Health Director Pat Lopez today said many outdoor Husker watch parties or tailgates scheduled for Saturday, November 21 have been voluntarily canceled by local business owners in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Railyard commons area in the West Haymarket also will voluntarily close to the public. Businesses in the Railyard will be open, but will not use the Railyard space, and the Husker game will not be shown on the Cube. Canopy Street will be reopened to traffic. Other businesses that canceled their outdoor events will be open to the public for dining inside and in their sidewalk café areas and for takeout.
"I want to thank the vast majority of our local business owners and managers who have done great work to follow the DHM to keep their employees and patrons safe," Lopez said. "We recognize that this is a very difficult time for many businesses, and we will continue to work with businesses and other organizations to stop the spread of COVID-19."
The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) has not issued a closure order for the Railyard or any of the surrounding businesses. The City of Lincoln is exercising its right in the Railyard contract to use the commons area in order to control the space. No event will take place.
The City has filed a criminal complaint in Lancaster County Court against the Royal Grove because of violations of the local Directed Health Measure (DHM) at a concert held November 7. Earlier this month, LLCHD revoked the Royal Grove's event plan after receiving information about the concert. The venue is not able to hold events without LLCHD's approval of a new event plan.
Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister clarified that LPD continues to provide support to LLCHD in educating and enforcing noncompliance of the DHM. Officers accompany Health Department staff on compliance checks as part of their routine responsibilities. If violations are observed, LPD works with LLCHD to educate staff and complete detailed reports, which are reviewed by the City Attorney's Office. Documented violations may lead to a citation or the filing of a criminal complaint by the City Attorney.
LPD responded to several large gatherings during last Saturday's Husker football game. LPD investigates complaints of loud parties and issues tickets for offenses like disturbing the peace and minor in possession. Residents can report loud parties and other illegal activity by calling LPD's non-emergency number at 402-441-6000.
LLCHD said those who observe someone not wearing a mask in public should stay at least six feet away from the individual and should not call law enforcement emergency or non-emergency numbers. The public can make complaints regarding compliance through the UPLNK phone app or the City website, UPLNK.lincoln.ne.gov.
The COVID-19 Risk Dial is now in the red position. The red dial position indicates a severe risk of the virus spreading. Residents are advised to stay home unless traveling for work, school, food or medical care or to check on others who may need assistance.
For more information, visit COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov or call the Health Department hotline at 402-441-8006.