After Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts railed against new federal masking guidance this week, two lawmakers pointed out that rejecting the guidance could void protections against lawsuits included in a new state law.
The recently enacted law is aimed at providing businesses and other entities with some protection from COVID-19 lawsuits as long as there was “substantial compliance” with federal public health guidance, including from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Nebraska Legislature approved the measure, LB 139, on a 41-1 vote, and Ricketts signed it in late May.
State Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln, a Democrat in the officially nonpartisan Legislature, took aim at Ricketts for decrying recent CDC guidance, even though the governor also supported and signed the new law.
“The governor should be more responsible in his statements and not make statements that could expose businesses to financial liability and ruin,” Morfeld said.
Earlier this week, the CDC recommended that even vaccinated people resume wearing masks in public indoor spaces in areas with substantial or high COVID-19 transmission rates.
That includes all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status. Some local experts had already begun issuing similar recommendations, with case rates rising and the delta variant of the virus taking hold.