Mayor announces new restrictions after first community spread COVID-19 case confirmed in Lincoln

Published: Mar. 25, 2020 at 11:35 AM CDT
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City of Lincoln officials announced the first case of community spread of COVID-19 in Lincoln as well as new restrictions.

The first case of community spread is the third confirmed case of COVID-19 in Lincoln. The individual is currently quarantined.

LLCHD is now monitoring 188 individuals and reports 146 negative tests and 3 positive with two cases pending. Nebraska now has 1,304 negative tests and 62 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird also announced new restrictions to go into place at 8 a.m. on Thursday.

Included in those restrictions are that gatherings of ten or more people are not allowed at certain locations and the restriction can be enforced by the law.

The restrictions will remain in place until May 6, city officials said.

"Gatherings for 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 one group of children is cared for, each group shall be separated. Gatherings for 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," according to the city.

Under the new restrictions, hair and nail salons will need to close because they can't keep a six-foot distance to perform their work. Large facilities with multiple rooms like gyms can stay open as long as they limit 10 people to a room and each person is six feet apart.

In addition, food and beverage sales will also be impacted by the new restrictions.

"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."

Baird said enforcement will start by the health department asking groups to disperse or businesses to comply, but Lincoln Police can issue a citation if individuals do not comply.

Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister said non-compliance is a city misdemeanor if within city limits, and is punishable by six months in jail or a $500 fine.

To report non-compliance, people are asked to use the UPLNK app.

"We will get through this together and we appreciate the collaboration and compliance of people across Lincoln," Baird said.

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