Omaha sports bars prepare for Husker gameday under new DHM

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 3:27 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Except for families, there will be no fans allowed in stadiums for Big Ten football games this season.

The COVID-19 restrictions will mean empty stadiums, but local sports bars are hoping the fans will find seats in their establishments to cheer on the Nebraska Cornhuskers despite new restrictions issued by Gov. Pete Ricketts which go into effect Wednesday.

Ricketts wants Nebraskans to avoid the three C’s: crowded places, close contact, and confined places.

Those changes will come during the first Husker game week of the season and means sports bars will have to revisit some previous restrictions.

“No more than eight people at a table and people need to remain seated. In a bar you can be standing if you’re playing a game, if you’re going to the restroom or placing an order,” said Douglas County Health Department Resource Specialist Phil Rooney.

“I think like most Nebraskans we are so excited to see the Huskers play again and just excited to have everybody back in the restaurants and all the bars in town,” said Krisy Byers, manager of Addy’s Sports Bar and Grill.

Bars and restaurants can still operate at 100 percent capacity and tables must be at least six feet apart.

Byers said they will do all they can to make sure Husker fans are safe while cheering on the team.

“We have to make sure we have tables of eight only, make sure that everybody is in a seat which I know is tough during football but we’re making sure. We’re doing our best to enforce all of that, also keeping all of our tables clean and sanitized in-between as we do more turnover,” she said.

There is hand sanitizer at the door and the staff will have masks for customers who need them.

Addy’s also has an outdoor seating area complete with heaters and fire pits. Experts said outdoor activity poses a lower-risk to spead the coronavirus.

“The patio gives you some nice fresh air, too. So we have TVs put their sound out there that will play, as well,” Byers said.

Sports bars around town will have extra staff on hand, and they’re hoping the Huskers make a game of the Ohio State matchup so no one goes home early.

Douglas County officials say gatherings for concerts or other large indoor events will be reduced from 75 to 50 percent of capacity. Officials say there is no need to refile an application, but the venue needs to abide by the 50 percent rule.

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