Gov. Pete Ricketts announces CARES Act funding goals
On Friday, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts announced how $1.83 billion the state received from the federal government via the CARES Act will be allocated to help the state's economy recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
, Gov. Pete Ricketts said he was planning to make a "special announcement" Friday, but did not give further details.
But at the
immediately afterward, Mayor Jean Stothert said the governor was planning a press conference to announce details about the next phase of reopening and easing restrictions in the state on Monday.
As of Friday, Ricketts said 42 percent of hospital beds are available in the state, while 45 percent of ICU beds are available and 75 percent of ventilators are available.
Ricketts announcement Friday concerned the CARES Act funding the state received from the federal government -- about $1.83 billion.
About $387 million of that will be allocated in four ways to help the state recover from the pandemic from an economic standpoint, he said.
"Helping out our small businesses, livestock producers... additional skills training for under or unemployed folks, expand infrastructure for rural broadband... and a program to retrain business leaders," he said.
More information on the programs
Nebraska Department of Economic Development Director Tony Goins said the new grant programs are designed to help businesses and the state's economy get going once more.
"These programs will begin accepting applications as early as June 15," he said. The grants -- worth $12,000 -- are to be used for operating expenses.
Steve Wellman, Director of Nebraska's Department of Agriculture, said they have three goals: $100 million to be spent in rural Nebraska, impact as much of the state's agriculture as possible, and make each grant as meaningful as possible.
Ricketts was asked what his thoughts were on a recent survey by the University of Nebraska Medical Center which asked meatpacking workers about conditions at facilities.
"There's still a lot of communication that needs to happen," he said. "There are things the food processors are doing that are not being communicated to the workers."
Temperature checks, health screenings, mask-wearing, using hand sanitizer are among the steps facilities have taken, including changing sick leave policies, Ricketts explained.
"People need to understand what their benefits are if they can't come to work if they're sick," he said.
Asked how far the grant programs will reach across the state, Ricketts said they are being doled out on a first-come-first-serve basis and they know not every small business in the state will receive funds.
"But I believe we will reach a majority of them," he said.