Nebraska – Coronavirus State Actions

Governors are working closely with federal and local officials as well as private sector partners to address the threat of the novel coronavirus. This page lists select actions through 31 July 2020. It is not intended to be exhaustive but is meant to highlight key actions and resources that may inform other states and territories as they prepare for and respond to the novel coronavirus. All state actions can be viewed here, or visit Coronavirus: What You Need To Know for additional information and resources.


Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services coronavirus resource page

  • March 13, 2020—Gov. Ricketts issued an emergency declaration for COVID-19
  • March 13, 2020 – The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) allocated Community Development Block Grant funds to assist qualified businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • March 13, 2020 – The Department of Economic Development (DED) allocated Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to assist qualified businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. This funding is available through DED’s CDBG Economic Development funding category.
  • March 16, 2020 – The Governor announced new guidance which limits mass gatherings to 50 people or less and requires bars and restaurants to move to takeout only (on a regional basis).
  • March 17, 2020 – The Governor issued an Executive Order to allow for state and local government boards, commissions and other public bodies to meet by virtual and electronic means through May 31.
  • March 17, 2020 – The Governor issued an Executive Order to relax eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits.
  • March 19, 2020 – The Governor announced the state’s first Directed Health Measure which limits mass gatherings in certain counties and requires restaurants and bars in those counties to operate delivery, dine-in, or curbside services. The announcement also directed these counties to operate without students in their buildings.
  • March 19, 2020 – The Governor issued an Executive Order which included:
    • Waiving penalties or interest with IFTA late filings of quarterly returns;
    • Extending drivers licenses and vehicle registrations to limit the number of individuals at Department of Motor Vehicle facilities;
    • Extending title requirements, registrations, or motor carrier temporary documents by 30 days; and
    • Extending ignition interlock providers by two weeks for all existing customers.
  • March 19, 2020 – The Governor issued an Executive Order to provide relief to restaurants and bars who are still serving customers (via non-dine in methods) and provided guidance to these locations that they are limited to serving 10 patrons at a time.
  • March 20, 2020 – The Governor announced that he is requesting $58.6 million of emergency funding from the state legislature for local response efforts, health and human services staffing, surge staffing for VA hospitals and care facilities, and lab testing.
  • March 20, 2020 – The Governor announced that the Small Business Administration approved the state’s request for an Economic Injury Disaster loan.
  • March 23, 2020 – The Governor announced that residents have until July 15, 2020 to pay state income taxes.
  • March 25, 2020 – The Governor discussed ideas on the flexibility of continuing business operation, in the areas of offering drive-up service to customers, delivery, and the modification of normal day-to-day interactions.
  • March 25, 2020 – The Governor signed LB 1198, which provides emergency funding to help the state during this public health emergency. He also signed an Executive Order preventing eviction of residents who have been impacted.
  • March 26, 2020 – The Governor issued an Executive Order to expand access to childcare options, which eases the licensing requirements to open and operate a temporary, non-residential child care in an alternative setting. The Governor additionally announced that the May 12 primary election will continue as scheduled.
  • March 27, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order to expedite the entry of medical professionals into the workforce, which:
    • Authorizes the credentialing of retired or inactive health professionals.
    • Defers the requirements for healthcare providers to pay initial licensing fees or to complete continuing education.
    • Temporarily waives the restrictions on licensed out-of-state medical professionals working in Nebraska.
    • Temporarily suspends the limitations on the number of physician assistants that a physician may supervise.
  • March 28, 2020 – The Governor announced new Directed Health Measures for additional counties, which includes limits on public gatherings, restaurant and bar closures, and school closures.
  • March 29, 2020 – The Governor announced new Directed Health Measures for additional counties, which includes limits on public gatherings, restaurant and bar closures, and school closures.
  • March 30, 2020 – The Governor announced extended statewide social distancing restrictions through April 30th. He also announced that the Department of Labor is preparing to roll out the unemployment programs outlined in the CARES Act through the following actions:
    • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance – Allows unemployment benefits to individuals who have exhausted all other unemployment benefits, and those not eligible for other unemployment benefits, including workers who are self-employed and independent contractors. The minimum PUA weekly payment will be $174 and top out at $440.
    • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – This emergency increase in Unemployment Insurance Benefits adds $600 per week in federal benefits to the unemployment benefit amount for COVID-19 unemployment claims, including PUA claims.
    • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation – Allows 13 weeks of federally funded benefits to be added to the end of the normal 26 weeks of benefits.
    • Short Time Compensation Programs (also known as Work Share) – Provides federal funding of Short-Time Compensation, a program that allows businesses to uniformly reduce their teammates’ hours while the workers receive a partial unemployment benefit.
  • March 30, 2020 – In an effort to encourage residents to support local dining businesses, the Governor signed a proclamation to designate every Tuesday from March 31st through the end of April 2020 as “Takeout Tuesday”.
  • March 31, 2020 – The Governor signed an executive order that enables healthcare facilities to expand capacity as the need arises, through activities such as:
    • Waives time limits for how long Critical Access Hospitals and Ambulatory Surgical Centers may keep patients.
    • Waives the time limit on complex nursing interventions in assisted living facilities.
    • Modifies the training and testing requirements for nurse aides, medication aides, and dining assistants to allow individuals with sufficient training and appropriate supervision to serve temporarily in these capacities.
  • April 1, 2020 – The Governor issued an executive order to allow online notary services to take place and to provide regulatory flexibility to banks.
  • April 2, 2020 – The Governor announced that the State has entered into an agreement with the University of Nebraska System to provide bed space for the quarantining of individuals who need monitoring, for people in isolation who are waiting for testing results, and the discharging of patients who are convalescing.
  • April 2, 2020 – The Governor’s wife announced the Nebraska Impact COVID-19 Relief Fund, which aims to help individual communities meet their local needs, through financial assistance for rent, mortgage, and utilities payments; provisions for food pantries; or supplies for students from low-income families now studying from home.
  • April 2, 2020- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Nebraska’s request for a Section 1135 Medicaid waiver. The approved waiver enables Nebraska to provide flexibilities in Medicaid provider screening and enrollment, forgo certain pre-admission screening and annual resident review assessments, lift prior authorization requirements, allow for reimbursement facility services in alternative settings, extend fair hearing timelines, and waive public comment and tribal consultation requirements for certain changes to the Medicaid state plan.
  • April 6, 2020 – The Governor declared April 6-12 as Public Health Week in the state. During the same press briefing, the Governor discussed the potential for domestic violence amid this public health emergency and services available to those who need support.
  • April 7, 2020 – The Governor announced temporary changes to the State’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, such as extending eligibility periods and providing emergency allotments to families for the months of April and May.
  • April 9, 2020 – The Governor proclaimed April 10-30, 2020 as “21 Days to Stay Home and Stay Healthy in Nebraska”. The Governor also announced a new statewide Directed Health Measure that orders certain businesses where six feet of social distance cannot be maintained to close through April 30th.
  • April 14, 2020 – The Governor issued a statement thanking the President for approving Nebraska’s request for federal funding of the National Guard.
  • April 15, 2020 – The Governor  issued an executive order to expand childcare options for working Nebraska families and to provide relief for childcare centers participating in the State’s Child Care Subsidy Program. 
  • April 18, 2020 – The Governor encouraged Nebraskans to stay connected to friends and family and take care of their mental health.
  • April 20, 2020 – The Governor announced the state’s first step to relax the health measures implemented to slow COVID-19’s spread, which includes resuming elective surgeries as long as hospitals and healthcare facilities meet requirements for available bed capacity and have adequate supplies of personal protective equipment.
  • April 22, 2020 – The Governor encouraged Nebraskans to take an online assessment as part of the state’s Test Nebraska plan,  to help increase the state’s the rate of testing.
  • April 24, 2020 – The Governor announced that he is relaxing some restrictions related to places of worship, salons, restaurants, childcare facilities and other establishments.
  • April 27, 2020 – The Governor announced the formation of a business task force to develop guidelines that prioritize public safety and allow for the state to reopen its economy.
  • April 29, 2020 – The Governor discussed best practices to resume elective surgeries at dental offices and dining in restaurants with industry leaders and practitioners across the state. During this, the Governor also announced new guidance for restaurants.
  • April 30, 2020 – The Governor issued an Executive Order which, among other things, retroactively extends eligibility for pandemic-related unemployment benefits.
  • May 4, 2020 – The Governor announced new testing facilities, as well as  a childcare referral resource created by the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation in partnership with state agencies.
  • May 4, 2020 – The Governor announced a new shipment of PPE through the Department of Administrative Services Material Division, who works with government procurement professionals throughout the state to source and supply necessary items.
  • May 7, 2020 – The Governor announced this week as Teacher Appreciation Week.
  • May 8, 2020 – The Governor highlighted four regional directed health measures, as well as new mother friendly initiatives.
  • May 8, 2020- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Nebraska’s second request for a Medicaid 1135 waiver. The waiver allows Nebraska to lift prior authorization requirements.
  • May 11, 2020 – The Governor announced that less restrictive Directed Health Measures will take effect in three additional regions. He also issued guidance to resume baseball and softball in June and highlighted new business reopening guidelines.
  • May 13, 2020 – The Governor announced that a dedicated hotline has been set up to answer questions about the Test Nebraska initiative.
  • May 14, 2020 – The Governor outlined the contact tracing process in the state.
  • May 15, 2020 – The Governor previewed a new tool being developed by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to help long-term care facilities assess and improve their preparedness planning.
  • May 19, 2020 – The Governor discussed results from the Nebraska Business Response Survey which was completed by 4,500 businesses across the state to understand the impacts of the pandemic on their companies.
  • May 20, 2020 – The Governor announced that Test Nebraska sites will be in seven communities next week.
  • May 21, 2020 – The Governor announced that new directed health measures for Phase I and Phase II will take effect on June 1 for certain districts in the state.
  • May 26, 2020 -The Governor announced an executive order waiving the requirement for older Nebraskans to renew their driver’s licenses in-person.
  • May 27, 2020 – The Governor announced that he will be using CARES Act funding to stabilize businesses and livestock producers; support community institutions to meet critical needs such as food security, shelter, and mental health care; reimburse state and local governments for coronavirus-related expenses; and shore up the State’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and potential General Fund budget flexibility.
  • June 15, 2020 – The Governor announced the next steps in the state’s phased plan to loosen restrictions which will take effect June 22. His administration also announced that school systems can expect to resume in-person instruction in the fall.
  • June 26, 2020 – The Governor announced that the State of Nebraska’s Community CARES program is allocating $85 million to support community organizations such as food banks, shelters, and mental health care providers as they face increased demand for their services.
  • July 15, 2020 – The Governor unveiled a new website dedicated to providing updates about the state’s response to coronavirus.  The website features information about the state’s plans for coronavirus relief funding as well as links to key public health and virus testing information.