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Sept. 11, 2020Lincoln, Neb. |  By: AP

Nebraska to end nearly all social distancing restrictions

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - 
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is ending nearly all of his state's social-distancing restrictions on even as the number of new coronavirus cases has trended upward over the last few months.

The new rules will still limit the size of indoor gatherings but will drop all other state-imposed mandates in favor of voluntary guidelines, as other conservative states have done.

State officials say they made the decision based on the availability of hospital beds and ventilators. That's in keeping with the Republican governor's goal of not overwhelming medical facilities.

Nebraska's hospitals have 36% of their regular beds, 31% of their intensive care unit beds and 81% of their ventilators available.