Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: May 6, 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.

The next two days

What is reopening in the next two days? Which stay-at-home orders will expire?

May 7

  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Several types of businesses may reopen on Thursday, subject to distancing and other guidelines. The businesses include retailers, wholesalers, shopping malls, car washes, childcare, observatories, pet grooming, and health care services. A full list of businesses is available here (Exhibit G). Gov. David Ige (D) announced the changes Tuesday.
  • Mississippi (Republican trifecta): Restaurants, bars, and outdoor recreational facilities in the state may reopen Thursday. Restaurants and bars must close no later than 10 p.m. and must adhere to social distancing and other guidelines. Outdoor recreational facilities can operate from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., also subject to social distancing guidelines. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) announced the changes Monday.

May 8

  • California (Democratic trifecta): Curbside pickup services may begin for certain types of stores Friday. The stores allowed to open include bookstores, music stores, toy stores, florists, sporting good stores, and clothing stores, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced Monday.
  • Delaware (Democratic trifecta): Retail stores may open for curbside pickup and barbershops and salons may reopen under sanitation and distancing guidelines Friday. Gov. John Carney (D) announced the changes Tuesday.
  • North Carolina (divided government): The state’s stay-at-home order, in effect since March 30, expires Friday. Monday, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) issued a modified order that will take its place Friday. The state will enter the first phase of a three-phase plan. In the first phase, individuals may leave the house for commercial activity. Retail may open at 50% capacity with cleaning and social distancing measures. Child care centers may open for working parents or those looking for work. State parks and trails may reopen with limits on gathering. Face coverings are recommended in public and continued telework is encouraged. Gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people.
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): Twenty-four counties will be allowed to begin reopening Friday. The 24 counties will no longer be under the stay-at-home order. Most businesses may open for in-person services except restaurants, bars, gyms, spas, hair salons, nail salons, massage therapy establishments, casinos, and theaters. Businesses that reopen must adhere to guidelines Wolf released Monday. Gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced the changes on May 1.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): The state’s stay-at-home order is set to expire Friday. Gov. Gina Raimondo issued the order March 28. It was originally set to expire April 13. Raimondo extended the order until May 8.
  • Tennessee (Republican trifecta): Small group recreational businesses, such as bowling alleys, will be allowed to reopen on Friday. Gov. Bill Lee (R) announced the changes Tuesday.

Since our last edition

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

  • Illinois (Democratic trifecta): Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) released his Restore Illinois plan. The plan has five phases and splits the state’s 11 existing Emergency Medical Services Regions into four reopening regions. The regions may reopen independently of one another. All regions are currently in Phase Two, which allows for retail curbside pickup and delivery as well as outdoor activities such as golf, boating, and fishing. Phase Three will allow manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops, and salons to reopen with capacity limits, along with gatherings of fewer than 10 people. The plan does not give a timeline for advancing through the phases.
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that eight state parks reopened on May 6.
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced that a number of businesses, including gyms, hair salons, and tanning salons, would be allowed to reopen within the next two weeks. Texas is in the first phase of its reopening plan.
  • Vermont (divided government): Gov. Phil Scott (R) issued an order that loosens restrictions on social gatherings. Gatherings of 10 people or fewer are now allowed. Many types of outdoor recreation, such as golf and outdoor basketball games, are now allowed. Sporting or spectator events are not allowed.

Update on stay-at-home orders

Forty-three states issued orders directing residents to stay home except for essential activities and closing businesses that they each deemed nonessential. Seven states did not. Here’s which stay-at-home orders have expired, and when the rest are set to.

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.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) implemented Phase 1 of his four-phase reopening plan, “Safe Start Washington,” Tuesday. Each phase will last at least three weeks.

Monday, Inslee extended the state’s stay-at-home order until May 31 with modifications allowing for Phase 1.

Industry-specific guidelines will be issued for businesses allowed to reopen in each phase. Phase 1-permitted reopenings and activities include drive-in spiritual services, some outdoor recreation, construction, landscaping, auto sales, and retail curbside pickup. As of Wednesday, guidelines for outdoor recreation and construction were available. The remaining guidelines will be released by May 15.

Inslee’s plan also details physical distancing, hygiene, and sanitation guidance and requirements for individuals and employers to follow throughout each phase.

Inslee said he was “mindful of regional differences and impacts across the state with regard to the spread of COVID-19 and our response. … Therefore, some counties with lower numbers of cases and deaths, as well appropriate levels of [personal protective equipment] and hospital capacity, may explore plans for reopening businesses sooner.”

Counties with populations under 75,000 that haven’t identified a resident with COVID-19 in the most recent three weeks may apply for a variance, or permission to move to Phase 2 earlier than the rest of the state.

Specified disease burden and readiness indicators will determine when the state moves to subsequent phases.


  • Inslee declared a state of emergency February 29. The original stay-at-home order was effective March 25-April 6. Inslee extended it until May 4, then until May 31 with modifications.
  • As of May 4, Washington had 15,594 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 862 deaths. As of July 2019, Washington’s population was 7.6 million. A total of 219,453 tests were administered, with a positive rate of 7.1%. Per 100,000 residents, there have been 204.8 confirmed cases and 11.3 deaths.
  • Washington is a Democratic trifecta, with a Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Plan details

Guidance for individuals and requirements for employers in all phases 

The plan states, “Until there is an effective vaccine, effective treatment or herd immunity, it is crucial to maintain some level of community interventions to suppress the spread of COVID-19 throughout all phases of recovery.”


  • Stay at least six feet from other people
  • Wear cloth face coverings in public places when not eating or drinking
  • Stay home when sick
  • Avoid others who are sick
  • Wash hands with soap and water frequently/use hand sanitizer when soap and water not available
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Don’t touch eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Regularly disinfect surfaces/objects


  • Maintain the six-foot physical distancing requirements for employees and patrons. When not possible, adopt other measures, such as barriers to block sneezes/coughs
  • Limit close interactions with patrons
  • Provide adequate sanitation and hygiene for workers, vendors, and patrons. Ensure employees can wash hands frequently with soap and running water
  • Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfecting, especially of high-touch surfaces
  • Identify and provide to employees personal protective equipment and face coverings in accordance with Department of Labor & Industries requirements on facial coverings and industry-specific COVID-19 standards.
  • Identify strategies for addressing ill employees, which should include:
    • requiring COVID-19-positive employees to stay home and potentially restricting employees who were directly exposed to COVID-19-positive employees
    • following CDC cleaning guidelines to deep clean after reports of an employee with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, possibly closing the business until the location is properly disinfected
  • Educate employees about COVID-19, including signs, symptoms and risk factors and how to prevent its spread, in a language they best understand
  • As directed by federal, state, and local public health and workplace safety officials, implement other business-specific practices, such as screening employees for illness and exposure upon entry or requiring non-cash transactions
  • Follow requirements in Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 20-46 High-Risk Employees – Workers’ Rights
  • Comply with state and federal law for healthy workplaces and with COVID-19 worksite-specific safety practices outlined in “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Proclamation 20-25, and in accordance with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries General Coronavirus Prevention Under Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order and the Washington State Department of Health Workplace and Employer Resources & Recommendations

Businesses and activities allowed to resume

Phase 1

For individuals:

  • Some outdoor recreation (hunting, fishing, golf, and more) according to guidance issued April 27
  • Limited nonessential travel to engage in Phase 1-permitted activities
  • Drive-in spiritual services, one household per vehicle


  • Construction, according to guidance issued April 29
  • Landscaping
  • Auto and boat sales
  • Retail for curbside pickup
  • Car washes
  • Pet walkers

Phase 2

For individuals:

  • Outdoor recreation involving no more than five people outside one’s household (i.e., camping, beaches)
  • Gathering with no more than five people outside one’s household per week
  • Limited nonessential travel for Phase 1- and Phase 2-permitted activities


  • Remaining manufacturing and construction businesses
  • Restaurants/taverns at less than 50% capacity and with a maximum table size of five people. No bar seating.
  • Hair and nail salons
  • In-store retail, with restrictions
  • Real estate
  • Professional services/office-based businesses (telework still strongly encouraged)
  • In-home services (i.e., nannies, housecleaning)
  • Pet grooming

Phase 3

For individuals:

  • Outdoor group sports with no more than 50 people
  • Gatherings of no more than 50 people
  • Resume nonessential travel


  • Gyms, pools, and other recreational facilities at less than 50% capacity
  • Professional sports without audience participation
  • Restaurants/taverns at less than 75% capacity and with a maximum table size of 10 people. Bar areas at less than 25% capacity.
  • Movie theaters at less than 50% capacity
  • Customer-facing government services (telework still strongly encouraged)
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • All other business activities except nightclubs/events with more than 50 people

Phase 4

For individuals:

  • For high-risk populations, public interactions resume with physical distancing
  • All recreational activity resumes
  • Gatherings with more than 50 people allowed


  • Nightclubs
  • Concert venues
  • Large sporting events
  • Resume unrestricted worksite staffing, with continued physical distancing and good hygiene

County variance

Counties with populations under 75,000 that have not identified a COVID-19-positive resident in three weeks may apply to move to Phase 2 before the state as a whole. Secretary of Health John Wiesman will approve or deny applications.

On May 4, Inslee said 10 counties met that criteria: Columbia, Garfield, Jefferson, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Wahkiakum, Kittitas, Ferry, and Grays Harbor.

Inslee’s plan says he and the Department of Health will consider additional criteria for allowing other counties to apply for a variance, including cases per capita, in the next two weeks.

Steps for counties to follow when applying for a variance can be found on page 7 here.


  • Republican state Reps. Drew MacEwen, Andrew Barkis, Chris Corry, and Brandon Vick sued Inslee in federal court Tuesday over his stay-at-home order extension. Their complaint stated the following:

    “Today, we know far more than we knew in early March about COVID-19. We know that the emergency has been averted. We know that the threat to vulnerable populations remains. We know that there is no longer an emergency in the State. …

    Unfortunately, the Governor insists that he, and he alone, can determine whether an emergency exists. He claims that it’s an emergency if he says it’s an emergency, and that no one—not the legislature, and not the courts—can gainsay him. He claims that the emergency can continue as long as he thinks it continues, and no one but he can say otherwise.

    The Governor has assumed the sole power to determine whether a person in Washington can worship, can peaceably assemble, can work, can build needed housing, can offer living space for rent, can engage in any activity.

    But the facts, and the science, are clear: when the entirety of public knowledge is examined, there is no public disorder or threat to public order in the State of Washington.”

  • Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib (D) tweeted in response to the lawsuit, “I am deeply disappointed that any legislator would advance a frivolous lawsuit like this that, if taken seriously by the public, is incredibly dangerous. There is no road to economic recovery that skips limiting the transmission of #COVID19. Until then, we must #StayHome.”
  • Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward wanted Inslee to consider allowing Spokane County to move to Phase 2 early. Woodward said, “We’re seeing new cases in single digits for a county with a half-million population, and we have no new deaths. We have 10 people in the hospital right now. … I think we have to start looking at those numbers too.”
  • Washington Hospitality Association President Anthony Anton wrote, “This has been a difficult time for our industry. Restaurants are not only eager but ready to serve guests in our restaurants once the state moves forward into Phase 2 of reopening.”

    We want to thank the governor for working collaboratively with the Washington Hospitality Association, and for his trust in our industry’s preparedness to serve the community safely as soon as we get the green light.”

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.

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) criticized Sutter and Yuba counties for allowing many businesses to open Monday. He said, “They’re making a big mistake. They’re putting their public at risk. They’re putting our progress at risk.” Newsom did not say whether the state would take action against the counties. He said, “I would encourage them just to do the right thing.” For more on the county reopening orders, see Monday’s edition.
  • Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced that retailers, offices, and personal care services in Denver could reopen Saturday. Customers must be six feet apart and businesses are limited to a capacity of either 10 people or 50% of normal, whichever is lower. Offices are allowed to open at 50% of normal staffing with employees at least six feet apart.
  • Three schools in Montana announced they will resume in-person instruction on Thursday when the state’s school closure order expires. Gov. Steve Bullock (D) said that the decision whether or not to reopen schools would be up to local officials. The three schools are Cohagen Elementary School (14 students), Cooke City Elementary School (six students), and Willow Creek School (50 students).
  • Judge Analisa Torres of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered the New York State Board of Elections to reinstate the June 23 Democratic presidential preference primary, which the board had previously canceled. Andrew Yang, a former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, and several candidates for New York’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention filed the lawsuit April 28. Learn more here.