Feb. 14: Alcohol sales, mask mandates and Girl Scout cookies
University of Nebraska rescinds ban on alcohol sales at Husker athletic events
The University of Nebraska Board of Regents voted 7-0 on Feb. 11 to lift the 1999 policy that prohibited selling alcohol at Husker games. University of Nebraska President Ted Carter said that the decision will not lead to any immediate widespread change, and there will not be beer at football games this fall. Rather, getting rid of the old policy will allow NU to be consistent in how it regulates alcohol sales across its campuses. Any plans to sell beer at a venue will have to get approved by the board, Carter said. Click here for more information.
Lincoln and Omaha extend mask mandates
Lincoln- Lancaster County Health Officials announced Feb. 8 that the county’s mask mandate has been extended to Feb. 25. This is due to high hospitalization rates and the COVID-19 Risk Dial remaining in red, said Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Director Pat Lopez. She said that although the positivity rate fell from 30% to 15.9% during the week of Feb. 5, hospitalization rates increased to 137 people per day that week. “We’re anxious to put this surge behind us, but right now our hospitals still need our help to relieve the strain they continue to experience,” she said.
On Feb. 9, Douglas County Health Officials announced that the county’s mask mandate has been extended for another week. Douglas County Health Director Lindsay Huse said the number of cases is still too high to end the mandate. She said the weekly total of new cases per 100,000 people in Omaha would need to fall below 200 for the mandate to be lifted. On Feb. 9, that number was 344.6. She also said hospitals would need to be at less than 85% capacity for a full week. Hospitals had been 85% full or less for the past four days prior to the Feb. 9 announcement.
Simone Biles visits Lincoln
Seven-time Olympic medalist Simone Biles attended the Husker men’s gymnastics meet at Devaney Sports Center on Saturday, Feb 4. She watched her friend and fellow Texas native Khalil Jackson, a University of Nebraska senior, compete in the match up against Penn State. Afterward, she spent time hanging out with the team and they took a group photo.
Deadline comes for health care workers to get mandatory vaccination
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all healthcare workers at major facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid money must get the COVID vaccine. Nebraska, along with 24 other states, challenged the mandate with no success. Unvaccinated healthcare workers in Nebraska have until Feb. 14 to get their first vaccine dose and will need their second dose by March 15. Workers can opt out of the vaccine by getting a medical or religious exemption.
University of Nebraska grows the states economy by $5.8 billion per year
The University of Nebraska Board of Regents looked at a recent independent analysis by Tripp Umbach, a national consultant with expertise in economic impact studies, during a meeting on Feb. 11. According to the analysis, the University of Nebraska system generates $9 for every $1 the state invests. Umbach found that the annual economic impact NU has on the state is $5.8 billion, a rise from the $4.9 billion impact found in 2019. NU activities and their ripple effect throughout the state adds nearly $16 million to the state’s economy every day, according to the analysis. All four UN campuses increased their impact through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Girl Scout cookie season begins
Nebraska Girl Scouts began selling cookies on Feb. 11 and will continue to do so through March 20. There will be a new cookie, the brownie and caramel inspired Adventureful, on sale this year. For more information, visit the Girl Scout website.
Contributors: Hanna Christensen and Ramey Vachal