Nebraska Will Now Allow Indoor Venues at 100% Capacity

The state of Nebraska on Saturday moved from the “blue” to “green” phase of its pandemic response plan. Among other things, the maximum capacity for indoor gatherings goes from 75% to 100%.

That’s relevant because Omaha, Nebraska’s 18,000+ seat CHI Health Center is the scheduled host for this summer’s U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials.

“It is very promising to hear the news of the capacity increases in the city of Omaha,” USA Swimming COO Mike Unger told SwimSwam. “We are monitoring this carefully and working closely with the USOPC, the venue, CHI Health and Douglas county to gather further information. Every [U.S. Olympic Team] Trials decision will be made with the athletes’ health and safety top of mind. We will continue to be cautious and methodical in all our decision-making, with the end goal of staging two incredible events and choosing the greatest Olympic team.”

The venue does have a number of big events coming up. Creighton basketball, which uses the CHI Health Center as its home arena, has been limiting its capacity to 10% of capacity, even when they could have had higher capacity. A recently-announced Disney on Ice production scheduled f0r March 11-14 that was announced last week will allow 50% capacity.

The venue will also play host to the upcoming NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championships. The NCAA is still working on its own independent analysis of what sort of capacity maximums it wants to allow as well.

In short: just because the venue is open to 75% capacity, doesn’t mean that 75% capacity will be allowed. Larger stadiums like this have been subjected to tighter restrictions throughout the country because of the scale of the venues.

If nothing else, the news means that USA Swimming has more operational flexibility within the regulated capacity limits.

The organization said last week, when announcing the new Wave I/Wave II plan for the Olympic Trials, that it needed about 7,700 spectators, 60% capacity, to break even on the costs of the event.

The move from the “blue” phase to “green” phase is based on hospital occupancy. Specifically, the 7-day rolling average of number of hospital beds filled with COVID-19 patients is less than 10% of all staffed hospital beds in the state.

Omaha will leave its mandatory mask ordinance in effect until February 23 2021, with an extension to late May on the table.

Douglas County says that organizers of gatherings of 1,000 people or more (more lenient than the 500 or more state order) must still submit a “reopening plan” to their local health department and receive approval before holding events.

Other than that, there are no restrictions on gatherings or venues in the “green phase” of the state’s reopening plan, though there is still “recommended guidance.”

Other Impacts of the order:

  • Nebraskans who’ve been fully vaccinated (received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine) do not have to quarantine after close contact.  Instead, they will be in the “self-monitor” category, which involves wearing a mask for 14 days from the date of exposure and monitoring for symptoms.
  • Nebraskans who have recovered from the coronavirus in the past three months do not need to quarantine after close contact, though they’re encouraged to monitor for symptoms.

Nebraska is already planning to hold its 3-day high school swimming & diving state championship meet from February 25-27 will a full contingent of swimmers and divers, plus prelims and finals. The only change is splitting the meet finals into separate boys’ and girls’ sessions.

In January, the NSAA (Nebraska School Activities Association) announced that the meet would be held without spectators.

The NSAA has not announced an update to that plan after the state moved to the “green” phase.

According to New York Times data, the number of new daily coronavirus cases have plummeted in Nebraska since their peak of around 2,400 just before Thanksgiving. The most recent 7-day average of new daily cases in the state is just 500.

At 26 cases per 100,000 residents over the last week, Nebraska ranks among the best third among all states in terms of number of coronavirus infections. Douglas County, where Omaha is located, is slightly above that average at 29 cases/100,000 residents daily, with a 14% test positivity rate over the last 14 days.

The number of recorded COVID patients in hospitals in Nebraska has fallen from a peak of 976 around Thanksgiving to 320 at the end of January.

At 9.35 COVID-19 vaccine doses per 100 residents, Nebraska is distributing the vaccine very close to the rate of the national average.

 

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SCCOACH
7 months ago

People at Olympic trials are mostly not from Nebraska so what is the point of providing Nebraska state Covid statistics?

getagrip
Reply to  SCCOACH
7 months ago

You COVID-deniers never quit, do you?

It provides context for why Nebraska is moving to looser restrictions.

SCCOACH
Reply to  getagrip
7 months ago

Wait what? I’m the opposite of a Covid denier, I’m not sure you know what a Covid denier is.

This event will have people coming from all over including Covid hot spots, it makes no sense to go by Nebraska statistics and open an event like this up if it’s majority non nebraskans

Troll Longhorn
Reply to  SCCOACH
7 months ago

I’ll vouch for that. Coach is scared to come out of his home let alone think of attending the trials and participate in a super spreader event.

Gator
Reply to  SCCOACH
7 months ago

Code applies to building. Building is in Nebraska. Get it?

SCCOACH
Reply to  Gator
7 months ago

I understand everything. My point still stands

Jebron Lames
Reply to  SCCOACH
7 months ago

Dawg, Olympic trials are in Nebraska…. and it’s a venue… and now we’re allowed at 100% in Nebraska venues… quit acting like this article is irrelevant

Swimmom
Reply to  Jebron Lames
7 months ago

It’s not irrelevant it’s just way too early to predict…and if it were today…I’d say having spectators is just the most ridiculous thing to hit the pool!

Irish Ringer
Reply to  Swimmom
7 months ago

Way to early to predict, but we are predicting it’s not safe? 🙂

Meeeeee
Reply to  SCCOACH
7 months ago

i gotcha Coach. You are asking why state the low Nebraska stats when almost all of those participating at Trials and spectators are from elsewhere. All i can say is the state stats are what led to opening so that is why they are used. But agree, the risk of spreading is related to where all those people are coming from. if it was today, then having so many from CA would put the risk of COVID theoretically higher in the building because CA has a high infection rate right now.

JanetFan429
7 months ago

I truly hope we are given the option to get a refund for our tickets given the pandemic is nowhere near under control overall and there are no guarantees people will be able to be fully vaccinated by June.

Doconc
Reply to  JanetFan429
7 months ago

Numbers down over 150000 today from a month ago
Plummeting

Stop living in fear

getagrip
Reply to  Doconc
7 months ago

Numbers are sky-high, thousands of Americans die a day.
Trumpdoc: “STOP LIVING IN FEAR”

Numbers start to fall because people respect the virus and stop having big indoor gatherings, but still among worst in the world, still thousands of Americans die a day.
Trumpdoc: “SEE ALL YOU NEEDED TO DO WAS STOP LIVING IN FEAR”

I shudder at the thought that you might be a real doctor. If onc is oncology, I pray that you’re not telling your cancer patients to “stop living in fear.”

Irish Ringer
Reply to  getagrip
7 months ago

What if they double up on a mask?

Questionable
Reply to  Irish Ringer
7 months ago

Hey! Im supposed to be the sarcastic person here. I mean, unless you want to team up…

Irish Ringer
Reply to  Questionable
7 months ago

We can work together on the sarcasm 🙂

District 3 swimmer
Reply to  getagrip
7 months ago

You can just look at the stats cases are going down

getagrip
Reply to  District 3 swimmer
7 months ago

They sure are. But they didn’t go down because people “stopped living in fear.” They went down because people stopped doing the things notorious for spreading the virus.

Questionable
Reply to  getagrip
7 months ago

Like having a life and not living in fear of a virus that was created in a lab that has a less than 1% mortality rate for any age and even less so for those under the age of 60?

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  getagrip
7 months ago

Did people start “behaving” exactly the same way at exactly the same time in many parts of the country? Or maybe they all “misbehaved” at the exact same time prior to that, too?

Jebron Lames
Reply to  District 3 swimmer
7 months ago

You would be named d3 swimmer too…

AlexA
Reply to  getagrip
7 months ago

Exactly. Why would we just pretend this is over? My parents can’t even get vaccines but let’s all go hang together? So scary

ASmitty429
Reply to  Doconc
7 months ago

What is the problem if someone doesn’t want to take a risk? I’m not asking for Trials to be without spectators. I’d just like the option for a refund. I swear some people just aren’t happy unless they can shit all over anyone that would prefer to not be in a large indoor venue with thousands of people.

Time For Barta To Go
Reply to  ASmitty429
7 months ago

I gave that comment a Like just for the language getting through the moderators. Atta Smitty

Bryan
Reply to  ASmitty429
6 months ago

I bought my tickets in 2020 from Ticketmaster and could get a refund today if I wanted to. I would check into that a little further.

Bryan
Reply to  JanetFan429
6 months ago

You can get a refund today if you want. At least if bought through ticketmaster. I have tickets for a 4 day session and am able to get a refund up until a month or so before the event. However, I bought for the originally scheduled 2020 sessions, so that may make a difference.

MX4x50relay
7 months ago

Well I guess the tickets I bought in 2019 won’t go to waste after all

Breezeway
7 months ago

100%? Ok, Just wait until the surge of the UK and South African strains hit this spring.

Hswimmer
Reply to  Breezeway
7 months ago

Shut it

Breezeway
Reply to  Hswimmer
7 months ago

🐺 🤣 🐺

Aboutdollarsnosense
Reply to  Breezeway
7 months ago

🙉🙈🙊

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  Breezeway
7 months ago

The same ones that have been in circulation for months? And yet…

Troll Longhorn
7 months ago

Load them up. Fill that place to capacity and let’s relive that experience. #YOLO

Crk
Reply to  Troll Longhorn
7 months ago

Unless you are being sarcastic, Yeah, you do only live once, along with the people who are vulnerable and dying in hospitals, who get the virus after others around them come back from superspreader events such as you are suggesting.

Questionable
Reply to  Crk
7 months ago

Pretty sure people who are additionally vulnerable to viral infections dont attend thesr kind of events to start with. The immuno-compromised should be given more credit for how they have taken car of themselves.

Bevo
7 months ago

Progress for sure. We have vaccines now. As we breakthrough the logjam of demand, maybe we consider requiring vaccinations before entering that building, swimmers, coaches, volunteers, and spectators. We’ll be wearing masks for awhile I’m sure.

Questionable
Reply to  Bevo
7 months ago

“Alright every, make sure you have your papers in hand and ready to be scanned. Also pull up your hair so we can scan the barcode on your neck for identity verification. We will also need you to have that vial of blood thats hanging from your neck ready for analysis to double check you still have covid antibodies. Anyways, enjoy your bus ride.”

-Bus driver in any city circa 2022

MY MOM!
7 months ago

Who said the quote that is the third paragraph in the story?

Reply to  MY MOM!
7 months ago

USA Swimming COO Mike Unger. also great username

ct swim fan
7 months ago

I’m sure that things will be better by the summer (hopefully), but a 14% positivity rate in Omaha would concern me if that were still the case when the trials are conducted.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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