is an evolving list, and I will send additional resources as they become available.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

U.S. Small Business Administration

SBA working with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Working capital loans up to $2 million to help small businesses overcome temporary loss of revenue.

https://www.sba.gov/disaster

Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html

Health Insurance – “Coronavirus – What Does My Health Insurance Cover?”

Nebraska Department of Insurance 

3/11/2020 Consumer Alert regarding communication with major health insurance carriers in Nebraska regarding COVID-19 benefits.

https://doi.nebraska.gov/sites/doi.nebraska.gov/files/doc/ConsumerAlertCoronavirus-WhatDoesMyInsuranceCover.pdf

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) COVID-19 Guidance

United States Department of Labor/OSHA

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/controlprevention.html#health

Short-Time Compensation (STC)

Nebraska Department of Labor

Helps prevent layoffs by allowing employers to uniformly reduce affected employees’ hours by 10 to 60 percent while permitting the employees to receive a prorated unemployment benefit.

https://dol.nebraska.gov/STC

Unemployment Insurance Benefits 

Nebraska Department of Labor

Certain requirements waived in response to COVID-19 (waiting period, requirement that one be seeking work and willing to take a new job, charges waived to employers for providing benefits to former employees). 

https://www.dol.nebraska.gov/UIBenefits

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

U.S. Small Business Administration

SBA working with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Working capital loans up to $2 million to help small businesses overcome temporary loss of revenue.

https://www.sba.gov/disaster

Brittany Hardin
Business Development Division 
Central and Western Nebraska Director, Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

 Nebraska Department of Economic Development

CELL 308-660-9111

brittany.hardin@nebraska.gov

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