OPD could cite for public health directive violations

Published: Apr. 1, 2020 at 9:16 PM CDT
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The first day of April ushered in 70s and sunshine and people across the metro took advantage of it.

At Benson Park in Omaha, we talked to several people who say they wanted to get out of the house after being cooped up during the Coronavirus outbreak.

But Omaha police are making it clear that they will enforce the state's public health directive order, telling 6 News "individuals found in violation could receive a citation."

Tanya Pittman was walking through Benson Park with her daughter Wednesday afternoon. She says she supports police efforts to crack down on crowd control.

"Yes, so they will not spread the virus," Pittman said. "We want to make sure everyone is going to be OK until this passes. So we need to keep our distance."

Jayden Merrill feels the same.

"I guess they could be doing that. There are some things that could be more important like crime and those kinds of things, but this should be on their list to keep people healthy," Merrill said.

But some, like Reon Wilson, think his freedoms have been hampered enough as it is.

"Don't pull us apart. Don't cite us for something we've been doing since the dawn of time, which is just staying together," said Wilson.

Omaha police tell us they will continue to do compliance checks and follow up on tips and calls in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

We also reached out to Bellevue and Papillion police who say they would issue citations too, but only as a last resort.

All 3 departments say the goal is not to cite people, it's to educate the community about safe practices.