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Ricketts says Nebraska will slowly ease pandemic restrictions

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Governor Pete Ricketts said Friday that Nebraska would slowly ease restrictions during his daily coronavirus news conference.

Ricketts said several guidelines must still be followed to keep safe, such as keeping the maximum number of people to 10 as well as continued social distancing.

“Forty-seven percent of our hospital beds are available,” Ricketts said. “We’ve got a capacity in the hospital system, our social distancing steps we have done have worked.”

Even with the hospitals not being overwhelmed, Ricketts is still cautious about opening Nebraska too early. He said the state is also ramping up testing and using different testing sites across Nebraska to help those who need them.

“We have now tested over 1500 tests per day for the last nine days in a row,” he said.

Testing more people will increase the number of cases but it is something that is needed.

On May 4, new Department of Health and Human Services guidelines are allowing restaurants to open at 50 percent capacity as well as allowing salons, tattoo shops and barbershops to be open in some counties with low cases. Other counties will get the same guidelines on May 11.

Despite the easing of restrictions, some people are still being cautious about Nebraska opening up.

On Thursday, Dr. Bill Johnson of Bryan Health urged citizens to continue to wear masks while in public and to maintain social distancing guidelines while in the community.

“Think about your neighbor, think about your family,” Johnson said. “We have to take care of each other.”

Senior at University of Nebraska-Lincoln studying journalism with a focus on photojournalism. I’m a part of UNITE as social outreach. I participate in other events and organizations that are associated with the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center. I’m an active photographer, my specialties include sports and feature photography. I enjoy biking, board games, and reading.