Ricketts still opposes mask mandate as virus cases rise

Ricketts still opposes mask mandate as virus cases rise

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Gov. Pete Ricketts is standing firm in his opposition to a statewide mask mandate despite a recent surge in coronavirus cases that threatens to overwhelm Nebraska’s hospitals.

Ricketts urged residents to voluntarily wear a mask, saying it’s one step of many to slow the pandemic.

The Republican governor has focused heavily on getting voluntary compliance from residents, with campaigns urging people to avoid crowds, wash their hands frequently and stay home if they feel sick or show symptoms of the virus.

Ricketts has also refused to let local public health districts impose their own restrictions within their areas because the virus is spreading statewide.