Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: April 30, 2020

This is our daily update on the plans federal, state, and local officials are making to set America on a path to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Each day, we:

Want to know what happened yesterday? Click here.

Recent developments

Have any states opened in the last 24 hours? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here.

  • ArizonaGov. Doug Ducey (R) extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 15. The order was set to expire today. Ducey also announced that several nonessential retail businesses could begin providing drive-thru services on May 4. State parks, golf courses, and postal services will also be allowed to open on that date. Beginning May 8, those same businesses can begin offering in-store services as long as social distancing requirements are met. Arizona is a Republican trifecta.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) released an updated recovery roadmap. He said the state was still several weeks away from being able to make any of the changes, but that hospitalizations had remained stable for several weeks. The first things to potentially open under the new roadmap would be curbside retail, manufacturing, offices where telework is not possible, and public spaces. California is a Democratic trifecta.
  • Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) announced the state will enter the first stage of a four-stage reopening plan Friday. Stage one allows daycares, organized youth activities, and places of worship (if they adhere to distancing, sanitation protocols, and CDC guidance) to reopen or resume. The state will move on to subsequent stages if there is no significant increase in new cases and if public health benchmarks are met. Idaho is a Republican trifecta.
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) was expected to announce reopening plans at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. The state’s stay-at-home order is scheduled to expire at midnight on May 3. Kansas is under divided government, with a Democratic governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced on Thursday afternoon that the state’s stay-at-home order will remain in effect until May 18. The order was set to expire on May 4. Some businesses will be permitted to partially resume operations through curbside pick-up on May 4. Minnesota is under divided government, with a Democratic governor, a Democratic majority in the state House, and a Republican majority in the state Senate.
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) was expected to hold a press conference to discuss reopening plans at 5:00 p.m. local time Thursday. Nevada’s stay-at-home order is set to expire on May 15. Nevada is a Democratic trifecta
  • Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) issued an executive order placing the state under “moderate risk” protocols beginning at midnight on May 1. Gyms, salons, and other personal care businesses will be allowed to reopen. Restaurants may resume dine-in services modified to follow hygiene standards and social distancing guidelines. Utah is a Republican trifecta.
  • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that the statewide cumulative rate of positive test results remained below 3% for three consecutive days, triggering Week 1 of his reopening plan to begin Thursday. Week 1 includes allowing elective medical procedures, outpatient healthcare operations, and daycare operations (with enhanced testing procedures) to resume. Week 2, set to begin May 4, allows “small businesses with 10 or fewer employees, restaurants with takeaway service or outdoor dining options, religious entities and funeral homes, and professional service businesses such as hair salons, nail salons, barbershops, and pet grooming” to reopen. West Virginia is a Republican trifecta.

Tracking reopenings

The table and maps below show the status of plans to lift restrictions on activities because of the pandemic. We update them daily.

We place states into six categories. How does your state stack up?

  • Reopenings in progress: the state has already lifted restrictions on some industries put in place because of the pandemic.
  • Announced reopenings, effective date: the state will reopen or partially reopen three or more industries on a set date.
  • Announced reopenings, contingent date: the state will reopen or partially reopen three or more industries on a targeted date, dependent on other conditions.
  • Announced reopenings, no date: the state has a plan to reopen three or more industries entirely dependent on conditions.
  • Limited or no announced reopening plan: the state has not yet put forth a plan to reopen three or more industries
  • No state-mandated closures were issued.



Featured plan

This is an in-depth summary of one of the latest reopening plans. Is there a plan you’d like us to feature? Reply to this email and let us know.

On Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed Executive order 20-112, titled “Phase l: Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery.” The order allows some businesses to reopen under certain conditions May 4.

DeSantis said, “We will get Florida back on its feet by using an approach that is safe, smart, and step by step. What is our biggest obstacle? Fear, fear of the unknown, fear sparked by constant doom and gloom and hysteria that has permeated our culture for the last six weeks.”

Phase I’s relaxation of restrictions on some businesses does not apply to Broward, Miami-Dade, or Palm Beach counties, the state’s most highly populated counties and the ones with the highest number of COVID-19 cases. The executive order states that, in these counties, “allowances for services and activities from  … this order will be considered in consultation with local leadership.”

The order allows restaurants, retail stores, libraries, and museums to open to 25% of their building occupancy under certain guidelines. The order also allows elective medical procedures under certain conditions. It extends provisions in previous executive orders closing bars, nightclubs, and gyms and barring vacation rentals. The order maintains limits on public gathering sizes to no more than 10 people and says all people in Florida should avoid nonessential travel.

The order says Florida has “achieved several critical benchmarks in flattening the curve, including a downward trajectory of hospital visits for influenza-like illness and COVID-19-like syndromic cases, a decrease in percent positive test results, and a significant increase in hospital capacity.” It also says the state has implemented “a data-driven strategy devoted to high-volume testing and aggressive contact tracing” and protocols to protect long-term care facility residents.

The order states it is based on guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Scott Rivkees, Florida surgeon general and state health officer. The order’s provisions are based on recommendations from the Task Force to Re-Open Florida.

DeSantis said he plans to reopen in three phases and the timing of the next phases depends on how Phase I goes. He said “[e]ach phase we’re thinking about weeks, not thinking about months.”

Context

  • DeSantis declared a state of emergency in Florida on March 9, 2020, and issued a stay-at-home order effective April 3-30. On April 29, DeSantis extended the stay-at-home order until May 4.
  • Florida has had 33,690 cases of COVID-19, 5,589 hospitalizations, and 1,268 deaths. Miami-Dade County has had 12,063 cases—36% of the state’s total.
  • Florida is a Republican trifecta, with a Republican governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Plan details

DeSantis’ executive order contains guidance and requirements for individual behavior and for businesses.

Behavior requirements and guidance

The order states that local jurisdictions will prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people in public places that do not allow for physical distancing. It also states that all people in Florida should avoid nonessential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines for isolating for 14 days after travel on a cruise, internationally, or to a place with significant COVID-19 presence.

The order also encourages senior citizens and those with underlying medical conditions to stay at home.

The following details relate to businesses and activities allowed to reopen or resume May 4:

Restaurants

Restaurants and food establishments can open under the following conditions:

  • Limiting indoor occupancy to no more than 25% building occupancy
  • Adopting appropriate social distancing measures

The order defines appropriate social distancing as “maintaining a minimum of 6 feet between parties, only seating parties of 10 or fewer people and keeping bar counters closed to seating.”

Retail stores

Storefronts may open if they:

  • Operate at no more than 25% building occupancy
  • Abide by CDC and OSHA safety guidelines

Museums and libraries

Museums and libraries may open if they:

  • Limit to no more than 25% building occupancy
  • Keep interactive exhibits and child play areas closed
  • Are allowed to do so by local government, if a local public museum or library

Elective medical procedures

The order says elective medical procedures may take place under the following conditions:

1. The facility has the capacity to immediately convert additional facility-identified

surgical and intensive care beds for treatment of COVID-19 patients in a surge

capacity situation;

2. The facility has adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to complete all

medical procedures and respond to COVID-19 treatment needs, without the facility

seeking any additional federal or state assistance regarding PPE supplies;

3. The facility has not sought any additional federal, state, or local government

assistance regarding PPE supplies since resuming elective procedures; and,

4. The facility has not refused to provide support to and proactively engage with skilled

nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and other long-term care residential

providers.

The order states that bars, pubs, nightclubs, gyms, and fitness centers must remain closed. 

Pertaining to bars, pubs, and nightclubs, the provision applies to on-site consumption at businesses that “derive more than 50 percent of gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages.”

The order also extends a prohibition on vacation rentals.

Reactions

  • Florida Senate President Bill Galvano (R) said the plan “represents a fact-based, strategic and measured approach that responsibly balances the resilient spirit of hardworking Floridians across our state who are eager to return to work with sensible and science-based public health guidelines developed in conjunction with medical professionals.”
  • Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said, “There’s no denying the negative economic impacts that COVID-19 has had on our county and our entire state. However, thanks to the hard work of so many Floridians, we have made great progress in flattening the curve, and we continue to consult with health and medical experts to protect our residents. We are ready to begin re-opening through a safe and thorough approach. I thank Governor DeSantis for working with us every step of the way and for his leadership these past few months.”
  • Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) said, “I am encouraged by this cautious approach, and I agree that Florida’s re-opening must be measured, in phases, and based on science and data. I remain concerned about key numbers in the weeks ahead, that testing must be increased and that all data must be accurately reported, both cases and deaths.”
  • Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo said, “More than 1,000 Floridians have died in this pandemic, but you wouldn’t know it listening to Governor DeSantis’ indignant press conference today. Just like Trump, DeSantis did not spend his time at the bully pulpit thanking frontline workers or consoling families who have lost loved ones, but deriding the media and ‘doom and gloom’ scientific models that showed a no-action scenario. Enough with the self-congratulatory media performances, where are the tests?”

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of activities by other federal, state, and local governments and influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic. 

  • Michigan Court of Claims Judge Christopher M. Murray ruled against five citizens who sued Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), arguing that the state’s Emergency Management Act (used to issue a stay-at-home order) was an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power. Murray denied the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction against Whitmer’s stay-at-home order, writing that such an injunction “would not serve the public interest, despite the temporary harm to plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.”
  • New York City’s subway system will close for cleaning between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. nightly beginning on May 6. The country’s largest subway system typically runs 24 hours a day seven days a week. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the city would use buses, vans, and vehicles-for-hire to transport essential workers during hours the subway system is closed.
  • The Orange County Board of Supervisors in California voted unanimously to approve health and safety guidelines for businesses to follow once allowed to reopen by local health officials. The guidelines require approval from Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). The guidelines explicitly state they “do not supersede any conflicting or more restrictive orders issued by local governments, the State of California, or the Federal Government.”
  • Wake County, North Carolinawill not extend its stay-at-home order set to expire tonight. Wake is the state’s most populous county and contains the state’s capital of Raleigh. According to The News & Observer, Wake County’s order was more restrictive than the state’s and did not allow for gatherings outside of immediate household members while also designating fewer businesses as essential. Residents will now fall under the state’s stay-at-home order.
  • Retailer Macy’s announced it planned to have all of its roughly 775 stores open in the next six weeks. The company’s holdings include its namesake department stores, Bloomingdale’s, and Bluemercury. A first wave of 68 stores will begin operating on May 4 in several states where restrictions are being lifted.
  • The Venetian resort in Las Vegas released an 800-step plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 once allowed to reopen. The plan also applies to its other properties, The Palazzo and Venezia Tower. The plan includes processes to temperature check all employees and guests, provide guests with amenity kits equipped with face masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves in every suite, and disinfecting casino chips multiple times per day.



About the author

Cory Eucalitto

Cory Eucalitto is a managing editor at Ballotpedia and can be reached at cory.eucalitto@ballotpedia.org

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