Oct 16, 2020 8:38 PM

Governor Ricketts imposes new restrictions as virus surges

Posted Oct 16, 2020 8:38 PM

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Gov. Pete Ricketts announced new restrictions Friday aimed at curbing the coronavirus amid a surge of new cases and hospitalizations in Nebraska.

The Omaha World-Herald reported that the Republican governor outlined four steps that will go into effect Wednesday: Hospitals must provide 10% of their bed and intensive care unit space for incoming COVID-19 patients. Indoor gatherings, currently allowed up to 75% percent capacity, must drop to 50% capacity. People at bars and restaurants must remain seated and with no more than eight to a table. And, wedding and funeral receptions must limit table sizes to no more than eight people.

Ricketts stopped short of issuing a statewide mask mandate.

Nebraska is among several Midwestern states that have seen a big increase in confirmed cases of the virus, along with more hospitalizations. The state's COVID-19 dashboard shows 55,428 confirmed cases. The state also has reported 530 deaths.

Ricketts said it "pains me" to impose the restrictions, but he cited a need to protect hospital capacity. He cited the example of Italy, where hospitals became overwhelmed earlier this year as coronavirus cases soared.

FANS AT HUSKER GAMES?

The University of Nebraska's athletic director remains hopeful that the Big Ten will change course and allow fans to attend conference football games in 2020.

The Lincoln Journal Star reported that Athletic Director Bill Moos said Thursday that he will continue to push for a limited number of fans to be allowed in Memorial Stadium this season.

Nebraska opens its season Oct. 24 at Ohio State, and the first home game is against Wisconsin on Oct. 31.