WAVERLY – Despite some minor relaxation of regulations dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, most restrictions remain in place in Waverly through the month of May.
Gov. Pete Ricketts announced April 29 that the Directed Health Measures will remain in place in the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department jurisdiction until May 11. The Sarpy/Cass Department of Health began the less restrictive DHM on Monday.
However, the governor also introduced some changes to restrictions for faith-based services and elective medical procedures.
City Administrator Stephanie Fisher said the city’s public facilities remain closed through May.
That includes the parks, where the playgrounds and ballfields are off limits. Fisher said she expects the closure will continue through May.
The playgrounds and ballfields were roped off because it was much too difficult to keep the equipment sanitized. But open areas of the park can still be accessed.
“The park green spaces are open and being well utilized,” Fisher added.
The office at City Hall also remains closed during the month of May. Fisher said residents are encouraged to call or email their questions. Payments for utility bills can be made online, over the phone or utilizing the drop box on the outside of the building.
May is the time when dogs must be licensed in Waverly. This can be done over the phone and by email, Fisher said. The same is true for licensing all-terrain vehicles (ATV), utility task vehicles (UTV) and golf carts, which is required by city ordinance.
Because of the pandemic, the state has allowed government bodies to meet via telephone or teleconferencing. Meetings of the City Council, Planning Commission, Parks, Recreation and Tree Advisory Committee and other public bodies have been held using a teleconferencing platform, and will continue through May, Fisher said.
The relaxed regulations are focused on elective medical surgeries and procedures and faith-based services in houses of worship.
Starting May 4, surgeries and procedures that are scheduled in advance and do not involve a medical emergency are allowed. The health care facilities must maintain and dedicate 30 percent of general bed capacity, intensive care unit capacity and ventilator capacity for non-elective patients. They also are required to keep a two-week supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Services at houses of worship are allowed, but with restrictions. Only families that live together can be seated in the same pew. Otherwise, six feet are required between worshipers. The facilities must be sanitized between services. A common collection basket is not permitted, and the use of the church’s public sacred books, hymnals, missals and other such books is not permitted. Common cup at communion is not allowed, and the use of pre-packaged elements is encouraged.
Funerals and weddings will be permitted, but the services must comply with the guidelines set for faith-based services. The 10-person limit on gatherings is also in required and receiving lines are prohibited.
Theaters, team sports and service industries like beauty salons, nail salons and barber shops remain closed through May 10 under the new DHM. The schools have closed until May 31.
On Monday, there were 250 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Nebraska, bringing the state’s total to 5,910. Of those new cases, 92 were in Lancaster County. The total number of deaths was 78 as of Monday.