As the weather has warmed and the COVID-19 pandemic has continued on, many Americans have become weary. Quarantine fatigue is real. Americans, including Nebraskans, want to get back to normal life.
In the last few weeks, Gov. Pete Ricketts announced plans to reopen the state gradually, while still taking precautions to prevent the spread of the illness.
“Here in the country’s heartland, decisions have been made based on sound medical and social science, positioning our states to thrive individually as our economies reopen,” Ricketts and four other Republican governors — Mark Gordon, Wyoming; Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas; Kim Reynolds, Iowa; and Mike Parson, Missouri — wrote in an editorial published this week in the Washington Post.
“While our specific approaches may differ, we have all kept our states 'open for business' and delivered food and other goods Americans need during this pandemic,” they added. “Our collective experience ensures that our contribution toward reopening our nation’s economy is stable, safe and durable. Restarting our economy is not a race to be won but a cooperative effort. Our approach has created a model for success that can be applied throughout the country.”
While some governors issued stay-at-home orders, Nebraska remained opened, taking precautions early even before some of the hardest hit states, like New York. In March, Nebraska schools began to put plans in place for virtual learning before New York City shut down its schools.
Nebraska hasn't seen some of the more “extreme” orders as in other states.
In Kansas City, Mo., the mayor ordered houses of worship and some other “non-essential” operations record the names and contact information of any person who stays inside for 10 minutes or longer. If a person refused to provide name and contact information, the person could be refused entry. Those who failed to abide by the order would violate the city's Code of Ordinances.
The order was later reversed after public outcry and the recording of names and contact information is no longer mandatory.
In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker modified its stay-at-home order, allowing state parks to begin re-opening. However, one of the guidelines included fishing and boating in groups of no more two people. What if a family of four wanted to go fishing?
In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine tried to make wearing face masks a requirement for employees, guests, customers and clients while working or visitings businesses. He later walked that requirement back a day later, saying the policy was “offensive” to some residents.
A Dallas, Texas, salon owner was arrested and sentenced to seven days in jail after she opened her business, defying the governor's stay-at-home orders. The governor has since relaxed the order and salons are to open today, and the state's attorney general is calling for the woman's release, saying her arrest seemed like a “political stunt.”
Ricketts should be commended for his handling of the pandemic in Nebraska. While it has been hard on Nebraskans to deal with the illness, see businesses close and people lose their jobs, Ricketts and state leaders have set Nebraska up to succeed as we slowly try to return to life in this new normal.
“The core reasons our states are open for business are the tenacity, grit and heart of our residents,” Ricketts and the governors wrote in their editorial. “Their clear-eyed, common-sense approach helped keep our states on track and have set us up to come out of this pandemic stronger than ever. We look forward to leading the way.”