Memorial Day is often considered the unofficial start of summer. But like everything else these past few months, this year it’ll be a little different due to COVID-19.
Douglas County Health Director Adi Pour is asking people to not assume things are back to normal.
“We hope you will celebrate in small groups this year,” Pour said. “Physical distancing, wearing a face mask and washing your hands regularly are still needed to keep you healthy.”
Most Memorial Day commemorations have been canceled, though “virtual” commemorations are planned Monday by the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs, which people can watch online at veterans.nebraska.gov/memorialday, and by Offutt Air Force Base, which can be viewed on Facebook.
Starting June 1, some of the state’s social distancing restrictions will be loosened. Here’s a roundup of what officials are saying about these traditional summer activities:
Gov. Pete Ricketts said that travelers leaving the state over Memorial Day weekend to neighboring states — and not those experiencing surges in cases — will not be required to quarantine upon their return to Nebraska. As of June 1, travel restrictions will apply only to international travel.
How many people will travel this year? For the first time in 20 years, AAA did not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast. In a press release, AAA said the accuracy of the economic data used to create the forecast has been undermined by COVID-19.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission opened first-come, first-served camping Friday at Smith Falls State Park, 35 state recreation areas and wildlife management areas for all camping units, including tents.
The majority of state parks will continue to be limited to recreational vehicles.
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium
The zoo will reopen June 1 — with significant restrictions.
Officials said the zoo has been planning for its reopening for about a month and will share its reopening details on Tuesday.
Playgrounds and splash pads
Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert announced Friday that the city’s 197 playgrounds will reopen to the public June 1. Omaha’s 11 splash pads will open that day, too.
Stothert cautioned parents that playground structures won’t be regularly disinfected. That’s because the necessary chemicals are harmful, and kids would need to wait 24 hours before they could safely play.
Pools and libraries
Whether Omaha swimming pools, libraries and community centers will reopen in 2020 has not been decided. Other cities, like Papillion and La Vista, have delayed opening their pools as well.
Five Lincoln city pools will open on June 15. Those pools are: Arnold Pool, 4000 NW 46th St.; Ballard Pool, 3901 N. 66th St.; Belmont Pool, 12th and Manatt Streets; Irvingdale Pool, 1900 Van Dorn St.; and Woods Pool, 33rd and J Streets.
Marcus Twin Creek Cinema in Bellevue has put together a drive-in theater in its parking lot, complete with a 42-foot screen, concessions and restrooms.