Mask requirement begins Thursday – City of Lincoln, NE
Posted on August 24, 2021
The risk dial changes to medium orange
To respond to an increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) today released a new local Directed Health Measure (DHM) that includes a requirement mask. The DHM will require that all people two years of age and older – regardless of their immunization status – wear a mask when in an indoor space, unless six feet of separation from others can be achieved at all times. The DHM requires business owners to ensure their customers aged two and over wear masks whenever they cannot maintain six feet of separation from non-household members.
The DHM goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, August 26 and continues until September 30, when it will be reassessed.
DHM has exceptions. Masks are not required for:
- Individuals eating or drinking or sitting down to eat or drink
- Those who exercise
- People exercising a profession that prohibits the wearing of masks
- Those who obtain a service or purchase goods or services that require the temporary removal of the mask
- A person giving a speech, lecture or broadcast in front of an audience as long as six feet away from other individuals
- People who cannot otherwise wear a mask due to a medical condition, mental health issue, or disability that prevents masks from being worn
- Courts; meetings or sessions of the Legislative Assembly of Nebraska; those accessing federal, state, county, or city government services; meeting places; group homes and residential treatment centers for addiction and / or mental health; or shelters
For more information on DHM, visit covid19.lincoln.ne.gov or call 402-441-6280. For general information on COVID-19, visit the website or call the Department of Health hotline at 402-441-806.
“To slow the increasing spread of the virus, it is important that the mask requirement includes everyone, regardless of vaccination status, due to the aggressive and highly contagious Delta variant,” said director of health Pat. Lopez. “Wearing a mask is common sense that has a strong impact. As a community, we know that masks work based on first-hand experience. The previous mask tenure contributed to a lower case rate and death rate in Lancaster County than in other heavily populated counties in the state. ”
“This latest increase in the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths affects everyone, whether they are vaccinated or not,” said Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird. “The steps we are taking as a community to slow the spread of this virus, protect our hospital capacity, protect those unable to get vaccinated and keep our economy thriving are important. The next few weeks are critical. “
The police will not issue tickets to individuals for non-compliance. The City will continue to focus on education rather than law enforcement. Those who observe suspected violations should not call 911 or non-emergency police or sheriff numbers. These situations should be reported to UPLNK through the phone application or online at UPLNK.lincoln.ne.gov.
Lopez also announced today that the COVID-19 risk dial is changing from a weak orange to a medium orange. The change indicates that the risk of the virus spreading and the impact on our community is high and continues to increase. On the color-coded dial, red represents the highest risk of spreading COVID-19 and green represents the lowest risk.
So far this month, 18 local residents have died from COVID-19. Fourteen were not vaccinated.
The Risk Dial’s position is based on several local indicators and information from the previous three weeks:
- The seven-day moving average of new daily cases has been above 100 since August 17.
- The local positivity rate rose to over 13%.
- Since the beginning of August, the daily average of COVID-19 patients hospitalized locally has more than doubled, from 43 to 78.
Lopez said everyone should continue to monitor their health and stay alert for fever, cough, shortness of breath and other symptoms of COVID-19. Even if you are vaccinated, you should separate yourself from others and get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
Seventy percent of Lancaster County’s population aged 16 and over is now fully vaccinated. Nearly 25,000 county residents have been vaccinated in the past eight weeks, an increase of nearly 70% since early July.