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Mask Mandate Extension Approved by City Council

Mask Mandate Extended to the Holidays Into Late February

A mask mandate has been voted on by the Omaha City Council to extend it past the holidays and into late February 2021.

Mask Mandate Passed was Unanimous – A Total Travesty

Typically like past public hearings, where both sides of the argument could speak at length, this time around, council members kept their comments brief. Therefore, the mandate extension was passed unanimous.

“In my judgment, it is important, that this mask mandate continue to exist,” council member Ben Gray said.

Significant Changes to the Mask Mandate Ordinance

Council considered two significant changes to the ordinance, during Tuesday, November 10th meeting.

There is a sunset clause on the mandate. Should the city of Douglas County meet specific terms before the deadline. The mandate would then end if the positivity rate drops to five percent or less for two consecutive weeks. It is also based on reports of 10 cases or fewer per 100,000 people in two weeks based on a seven-day rolling average.

88 Positive Cases per 10,0000

The latest rate showed just over 88 positive cases per 100,000. This information is according to Douglas County Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard. Ben Gray has said the council did not include this stipulation in the extension.

Mandate Approved Through February 23, 2021

The council did approve the second amendment on the table extending the mandate through Feb. 23, 2021.

Councilmember Pete Festersen is said to have introduced an amendment during the meeting in which was approved. He said extending the ordinance through that date to help protect families and students over the holidays.

More Than 30-Day Challenge – Mask Mandate

“This is going to be more than a 30-day challenge for us,” Festersen said. “We do have the holiday’s coming up. It’s important to get through the holidays and get kids through the holidays and then back to school.”

The recent health measure declarations will do a better job of combatting the spread, this is an edict of Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts. Council members Aimee Melton and Brinker Harding are in agreement with this.

App Subscriptions to Healthcare Workers to Get Parents Back to Work

App Provides 25,000 Annual Memberships

The Swishboom App was founded in Omaha. Swishboom is providing 25,000 annual memberships to healthcare workers and healthcare employers. Moreover, it offers a back-up childcare plan for its employees. In turn, this is a backup in the event schools may abruptly close. In turn, Swishboom came out this summer.

Scheduling Childcare, Remote Learning for Families

As a result, it has gone on to help schedule hundreds of hours of childcare. In addition, to remote learning for families across the U.S. Therefore, employers have the chance to offer it to their employees for free as families struggle with the uncertainty of possible school closures due to COVID-19.

App is Gaining Rapid Popularity

Swishboom is the #2 parenting app. In turn, it has over 650 downloads. Since it came out, there have been over 500+ downloads in the 1st week and it has been used nationwide.

Connecting Families with Their Networks to Schedule Babysitters

This mobile app helps to put together families with their network to schedule babysitters fast. In turn, they use a trusted network. Swishboom mimics sourcing. Therefore, it vets a sitter using the referrals of people you know well and can trust. Moreover, Swishboom cuts through the wait time in background checks. As a result, it allows families to leverage their relationships to schedule their childcare and remote learning jobs quickly.

For employers that want to offer Swishboom to their U.S. employees, they can sign up at . Employers will get contacted by a Swishboom representative to onboard their employees.

Swishboom Background Information

Swishboom is a privately held company based in Omaha, Nebraska. The company was founded in 2019 by Kellee Mikuls and Richard Tom. As a result, the team says it has brought together a track record in sales and software engineering. Swishboom is a fellow within The Startup Collaborative.

Swishboom Information

For more information about Swissboom, contact Kellee Mikuls at or (808) 389-4917.

Also visit the company website at Swishboom’s physical address is  808 ConAgra Drive  #400 Omaha, NE 68102

Omaha’s Mask Mandate Extends to November 24th Due to Virus Surges

OMAHA, NE: The Omaha City Council voted to continue to require a mask in indoor settings. This is to help prevent the pandemic from worsening to November 24th. The council voted 5-2 to extend the city’s mask requirement. This is just days before families with be gathering indoors to eat a Thanksgiving meal and plan their Black Friday shopping extravaganza

Omaha’s Top Medical Experts Warnings: Wear a Mask

Omaha’s top medical experts on Tuesday warned that people must remain determined in their efforts to keep the Corona Virus at bay. This information was especially important with cold weather approaching. In addition, to influenza season looming and COVID-19 cases on the rise.

Disappointing Week With Rising COVID-19 Cases

Adi Pour, director of the Douglas County Health Department, said the county experienced “a very disappointing week” of rising numbers. This was related to the coronavirus. A recent 12.5% positivity rate was the highest on record since May 30, Pour said. A seven-day rolling average of 268 cases per million people was much higher than 174 cases. This occurred just two weeks ago, she told the council.

The vote came a day after the University of Nebraska Medical Center officials said that the state going toward a “dangerous period” in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local Hospitals Lack the Capacity to Handle Potential Cases Increases

Dr. Mark Rupp, chief of the division of infectious diseases at UNMC, told council members that local hospitals the capacity to handle a further increase in cases. This especially true once the flu season begins in earnest. “We see warning signs. If they adhered to, we could easily approach a crisis,” Rupp said. This was referring to the hospital’s capacity. “We are not in a crisis mode at present.”

Another local vulnerability, Rupp said, is a “relatively small pool of critical care nurses, physicians and support staff” working diligently since the pandemic began.

Masks Tasked With Further Mandate To Continue Till November

OMAHA, NE – A proposed amendment to extend the mandate of masks in Omaha has been extended until November’s End. This would extend the original date from October 20th to November 24th.

I have a friend from primary school. We were mighty tight. We were thicker than thieves. Peas in a pod. The dullest tools in the shed, but heck, we always had a cool time. However, as most childhood friends are, he was easily forgettable. Likely, because he didn’t know how to improvise. I do comedy, even during these dire times, and the first rule of improv is “yes, and.” Doesn’t matter which school of thought you go to. If they’re a good one, they’ll use “yes, and.” Now, when I said to my former pal how I believe he’s actually an otherworldly alien from Nebraska, even in jest, he could’ve been cooperative and played with that joke. But he never did and to this day, I still don’t think he could.

In any case, Nebraska! That’s the segue!

In Douglas county, COVID-19 testing has been increasing for positive rates. 8.5% this week alone. And because Councilman Peter Festersen is such a stickler for the rules, he won’t remove the mandate to make masks required in public until it dips back below 5%. Which, while desirable, is also impossible these days.

Alas, Festersen has support! Just look at the Omaha Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan, vocalizing her support for the cause. The two friends improvised perfectly off each other, regarding the back-to-school plan for all the students returning.

Certainly, Omaha’s getting oh more harrowing with the September 22nd meeting being the debut of the extension. Beyond that, a public hearing on the 29th and a vote on the 6th of October.

While Festersen has friends, so does the enemy. And there’s no real enemy here. I’m just mentioning the presence of Brinker Harding and Aimeee Melton. They’re voting against this proposal, as they did with the original mask mandate extension.

MMJ Should Be On Ballot Says Secretary Of State

Omaha, NE – Medical Marijuana (MMJ) is under review in the state. As countless states are pushing for reform, Nebraska still has its hand firmly on the table in regards to the benefits of legalization for medical patients.

Bob Evnen – Secretary Of State made a ruling that MMJ should be on the ballot for November 3rd. The prospect will not come without opposition.

Throughout the state, numerous calls for cannabis reform are coming in every direction. With countless citizens and public officials continuously voicing their support for reform.

Pushing the bill is a fast offensive for many who wish to use cannabis to help treat a number of illnesses. While many on the opposition think its best to hold off the vote, many are pushing through the out-of-date rhetoric.

The public is also speaking on behalf of legal medical cannabis. John Gabbard, a local Linconite expressed his concerns:

This is something that could have been fixed a long time ago. The state still remains fully illegal. I have back pain and the only option they are giving me is pain killers. I’ve seen way too many people go down that road and become addicted. There are better options and the state is not allowing it to happen.

For most state officials, the legalization of medical cannabis is on top of their priority. Fortunately for the public, the seem to be on their side.

MMJ Throughout America

The legalization of cannabis is a state-by-state case. Where some states like California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii have full legalization, other places like Nebraska and New Hampshire aren’t. More importantly, many aren’t pushing for the full legalization of cannabis at all. They merely want an alternative to the potentially devastating effects of opioids.

As each state moves forward for legalization, Nebraska still lags extremely far behind in terms of creating a better environment for its citizens. With the ballot ready for November 3rd, responses towards opposition are being put in place.

Lincoln and Omaha Show Increase In COVID-19

Lincoln. NE – COVID-19 cases are rising in two of Nebraska’s largest cities. The virus is now emerging in states that do not adhere to public safety.

Phil Roony, a spokesperson for Wayne County Health Department says we “…have a long way to go until COVID-19 is over”

“The only tools we have to fight it are social and physical distancing and remaining six feet apart from people as much as possible.”

While the concepts are basic, many are still finding it difficult to accept that the virus is not going away. One of the more common ways that people can help each other is to remain 6 feet apart.

This plan is not going well for many within Lincoln and Omaha. Each of these cities is seeing a sharp uptick in confirmed cases.

Since June 27th, the level of confirmed cases is increasing to 800+. The outlook for the state is still much better than the likes of Arizona, Texas, and Florida.

“I certainly wouldn’t want to be somebody who felt that I made someone else sick because I wouldn’t wear a mask for a few moments when I’m out in public,” said Rooney.

Omaha does not require masks to be worn. One of the largest cities in the state has been keeping up with social distancing policies. By staying 6 feet away, many people can deter the spread of the virus exponentially.

While the effects are not as bad in Nebraska, in other areas are, in fact growing. Nebraska is doing a good job of maintaining the spread of the virus. Still, businesses remain closed.

Lincoln Motions To Wear Masks

The state is not implementing mandatory mask requirements. Reported cases are low, but the potential to spread without these requirements is high.

Lincoln, on the other hand, is strictly mandating mask requirements. While both cities are doing a good job to help prevent the spread, they need to keep up with these requirements in order to see it to the end.

The Omaha Rodeo Cancelled Due To COVID-19

Omaha – The annual Rodeo has been canceled due to the increased risk of COVID-19. While many are continuing to stay inside, others feel that they should reopen one of America’s least affected states.

The Rodeo is a staple in Midwestern culture.

“As an extreme sporting event, with fans of all ages, the Omaha Rodeo is committed to supporting the health and safety of our fans as well as the volunteers who support the Rodeo’s philanthropic programs,” says Beth Greiner, Omaha Rodeo Volunteer. “Mark your calendars now for the return of thrilling rodeo action to the CHI Center on September 24 and 25, 2021.”

Throughout the country, many major sporting events have been put on hold. From Baseball to Football, the threat of COVID-19 has been a looming nightmare.

The essential process for major sporting events is to fill stadium seats. For others, it’s an advertising opportunity. Ticket sales are the number one driving factor for sports arenas across the globe.

The Omaha Rodeo Brings Crowded Stands

The problems that face these industries are the number of crowded seats and the level of people not adhering to wearing a mask. For many residents, the threat of COVID-19 isn’t as serious to them as science or statistics.

“The state has one of the least amounts of cases in the US,” says Tim Lewis, a resident of Omaha. “We want to be able to get out of the house.”

The Omaha Rodeo brings in a substantial amount of income each year. Many will flock to the stadium to get a glimpse at the sport. From other cities and states, the sport garners widespread attention. For locals, it means yearly business increases.

Many small businesses continue to remain closed. While this continues, many are closing for good. The economic impact of the virus is starting to hurt more than just the populace, but American industry as well.

Sex Offender Murdered By Citizen

Omaha; Mattieo Condoluci – a registered sex offender was found dead. Police received an email regarding the murder of Mattieo Condoluci early Thursday the 14th. On Saturday, Condoluci was found dead in his apartment.

The anonymous email to alert the police that the sender would take drastic action against the man.

Officers had located the source of the email. James Fairbanks, a resident, is currently in holding with homicide in relation to the Condoluci.

The letter details the reasoning behind Fairbanks. It also mentions that Fairbanks had been studying Condoluci for some time.

When questioned Fairbanks ex-wife had this to say:

“I know this isn’t the right thing and we can’t condone killing by any means — but somebody has to take into consideration all the factors here. We can’t protect our kids in any other way from these people. We’re just supposed to accept it when they move into our neighborhood,” said Tamayo.

Fairbanks career works to rehabilitate children. He is also a secondary educator for alternative schools in the city.

Condoluci As Registered Sex Offender

According to the sex offender registry, Condoluci is a sex offender for a lewd or lascivious assault upon a child in 1994 in Florida and sexual assault of a child in Sarpy County in February 2007. Both are felonies.

In Fairbanks’s email, he wrote of Condoluci “pretending to wash his truck (no soap or water just a rag) while staring at a group of children playing in the street. I watched him for a few minutes and just felt sick to my stomach. He just kept staring at them. The kids thankfully left and he went inside.”

Many are attempting to reach Fairbanks on social media. While some believe the justice system is doing all it can to help the community, the community seems to be taking the side of Fairbanks.

Public outcry over Fairbanks has made it clear that the public supports him, even if the justice system does not.

Ricketts Eases Outbreak Restrictions

In a move mirroring other Republican governors, Nebraska’s Governor Pete Ricketts announced easing outbreak restrictions beginning early May. The region specific change in restrictions impacts much of the state, including the Omaha region. On May 4, certain businesses previously forced to close may reopen to serve customers.

Among the businesses allowed to reopen, Ricketts lists restaurants, tattoo parlors, and salons. In addition, restrictions lift on church gatherings to permit regular worship services.

However, the governor also noted social distancing measures remained in effect, even for reopened businesses. The director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Tony Goins, reassured the public. “I want all Nebraskans to know that we are committed to resuming business operations safely and within guidelines,” he said.

For example, restaurants may only serve up to half their dining capacity at a time.

Ricketts cited hospital capacity as a determining factor for his decision. Nebraska still has nearly half its hospital beds, 77 percent of its ventilators, and 42 percent of its intensive care units available. Furthermore, restrictions remain effective in areas experiencing surges, such as Hall County.

Ricketts Decision Criticized

Despite the governor’s confidence in reopening Nebraska’s economy, several spoke out against his easing of restrictions. One state senator, Adam Morfeld, took to Twitter with his concerns.

Morfeld makes a point cited by others concerned with an early reopening, including health experts. Nebraska’s case count continues to rise, unlike other states that saw their peak already.

Additionally, testing fails to provide an accurate portrait of the state’s outbreak. Inadequate numbers of tests keep officials in the dark as to the actual number of cases. It is assumed to be far greater than the present confirmed case count of 3,358 as of Monday evening.

Still, Ricketts insists upon reopening the state’s economy. Meanwhile, health experts continue to warn against easing restrictions too early, which will likely result in resurgence.

Online Car Sales Replace Dealership Visits

In lieu of in-person visits to physical dealerships, online car sales take place digitally through websites during the global pandemic. With fears of infection looming over every social interaction, consumers look to minimize human to human contact every way they can. With websites offering a complete car shopping experience, they avoid the need to travel.

Many companies began offering online car shopping years ago to keep up with technological advancement. However, for most, the new option failed to eclipse the standard process. Now, several see their online car sales spike as people hole up at home to avoid potential spread.

One such buyer, Karen Murphy, spoke with CNN Business about her online car buying experience. She purchased a new crossover SUV from a dealership 65 miles away from her home. Then, the dealership delivered it directly to her driveway. “She’s in the garage. I named her Betty after my mom,” Murphy said.

The dealership that made the sale, South Oak Jeep Dodge Chrysler Ram, recently transitioned to offering online car sales. With a process increasingly more available, they arrange financing, delivery, and even trades.

Online Car Sales Way of the Future

While the use of websites to facilitate the entirety of the car buying transaction predates the quarantine, it grew considerably in the last weeks.

“If you currently have a dealership that’s been selling maybe 10% of its sales through an online system, maybe now it goes to a third,” said Jack Hollis, head of marketing Toyota in North America.

Most states imposed some form of social distancing orders, which closed businesses. Showrooms now sit quietly awaiting the end of the pandemic. However, as a result, consumers slowly discover the new method of car buying. Carvana, an online used car retailer, launched its service in 2012, which allows customers to view their selection of vehicles in 360 degrees.

Since, many other companies followed suit with entirely online car buying. The following year, GM unveiled their “Shop. Click. Drive.” experience. Auto dealers across the country opt in to list their inventory on the site. Customers buy and receive their vehicles via truck delivery straight to their home.

While the impact of quarantine shifts sales increasingly towards online purchases, many industry experts believe the move demonstrates a broader trend. Some call it the “Amazon effect,” after the massive tech company that offers online shopping for nearly every type of product. When quarantine ends, online car sales and dealer car transport are likely to continue growing.

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