Large gatherings off limits in Grand Island

Published: May. 14, 2020 at 9:31 PM CDT
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People can't swim in pools, dribble a ball on the basketball court or play soccer with their friends. Grand Island Mayor Roger Steele said there can be no large gatherings in Grand Island until August or possibly longer.

Mayor Roger Steele said, "It is probably not possible to open the water park or Lincoln pool given the expense and uncertainty of when we can allow people to gather in close proximity."

The mayor made the announcement during his weekly COVID-19 press briefing this morning. Governor Ricketts gave the order to extend the gathering restriction.

"He does not believe Grand Island will be able to allow gatherings of people until august.. If even then," said Mayor Steele.

On Friday, in a phone call with Mayor Steele, Ricketts expressed his concern and ordered to extend the gathering restrictions. As an explanation, the governor said it's not safe to open public areas where social distancing is not possible. Places where community spread of the virus can happen.

Governor Pete Ricketts said, "Hall county has been one of our counties that's been more heavily impacted than any other parts of the state. So we're going to need to be more cautious there."

The state fair is in August and as far as the governor is concerned it will go on but won't be the same.

"The state fair will not be able to operate this year like it did last year. We will have restrictions in place for not only the state fair but any sort of large public gathering," said Ricketts.

The state will start to loosen restrictions. Restaurants, salons and other businesses will re-open soon. People still have to keep a distance, wear masks and take precautions

"We are operating under the 10 person rule right now in May. As we get into June, as soon as everything stays stable, then we will look to loosening up that restriction in June, then again in July and then August."

Governor Ricketts in his daily COVID-19 update said the mayor must remain cautious to prevent another surge in cases.

Mayor Steele hopes gathering restrictions won't last until August but the virus is unpredictable.

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