The 17 McDonald’s locations owned by the Darmody family in Omaha, Gretna and Council Bluffs are offering a free coffee to area health care workers.

Local McDonald’s offering free coffee to health care workers

The 17 McDonald’s locations owned by the Darmody family in Omaha, Gretna and Council Bluffs are offering a free coffee to area health care workers.

“We cannot thank those on the front lines of this pandemic enough,” Dustin Darmody said.

To redeem, a health care worker would present an official ID from a health care organization. The offer extends through April 30.

Shields being installed at Family Fare, Quick Stop

SpartanNash is installing 36-inch-square, clear Plexiglas sneeze guards at its stores and shops to protect clerks and customers.

Every cashier station, deli counter, pharmacy, customer service counter and Quick Stop fuel center checkout will have the added safety measure installed by April 3.

The company operates Family Fare and Quick Stop, among other stores.

The sneeze guards will be sanitized at least every 30 minutes.

Hotline available to counsel those in distress

A federal Disaster Distress Helpline is available to help people amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The hotline — 800-985-5990 — provides immediate crisis counseling to people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

It is staffed 24 hours a day and is sponsored by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Helpline specialists are trained to assist callers who have a range of symptoms.

Newman Center near UNO asks students to move out

The St. John Paul II Newman Center near the University of Nebraska at Omaha is asking students to voluntarily return to their permanent addresses.

“We know not all students will be able to move home, and we are certainly not forcing anyone out,” said the Rev. Dan Andrews, executive director and pastor of the center. “Our resident manager is in touch with all of our residents to make sure all have a safe place to live.”

Residents who need to remain at the center may do so. Those who choose to move out are being offered a partial buyback of their lease. More information is available at

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Iowa seeks donations of protective equipment

The Iowa Department of Public Health has asked Iowa businesses and organizations to donate extra personal protective equipment for use by health care providers.

“This an unprecedented public health disaster, and stocks of personal protective equipment … are being used rapidly,” said Ken Sharp, division director of acute disease prevention, emergency response and environmental health.

Any type of health care equipment will be welcomed, especially gloves, gowns, eye protection and masks, the state said. To donate, register the available items by clicking on the “Donate PPE Here” icon on the Pottawattamie County Emergency Management website or directly on the Pottawattamie County COVID-19 Information Site.

Baker’s reserves hour for shoppers 60 and older

The grocer will be open to elderly and other at-risk customers from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

State park lodging, cabins close temporarily

Nebraska Game and Parks will close park lodging facilities and cabin rentals April 1 through 30. Tent camping and RV camping are available and will be evaluated regularly, following state and federal directives, as well as local health department guidelines, the Game and Parks said.

Public shower buildings are closed through April 30, but park restrooms, which are sanitized regularly, remain open.