Ricketts Holds Off While Reynolds Enacts Mask Mandate
Gov. Pete Ricketts is standing firm in his opposition to a statewide mask mandate despite a recent surge in coronavirus cases that threatens to overwhelm Nebraska’s hospitals. Ricketts urged residents to voluntarily wear a mask, saying it’s one step of many to slow the pandemic. The Republican governor has focused heavily on getting voluntary compliance from residents, with campaigns urging people to avoid crowds, wash their hands frequently and stay home if they feel sick or show symptoms of the virus. Ricketts has also refused to let local public health districts impose their own restrictions within their areas because the virus is spreading statewide. Meanwhile, with Iowa hospitals filling up and schools closing classrooms, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds dropped her longtime opposition to a statewide mask mandate and enacted a limited version of one. A proclamation signed by the governor requires everyone 2 or older must wear masks when in indoor public spaces. Reynolds also limited many indoor gatherings to no more than 15 people and outdoor gatherings to 30, including family get-togethers. Bars and restaurants cannot stay open for in-person service past 10 p.m. And she suspended all youth and adult sports and recreational activities, except for high school, college and professional sports.