Nebraska kicks off 1st day of lighter virus restrictions

Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 10:37 AM CDT
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Nebraska bars, zoos, swimming pools and other public venues were allowed to reopen Monday even as the coronavirus pandemic continues to loom as a major public health threat.

The new, lighter restrictions approved by Gov. Pete Ricketts went into effect in 89 of Nebraska’s 93 counties.

The new rules will also allow non-contact sports such as baseball, softball and volleyball to resume practices on Monday, and games can begin on June 18. Rodeos can also resume Monday, but contact sports such as football, basketball and wrestling will remain prohibited.

Ricketts imposed the rules to try to prevent the coronavirus from spreading and overwhelming the state’s hospitals. State officials confirmed another 196 new cases on Sunday, bringing the statewide total to 14,101. Of that number, 170 people have died from the virus. More than 103,800 people have been tested so far.

Hospitals statewide continued to have adequate capacity, with 45% of hospital beds, 49% of intensive care unit beds and 77% of ventilators still available for use.

Some restrictions were also eased in hard-hit Hall, Hamilton, Merrick and Dakota counties, but to a lesser extent.

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