City of Lincoln and Lancaster County Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Resources

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Moderate Risk of COVID-19 Spread

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The dial's current week pointer is at elevated yellow, or 4 on a scale of 1-8 (1 is low risk; 8 is severe risk). The dial's previous week pointer is also at 4.
Severe High Moderate Low

This COVID-19 Risk Dial provides a summary of current conditions in the Lincoln-Lancaster County community. Each color incorporates federal and national guidance published by public health experts and is coupled with specific guidance.

The Risk Dial was developed to help communicate the risk of spread and impact of COVID-19 in the community. Since its inception in May 2020, five primary metrics were used based on local data: Positivity Rate, Cases, Testing, Contact Tracing, and Health Care System Capacity. Two additional metrics were recently added - Vaccination Rate and Death Rate. Data on these two metrics were not available during development of the risk dial, but now we better understand local risk for COVID deaths and can track the progress of vaccinations.

This is only guidance and does not replace federal, state, or local directed health measures. At-risk and vulnerable populations should take stringent precautions.

Community Guidance and Recommendations
Outside the Home
Get Vaccinated
Physical Distancing Outside the Home
Face Masks Outside the Home
  • Wear a face mask if you have COVID-like symptoms
  • Wear a mask based on your personal preference, informed by your vaccination status and personal level of risk
Hand Washing Outside the Home
  • Frequently wash hands for at least 20 seconds, especially after touching high contact surfaces, sneezing/coughing/touching face, or before eating
  • Use hand sanitizer when handwashing is inaccessible or infeasible
Illness Monitoring Outside the Home
  • If ill with Flu-like or COVID-like symptoms, wear a mask, get tested or use home test, stay at home, and contact your health care provider for information and available treatments if you test positive
  • Minimize contact with symptomatic people
At Home
Get Vaccinated
Physical Distancing at Home
  • No distancing for people without symptoms, unless they are under quarantine
Face Coverings at Home
  • If you or someone in your home are at high risk for severe illness, wear a mask around others
  • If you or someone in your home has tested positive for COVID-19 and you are unable to fully isolate, wear a face mask
  • Wear a face mask if you have COVID-like symptoms
Hand Washing at Home
  • Frequently wash hands for at least 20 seconds, especially after touching high contact surfaces, sneezing/coughing/touching face, or before eating
Illness Monitoring at Home
  • If ill with Flu-like or COVID-like symptoms, wear a mask, stay away from others in your home, get tested or use home test, and contact health care provider for information and available treatments if you test positive
  • Minimize contact with symptomatic people
At-Risk and
Vulnerable Populations

For adults over age 65, anyone with underlying health conditions, and other populations at heightened risk from COVID-19:

Isolation and Quarantine Guidance

If you’ve tested positive or have symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and isolate.

If you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you may need to quarantine.

COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Calculator

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s quarantine and isolation calculator helps determine when and for how long people with COVID-19 and close contacts need to stay home, get tested and mask up.

Please note: This tool isn’t for people with COVID-19 who are moderately or severely ill or those who have weakened immune systems - talk to your health care provider about when to end isolation. This tool also doesn’t apply to cases and close contacts identified in certain settings. For information about isolation and quarantine in high-risk congregate settings and healthcare settings, refer to COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation. Parents with children in K-12 schools or early care and education programs should consult the program administrator for specific isolation and quarantine guidance in their school or program setting.

Mayor's Economic Recovery Task Force

The Mayor’s Economic Recovery Task Force has issued a report with recommended strategies for supporting Lincoln’s economic recovery and resilience. These recommendations serve as a call to action to residents, employers, and public and private sector leaders. Check out the full Task Force Report, Executive Summary, and Appendix (see summaries in Arabic, Spanish, and Vietnamese).

Task force updates:

Check back periodically for other updates on events and actions related to the work of the task force.

  • Task force co-chairs: Angie Muhleisen, Ava Thomas
  • Subcommittee co-chairs: Jasmine Kingsley, Cori Sampson Vokoun, Maribel Cruz
  • Task force members: Marco Barker, Matt Bavougian, Wendy Birdsall, Quentin Brown, William Cintani, John Croghan, Shannon Harner, José Lemus, Susan Martin, Dan Marvin, Kim Russel, Nader Sepahpur, and Bud Synhorst

Dine Out Lincoln

Dine Out Lincoln streamlines the permit review process to allow restaurants and other establishments the opportunity to temporarily expand their business footprint into private and public spaces.

For more information, visit

Buy Local City Policy

Local purchasing can leverage as much as a 1.5 times economic impact. In other words, purchasing locally adds value, because jobs, capitol, and supply purchases all stay right here in Lincoln. This can be done by implementing a micropurchasing policy, encouraging city agencies to “buy local.” See Lincoln’s “buy local” policies:

COVID-19 Related Guidance for Employers and Employees

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have ongoing, updated information about workplace safety and information about working with your employees. This information is updated as progress is made on the pandemic and as variants occur. Learn more at CDC - Workplaces and Businesses.

Federal Resources
Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Small Business Lending and Debt Relief

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps Americans start, build, and grow businesses. The Small Business Administration has many resources available to small businesses.

Question: What are economic injury disaster loans?
Answer: If you are a small businesses, nonprofit organization of any size, or a U.S. agricultural business with 500 or fewer employees that have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you can apply for the COVID-19 EIDL. You can use these loans for working capital and normal operating expenses (i.e. continuation of health care benefits, rent, utilities, and fixed debt payments).

Question: What lending and debt relief opportunities are available?
Answer: The SBA will pay 6 months of principal, interest, and any associated fees that borrowers owe for qualifying current SBA loans and microloans. Learn more at

Tax Credits

Tax credits for paid sick and family leave and for employee retention have been extended through March 31, 2021.

IRS Information on Tax Credits

State Resources

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development has compiled a list of state resources including CDBG business loans, banking resources, manufacturing resources, export/import resources, and other resources.

Short Time Compensation - the Nebraska Department of Labor offers a short-time compensation program that is designed to prevent layoffs by allowing employers to reduce employees' hours by 10 to 60 percent while permitting the employees to receive a prorated unemployment benefit, thus offsetting the loss of income to employees. Employees participating in short-time compensation plans are eligible for $600 per week in federal benefits in addition to their partial unemployment benefits. Application information can be found at the Nebraska Department of Labor.

Unemployment Compensation - unemployment benefits are typically paid with contributions from employers. The Nebraska Department of Labor is temporarily waiving employer contributions for unemployment claims related to COVID-19. For more information on unemployment compensation in light of COVID-19, see Unemployment Assistance on the Resident Resources page.

Employment and Hiring

EmployLNK is a mechanism whereby job seekers can be matched up with employment opportunities. It enables the sharing of hiring information between businesses and workforce-related agencies. Participants on the workforce side include 20+ agencies representing 5,000 job seekers, with participation from the Nebraska Department of Labor, Unemployment Insurance, ResCare/American Job Center, Lutheran Family Services, Catholic Social Services, the New Americans Task Force, and many more.

Hiring information is specifically shared with 900+ case managers and human service workers to ensure that it reaches job seekers and those assisting them.

  • Through the Partner America Program, small businesses can receive free one-on-one assistance with increasing sales, profits, cash flow, and ease of operations. Call a representative at 855-876-5561 for assistance.
  • Inc. has curated a list of tools, resources, and financial help for businesses.
  • GrantWatch is a search engine that connects nonprofits and small businesses with grant opportunities.
  • The Zoom Basic Plan allows you to host up to 100 participants in a meeting and hold unlimited one-on-one meetings with the video-conference provider's complimentary plan. Note that there is a 40-minute limit on group meetings, though you're not limited to the number of meetings.
  • The Main Street Initiative is offering eligible businesses zero-interest $2,000 loans.
  • Read this legal analysis to understand how "force majeure" or the concept of "act of God" applies to contracts affected by the coronavirus.
  • The Insurance Federation of Minnesota put together a Frequently Asked Questions document on business interruption insurance.
  • Finimpact has put together a helpful COVID-19 survival guide for small businesses.