If you experience a COVID19 issue reach out to kristi.block@negfa.org as the agriculture industry and state agencies continue to be in touch weekly during this crisis. (Updated June 19, 2020) Reminder: Nebraska Extends FMCSA Waiver of Motor Carrier Safety Regulations through the duration of COVID19.

Nebraska COVID19 Updates

Nebraska COVID-19 Information Line: (402) 552-6645.  Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST – every day.
State agencies are sharing information using the #NECOVID19 Hashtag

Register for Governor's News Releases | View News Releases |  Watch Daily 2 pm News Conference 

Gov. Ricketts Extends Statewide Social Distancing Restrictions Until April 30th & Details New Unemployment Programs Press Release

This information has been compiled for those working in the grain and feed industry. Not all Nebraska COVID19 information is located here. As COVID19 evolves so too will the executive orders, information, and best practices.

Fun-ish! Nebraska Game & Parks - Shares Nebraska Scenes for Zoom Backgrounds

Reopening Plans

Nebraska Updated Directed Health Measures
All 93 Counties are under the State Directed Health Measure until May 31. On a regional basis, the state is gradually easing restrictions by Local Health Departments (LHDs). Local LHD Maps & Contact Info
  • May 11 -
    • Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Dept. DHM
    • West Central District Health Dept. DHM
    • Three Rivers Public Health Dept. DHM
  • May 13 - Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Dept. DHM
  • May 18 - 
    • South Heartland DHM
    • Public Health Solutions District Health Dept. DHM
    • Two Rivers Public Health Dept. DHM
  • Phase 2 Nebraska Directed Health Measures (DHMs) Begin June 1
  • June 12: NE Small Business Grants - Get Nebraska Growing Grants - funded by federal CARES Act. Info 
  • New! June 22: Most counties in Nebraska (89 of 93) will move to Phase 3 of the reopening. Dakota, Hall, Hamilton and Merrick counties will move to Phase 2.
    • Outline of the Phase 3 DHM changes, click here.
    • Outline of the Phase 4 DHM changes, click here
    • Long-Term Care Coronavirus Phasing Guidance for responsibly easing restrictions click here.
    • NE Dept. of Education (NDE) Commissioner Matthew Blomstedt said schools will resume instruction this fall with students in the classroom. 

Continue to follow Six Rules to Keep Nebraska Healthy.Nebraska Local Health District LHD Map

Planning Considerations for Organizations in Reconstituting Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic Effective: April 30 FEMA Guidance

Back to Business Playbook: Compliance and Risk Management Considerations during the COVID-19 Pandemic 

Requesting PPE in Nebraska

Reminder: Contact your local health department to be prioritized on the distribution list in Nebraska. When calling or sending in your request, it is suggested that our facilities write they are critical infrastructure facilities with essential workers. Our needs for PPE are also based on chemical and dust hazards required for our normal operating activities pre-covid19. Priorities for distribution are:
  • Groups of people who provide direct care to people with COVID-19
  • Other key workforce groups (corrections, utilities, public health staff.)
  • Other medical groups, childcare, grocery stores, etc.
As an agricultural entity, another option is contacting the distributors on this PPE List.
Respiratory Protection During COVID19 Best Practices for the Ag Community

Six Rules to Keep Nebraska Healthy

  1. Stay home. No non-essential errands and no social gatherings. Respect the 10-person limit.
  2. Socially distance your work. Work from home or use the six-foot rule as much as possible in the workplace.
  3. Shop alone and only shop once a week. Do not take family with you.
  4. Help kids follow social distancing. Play at home. No group sports and no playgrounds.
  5. Help seniors stay at home by shopping for them. Do not visit long-term care facilities.
  6. Exercise daily at home or with an appropriately socially-distanced activity.

Face Covering Regulations

In Nebraska, face masks are recommended. A person should wear a cloth face-covering in public places where they cannot stay 6 feet away from others. NOTE: Some counties have varying degrees of requirements for face coverings for employees and customers of essential businesses.  All States

Nebraska COVID19 Executive Orders

List of pertinent Executive Orders from Governor Ricketts to the grain and feed industry during COVID19. Full List of Executive Orders by State
  • March 13 - Emergency Declaration for Nebraska COVID19
  • March 13 - Executive Order No. 20-01 Emergency Relief Due to COVID19. Grants Waiver from US DOT - FMCSA Rules 40CFR 390-399 until May 1, 2020. 
    • Suspends length & weight hauling requirements of federal and state law assisting in COVID19 relief.
    • Hours of Service requirements 49 CFR 395 are suspended with limitations.
    • Drivers operating under this order shall carry a copy of the proclamation with them.  
  • March 16 - Executive Order No. 20-02 Out of State Travel Ban. Bans out of state travel for all executive branch state agencies immediately and remain until the state of emergency has been rescinded.
  • March 17 - Executive Order No. 20-03 Public Meeting Requirements. Limits public gatherings and meetings to no more than 50 people. Allows for meetings via video or phone conferencing. Applies through May 31.  
  • March 17 - Executive Order No. 20-04. Emergency Unemployment Insurance Benefit Relief. Effective for claims filed on or after March 22, 2020 through May 2, 2020. (See Executive Order No.20-14)
    • Changes pay statutes for employees exposed or ill of COVID19.
    • Grants employer relief from charging for benefits paid to individuals eligible for unemployment because of COVID19 exposure or illness.
    • Other employer relief due to COVID19 - short term compensation benefits and charging and appeal rights when an employer fails to respond to requests for separation information within 10 days attributed to COVID19 exposure or illness.
  • March 19 - Gov. Ricketts Executive Order 20-05 on Driver Licensing & Vehicle Requirements (See DMV)
  • April 1 - Executive Order No. 20-13 Online Notary Access and Financial Institution Regulatory Flexibility. Approves the Secretary of State (SOS) 's Emergency Regulation, Title 433 Nebraska Administrative Code Chapter 9, authorizing the SOS to carry out the majority of provisions of the Online Notary Public Act commencing on April 2, 2020, and ending on June 30, 2020;  This order is effective immediately and shall remain in effect until 30 days after the lifting of the COVID-19 state of emergency
  • April 2 - Executive Order No. 20-14 Emergency Unemployment Insurance Benefit Relief - Part 2. Amends Executive Order No. 20-04. Highlights of 20-14:
    • Directs NE DOL to implement temporary changes to provide relief to Nebraska employers and employees. 
    • Continues waivers provided in Executive Order No. 20-04 until August 1, 2020, except for paragraph (5). 
    • Grants employers relief from charging for benefits paid to individuals eligible for unemployment benefits solely as a result of COVID-19 exposure or illness
    • Suspends state provisions prevent modifications of approved short-time compensation plans. 
    • Provides provisions for claims filed on or after March 22 - August 1, 2020.
    • Executive Order is effective through the duration of the pandemic relief effort.
  • ​April 7 - Executive Order No. 20-15. Health Information Disclosures. Nebraska suspends state rules and statutes and adopts the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act which permits the disclosure of identifiable health information to family, friends, first responders, others involved in an individual's care, and anyone who is in a position to prevent and lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health and safety of a person or the public. The goal is to be adequately informed in order to lessen the serious threat of COVID-19 to the public health and safety of all Nebraskans.  (see NE Dept. of Health and Human Services for guidance and info on reports and communication of COVID19.) Remains effective until 30 days after lifting COVID19 state of emergency.
  • April 7 - Executive Order No. 20-16. Elections. Allows all Nebraska citizens to register to vote online or by mail and be provided with a mail-in ballot. Effective through May 13.
  • April 9 - Executive Order No. 20-17 Personal Property Tax Penalty & Interest Waiver. Each individual or entity that owns or leases taxable tangible personal property located in Nebraska must file a Nebraska Personal Property Return on or before May 1st with the county assessor in the county in which the personal property has situs.  Filing penalty waivers, forfeiture exemption new date, interest assessment date, and reminder return must still be filed. Effective until December 31, 2020.
  • April 16 - Executive Order No. 20-19. Emergency Unemployment Insurance Benefit Relief - Part 3. Changes to short-time compensation plans with a termination date of December 27, 2020 or sooner. Effective through the duration of the pandemic relief effort.
  • REMINDER April 29 - Executive Order No. 20-21 Continued Waiver of Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Effective: through duration of COVID19 State of Emergency.

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

All 93 Nebraska counties are covered by state Directed Health Measures (DHMs). Following these enforceable DHMs helps slow the spread of COVID19. Most counties are in DHMs until May 11. Some Local Health Departments have issued additional restrictions. COVID-19 Information  | DHHS News Releases

Department of Agriculture (NDA)

March 31 - Gasoline exceeding the volatility standards will be tolerated in Nebraska pursuant to EPA's Waiver Effective: March 31. Expires: May 20. 

April 13 - NDA Order No. 04132020 Eases Restrictions on Pesticide Applicator License Holders
People with valid commercial, non-commercial and private applicator licenses which expire on April 15, 2020, must notify NDA of their intent to renew their license and pay the required fees to NDA by May 15, 2020. Upon receipt of payment, NDA will allow the applicator to defer the required training for license renewals until April 15, 2021. 

The time period will increase from 60 days to 120 days for a noncertified applicator to work under the provisions of the Nebraska Pesticide Act for exemption from certification. 60 Day Exemption FAQ Brochure.

Annual Dicamba Training - still required for crop application of specific dicamba products. Online training is available at www.nda.nebraska.gov. 

Applicator Training:  In lieu of in-person pesticide applicator training sessions, UNL is directing all private and commercial applicators to use the new online program to certify or recertify.   Press Release  |  NDA's COVID19 Resource page.

County Fairs and Livestock Shows/Events Guidance for county fair officials and livestock show managers.
AFAN Offers Grants for Food Pantries, Requests Donations
Food pantries are under a lot of pressure right now to provide food to those in need, and the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) is working to assist. AFAN, in partnership with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and various commodity organizations, announced a grant program designed to help food pantries purchase needed refrigerator and freezer units to store perishable food. Refrigerators and freezers allow food pantries to safely store milk, dairy products, meat, fresh produce and other perishable goods that their clients want and need.
AFAN is administering this grant program which allows food pantries to receive up to $4,000 for refrigerators, freezers and associated expenses. Full details on the program and an application to apply can be found on AFAN’s website, www.becomeafan.org, or by calling 402-421-4472.

Department of Transportation (NDOT)

NDOT launched a Traffic Count Dashboard as an informational resource for Nebraskans. NDOT has been reporting traffic data since March 1 tracking COVID19's impact on statewide traffic volumes. NDOT began to see increases in all categories of Weekly Travel Volume May 10-16. All our still negative and down from last year's traffic counts. The Dashboard will be updated weekly. 

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

March 17 - State DMV Millard Office (5730 S 144th Street) Closes to Walk-In Traffic. Office will not reopen.
March 18 - State DMV Stops Conducting Driving Tests Statewide. Implements social distancing measures in offices and limit the number of individuals able to congregate in the lobby. 
March 19 - Gov. Ricketts Executive Order 20-05 on Driver Licensing & Vehicle Requirements March 30 - State DMV Postpones Opening of Omaha Service Center (17077 Burt Street). Replaces two Millard DMV offices.  
DMV News Releases | DMV Services

Department of Environment & Energy (DEE)

NE Public Service Commission (PSC)

March 19 - PSC to Holding Virtual Meetings, No Walk-Ins Press Release
March 24 - PSC COVID19 Letter to Industry

Department of Labor (DOL) 

There were 5,084 new regular unemployment insurance claims filed during the week ending May 30, 2020. This is a decrease of 12.19 percent from the previous week, when 5,790 initial claims were filed. The highest number of new claims filed during the pandemic was 26,539 claims during the week ending April 4. There were 1,079 new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims filed last week compared to 1,229 the prior week, a decrease of 12.2 percent. Spreadsheets Showing Claims Data (Updated every Thursday). Regular and PUA benefits paid each week can be found here.

May 18 - Extended unemployment insurance waivers for COVID19 to August 1. Also workers participating in Short-Time Compensation (STC) plans will be eligible for $600 per week in federal benefits under the CARES Act, in addition to their partial unemployment benefits through STC. Press Release

May 23 - New unemployment insurance benefit payments in Nebraska were stable for the week ending May 23. There were 5,794 new regular unemployment insurance claims filed during the week ending May 23. This is a decrease of 0.72 percent from the previous week, when 5,836 initial claims were filed.

13 Weeks of Additional Unemployment Benefits Now Available – Nebraska workers who have exhausted their state unemployment insurance benefits can apply for an extension of benefits through the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program (PEUC). PEUC provides up to 13 weeks of additional assistance for people who exhausted their 26 weeks of state unemployment insurance benefits on or after July 6, 2019. The benefit is available for weeks ending Saturdays from April 4 to Dec. 26, 2020. Unemployment Insurance Waivers Extended: The waivers of the requirements to search for work and serve an unpaid waiting week have been extended through August 1. Employer charging for benefits paid due to COVID-19 has also been waived through August 1.

NEworks.nebraska.gov  |  dol.nebraska.gov

March 17 -  Gov. Ricketts Issues Executive Order to Loosen Unemployment Insurance Eligibility Requirements   Press Release
  1. In line with federal guidance, Governor Ricketts is allowing the Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) to waive the following requirements for claims filed between March 22 and May 2. 
  2. Employer Chargers- Unemployment benefits are typically paid with contributions from employers.  NE DOL will temporarily waive charges incurred by employers whose team members are filing claims related to COVID-19.  Nebraska has a healthy Trust Fund that will be utilized to pay for unemployment benefits tied to COVID-19.

Filing Unemployment Claim
Any worker in a non-paid status due to COVID-19 may file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits. Unemployment claims in Nebraska are filed online at NEworks.nebraska.gov. The NEworks mobile app is available to download for free. After filing a new initial claim, applicants must certify their eligibility every week that they continue to be unemployed by logging into their NEworks account.  These weekly certifications must be completed even while the new claim is still being processed.  Claim and payment status can also be viewed by logging into the NEworks account.

The federal CARES Act created a temporary program that offers benefits to individuals not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits including the self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, and others (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA). The Act also increases the amount an individual on regular unemployment or PUA will receive by $600 per week through July 25. Workers who have been affected by the pandemic should file a claim for unemployment. NDOL will automatically review every claim that comes in for eligibility under the CARES Act.

Department of Insurance

CARES Act payments will have no impact on ACA Marketplace subsidies according to the Nebraska Department of Insurance. 
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, calls for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make economic impact payments of up to $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 for each qualifying child, adjusted based on income. The federal government has announced that any money received due to the CARES Act does not need to be included as income on an application for individual health insurance coverage through healthcare.gov.
In addition, payments received through the CARES Act do not impact an individual’s eligibility for financial assistance for health care coverage through the Marketplace or eligibility for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). More Info

Medicare Enrollment Due to Loss of Employer Coverage​ Fact Sheet Effective May 13

Dept. of Insurance COVID Notices & Guidance Docs

Department of Revenue

March 23 -  Nebraskans will have until July 15 to pay state income taxes. If possible you're still encouraged to file by April 15. Press Release

March 24 - Accepted Valid Taxpayer or Authorized Taxpayer Representative Signature on Certain Forms and Documents Guidance

May 11 - County Board of Equalization 2020 Protest Meetings June 1 to July 25 COVID-19 Guidance

Claim for Nebraska Personal Property Exemption, Nebraska Employment and Investment Growth Act, Form 775P or Nebraska Advantage Act, Form 312P Due On or Before May 1, 2020 Press Release

Department of Banking and Finance

Extended the expiration dates for the Order Temporarily Mandating Electronic Filings and the March 20 Emergency Order Granting Temporary Relief to assist registrants under the Securities Act of Nebraska, from April 30 to May 31, 2020. View Extension Orders

March: Temporarily suspended examinations of state-chartered financial institutions

May 18:  Guidance Resuming Examinations State-Charted Financial Institutions Effective: June 1 

May 18: Credit Union Guidance. Authorizing state-chartered credit unions to conduct virtual annual meetings of members when in-person meetings cannot be held due to group size limitations during the pandemic. The authorization supplements the department’s March 16 guidance permitting credit unions to postpone the meetings until July or August 2020.  

Department of Veteran Affairs

Nebraska’s Memorial Day Observance 2020 will be a virtual event live-streamed, in partnership with NET, from the Rotunda of the Nebraska State Capitol.  The day will begin with a lighting ceremony by a Gold Star Mother.
When: Monday, May 25 at 8 am - 8 pm
Watch:  at governor.nebraska.gov, veterans.nebraska.gov, or netnebraska.org

Department of Natural Resources

FEMA is extending its 30-day grace period for policy renewals up to 120 days. This is effective for National Flood Insurance Program policies with an expiration date between February 13 – June 15, 2020. FEMA Info

 Real-time stream flows 

Nebraska Emergency Management Agency

There is no essential staffing list maintained by the State of Nebraska for people who have jobs to perform. Individuals leaving their homes in order to perform an activity or function for their jobs DO NOT need to carry or present any letter, identification card or other paper proving that they are allowed to leave their home. NEMA Website

May 18: Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) dollars, provided under the CARES Act, may be used to pay for FEMA’s cost-share requirements under the Stafford Act. This additional flexibility will assist state and local governments in their continued response to and recovery from COVID-19. The U.S. Department of Treasury and FEMA are currently working on guidance to provide to states, territories, tribes who may wish to use CRF funding for this purpose.”

Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office

An electronic burn permit has been developed to be used by fire chiefs across the state. It allows fire departments to review, approve and issue burn permits without having to meet in-person. To obtain a PDF copy of the electronic burn permit, a fire chief can contact Assistant State Fire Marshal Doug Hohbein by email at doug.hohbein@nebraska.gov and request one. Requirements for the proper issuance and use of the permit are included on page 2 of the permit. The issuance and use of electronic burn permits will terminate 30 days after the COVID-19 declared State of Emergency has been withdrawn.”

Department of Administrative Services (DAS)

Are you a Nebraska manufacturer that is capable of providing needed medical equipment/supplies for hospitals and medical providers. DAS is partnering with the Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NMEP) to help and connect manufacturers with the medical community. Register Your Company and Products You Can Produce

Nebraska Legislature

March 23 - Nebraska Legislature Advances Emergency Pandemic Funding Allocations & Vote

Nebraska National Guard

Helping with COVID19 testing, supporting food distribution and more see how Nebraska's National Guard is helping the state. View Photos 

Nebraska Attorney General

Attorney General Doug Peterson joined a coalition of state attorneys general urging Congress to pass S.3607, the Safeguarding America’s First Responders Act. The act would permit the families of first responders, who die or are permanently and totally disabled as a result of COVID-19, to receive the same federal benefits extended to first responders, or their survivors, otherwise killed or injured in the line of duty.
Attorney General Peterson joined 38 attorneys general in urging Congress to help ensure that all Americans have the home internet connectivity necessary to participate in telemedicine, teleschooling, and telework as part of any additional legislation that provides relief and recovery resources related to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Test Nebraska

Complete an online assessment to help Nebraska assess, test, and track COVID-19 cases in Nebraska. Testing is free for Nebraskans and will give Nebraska real-time information about COVID-19. As part of the plan, Nebraskans are asked to take the #TestNebraskaChallenge and to nominate five friends to take the test.  

Mental & Emotional Wellness

While social distancing is helping slow the spread of the virus, it can lead to feelings of isolation, depression, and a lack of social connectedness. Stay connected with family and friends via phone calls, video chats or talk with an individual below:
Nebraska Family Helpline: 1-888-866-8660
Nebraska Rural Response Hotline: 1-800-464-0258
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)