Nebraska propelled together | Office of Governor Pete Ricketts
Nebraska powered together
By Governor Pete Ricketts
June 28, 2021
official governor’s photo here.
On March 13, 2020, I issued a proclamation declaring a state of emergency related to the coronavirus pandemic. A state of emergency has existed for the past year to help Nebraska mobilize resources to respond to the pandemic. This is a separate measure from the state’s Managed Health Measures (DHM), which ended a few weeks ago. DHM had included quarantine instructions and other restrictions which varied over the course of the event. This week, I announced that the state of emergency will end on June 30, 2021, removing the last official pandemic measure issued by the state of Nebraska.
Thinking back during the pandemic, the Nebraskans have done what they do best by coming together. Despite the circumstances surrounding the virus, our condition has fared very well. We have slowed the spread of the virus. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, we had the third lowest coronavirus death rate in the country among people who contracted the disease. Our state now has the second-lowest unemployment rate in the country at 2.6%, which is Nebraska’s lowest unemployment rate since 1999. We did all of this without a stay-at-home order, without a warrant. mask statewide and vaccine-free warrant or passport system.
Although I oppose vaccination mandates, I firmly believe that vaccines work and that people should get vaccinated. The coronavirus is here forever, and vaccines can help keep people healthy. There are several reasons why I oppose vaccination warrants. At present, the vaccines are still under emergency use authorizations. And regardless of when it can be given full clearance, there will always be people who will not be able to take the vaccine due to personal health reasons. I continue to encourage Nebraskans to take responsibility for their own health and to consult their doctor about the vaccine to learn more about it and what is good for their health.
As the last vestiges of the pandemic fade, Nebraskans can expect some changes in the coming days.
First, the executive decrees (EOs) that I issued during the pandemic are coming to an end. With the end of the emergency, generally all remaining decrees will expire on July 30.e. There are a few limited exceptions that will continue. My telehealth EO will continue until August 27e at 11:59 p.m. CT. The Legislative Assembly enacted LB 400 and LB 487 to make permanent changes, and these bills come into force on August 28e. Two EOs related to ease of doing business and meeting federal unemployment requirements will continue next year to allow the legislature to pass LB 567, which makes permanent changes to improve our unemployment system.
Second, I have set some expectations for school in the fall. Over the past 12 months we have had a very successful school year. Nebraska had the sixth highest rate of children learning in person at K-12 schools in the 2020-2021 school year. The University of Nebraska was one of the first major university systems in the country to announce a return to in-person learning. I have received many questions from Nebraskans on the measures that certain education systems weigh in the fall. I want to make it clear that I have three key expectations: learning will take place in person; no mask will be required – even for those who are not vaccinated; and school systems should not impose the vaccine.
Third, the state is ending our Operation Test Nebraska. This initiative provided free and barrier-free coronavirus testing to Nebraskans for more than a year during the pandemic. It has provided hundreds of thousands of free tests to Nebraskans and has helped hospitals and schools provide access to the tests along the way. The last day to take a test will be July 18e before the operation closes on July 31st.
Fourth, local health services (LHDs) will resume more normal operations now that much of their work regarding the virus has ended. At my press conference this week, I announced that I am encouraging LHDs to remove their risk dials as life returns to normal. Risk dials have been used to calculate restrictions and other requirements of businesses and organizations.
Finally, I would like to strongly urge private companies and other organizations to drop all remaining restrictions on coronaviruses going forward. There are certainly some important habits like washing your hands and staying home when you are feeling sick that we can all continue to practice. But it is time for the other measures to fall. Whether you play college sports or work in a private company, now is the time to move on. While many organizations can go ahead on their own, it’s important to note that some facilities are still governed by federal rules. These include airports regulated by the Transportation Security Administration and qualified nursing care facilities, which must follow federal guidelines from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Looking back on all that we’ve been through, I think the people of Nebraska can be proud of the work everyone has done over the past year. We have helped keep people healthy while leading more normal lives. We have come together and avoided many battles and controversies that have ensnared other places. Above all, we have protected the hospital capacity. If you have any ideas you would like to share on this or any other topic, please email me at [email protected] or call 402-471-2244. Together, we have come through this difficult chapter with strength, courage and resilience.