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Gage County Board reacts to mask mandate
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Gage County Board reacts to mask mandate

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The Gage County Board of Supervisors discussed its procedures for dealing with COVID-19 during its regular meeting on Wednesday.

The board’s agenda included an item for the county’s policy, however the meeting was held one day after the Beatrice Board of Health implemented a mask mandate that will include the courthouse.

“The county won’t be imposing anything nor do we have the authority to impose anything,” board chairman Erich Tiemann said. “We didn’t put it in this letter to the employees, but we did talk about supporting villages and cities within the county and the choices the specific village or municipality wants to make.”

Gage County Emergency Management Director Lisa Wiegand said many Gage County communities are discussing how to move forward.

“We do have a lot of villages that are addressing that within their own jurisdiction, I just have not heard yet what they are going to do,” she said.

Wiegand added that as of Wednesday, the Test Nebraska site at the Gage County fairgrounds was averaging 80-90 tests each day.

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She said there have been 410 positive tests in the last two weeks, and the positivity rate of tests is 38%.

The mandate approved Tuesday will last until Dec. 15.

It states that individuals must wear a mask while in any indoor public facility, unless actively eating or drinking.

Gage County is currently in the red section of the risk dial according to Public Health Solutions, which indicates a high risk of spread for COVID-19.

The health board is comprised of Beatrice Mayor Stan Wirth, Dr. Steven Paulmeyer from Beatrice Community Hospital, Beatrice Police Chief Bruce Lang, City Council President Richard Clabaugh and Landmark Snacks general manager Bob Reed.

The mandate also limits bars and restaurants to eight people per table, with no exemption for playing games, and no bar seating whatsoever. The board also specified that the mandate is required when individuals are utilizing indoor fitness centers.

The board agreed on a four-week mandate, as it allows time for the city to see how Thanksgiving affects cases, and it can extend or further amend the mandate before Christmas.

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