Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: May 7, 2020

This is our daily update on how federal, state, and local officials are planning 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 8

  • Alaska (divided government): Bars and gyms will be allowed to open at 25% capacity Friday. Limits on social and religious gatherings will be increased to 50 people. Businesses will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity and restaurants will be allowed to serve walk-in customers.
  • California (Democratic trifecta): Curbside pickup services may begin for certain types of retail businesses Friday. Permitted businesses include bookstores, music stores, toy stores, florists, sporting-good stores, and clothing stores. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) made the announcement on May 11.
  • 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 on May 5.
  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): The following businesses will be allowed to reopen Friday: dental service providers, campgrounds, drive-in movie theaters, tanning facilities, and medical spas. Businesses in the 22 counties exempted from Gov. Kim Reynolds’ (R) April 27 reopening order will be permitted to resume operations Friday. Reynolds issued the proclamation making these modifications yesterday.
  • North Carolina (divided government): The state’s stay-at-home order, in effect since March 30, expires tomorrow. On May 11, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) issued a modified order that goes into effect 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, subject to cleaning and social distancing measures. Child-care centers may open for working parents or those looking for work. State parks and trails may reopen, subject to limits on gathering size. 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 and will no longer be subject to 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 on May 4. 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 expires Friday. Gov. Gina Raimondo issued the order on March 28. It was originally set to expire on 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 tomorrow. Gov. Bill Lee (R) announced the changes on May 5.

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.

  • Kentucky (divided government): Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack announced that effective May 6, the following types of medical procedures could resume: outpatient gastrointestinal, radiology, diagnostic non-urgent cardiac, outpatient orthopedic, outpatient ophthalmological, outpatient ENT, and outpatient dental procedures.
  • Maryland (divided government): Effective today, healthcare facilities and providers are permitted to resume elective and non-urgent medical procedures, subject to conditions established by the state department of health. The number and types of permitted outdoor activities have also been expanded. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) made the announcement Wednesday.
  • Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): In a Wednesday press conference, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced the state was on track to begin phase two of Oklahoma’s reopening plan, “Open Up and Recover Safely.” Phase two would begin on May 15, and allow bars to open with reduced standing-room capacity, along with the resumption of funerals and weddings.
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): In a Thursday press conference, Gov. Kate Brown (D) released details on a three-phase reopening plan centered on counties. Counties will need to meet prerequisites related to testing, tracing, and declining COVID-19 prevalence to move between phases, and will need to remain in the first phase for a minimum of 21 days before potentially moving to the next. Counties with low COVID-19 infection rates can begin applying on May 8 to enter the first phase of the reopening process, which will start no earlier than May 15. According to the plan, stand-alone retail businesses across the state, such as furniture stores and boutiques, can reopen with limitations on May 15.
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): On May 6, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene in a lawsuit over Governor Tom Wolf’s (D) March 19 order restricting the operations of non-essential businesses in the state. As a result, the state supreme court’s ruling, which upheld the order, was allowed to stand. On March 24, plaintiffs (several Pennsylvania businesses) petitioned the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to vacate Wolf’s order, alleging it violated their constitutional rights to free speech, assembly, and judicial review. The plaintiffs also argued the order deprived them of their property without due process or just compensation. On April 13, the state supreme court rejected the plaintiffs’ claims.
  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): Gov. Jim Justice (R) issued an order mandating that all employees at assisted living facilities and daycare centers in the state get tested for coronavirus. The order directs the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia National Guard to oversee and carry out the testing.

Update on stay-at-home orders

Forty-three states issued orders directing residents to stay home except for essential activities and the closure or curtailment of businesses each state deemed nonessential. Seven states did not.

As of May 7, 15 governors have ended their state’s stay-at-home orders. Twelve of those states have Republican governors and three have Democratic governors. Of the 28 states where governors have not ended their state’s stay-at-home orders, seven have Republican governors and 21 have Democratic governors.

Here’s which stay-at-home orders have expired, and when the rest are scheduled to expire.

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 April 22, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) issued a directive providing for the phased reopening of the state.

In the directive, Bullock extended the stay-at-home order for individuals to April 26 and businesses to April 27. The expiration of the stay-at-home order marked the beginning of the first phase of the three-phase reopening.

Bullock’s order has three phases, but no specific timelines for their duration. Instead, each phase “will be regularly evaluated in close consultation with public health and emergency management professionals.” Bullock said the following factors would help determine when the state moves to the next phase:

  • “Ability for public health professionals to monitor new cases adequately and conduct contact tracing.”
  • “Hospitals must maintain the ability to treat all patients safely, both COVID-19 patients and those with other health conditions.”
  • “Montana must maintain its ability to screen and test all people with COVID-19 symptoms and maintain sufficient levels of personal protective equipment.”

If these criteria can’t be met, the state will revert to the previous restrictions or other mitigation measures.

Bullock said the following orders remain in effect:

  • Mandatory quarantine for certain travelers arriving in Montana remains in effect until modified or rescinded by a subsequent order.
  • Limits on foreclosures, evictions, and service disconnections will continue through May 24, subject to modification by subsequent directives.


  • Bullock issued the original stay-at-home order on March 26. It was set to expire on April 10, but he extended it through April 24. On April 22, Bullock extended the order through April 26 for individuals and April 27 for non-essential businesses permitted to reopen on that date.
  • As of May 6, there had been 456 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Montana and 16 fatalities. A total of 19,704 tests had been administered, amounting to a positive test rate of 2.3%. As of July 2019, Montana’s estimated population was 1.1 million. Per 100,000 residents, there have been 42.7 confirmed positives, 1.5 confirmed deaths, and 1,843.7 total tests.
  • Montana has a divided government, with a Democratic governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Plan details

Phase 1 guidelines (in progress)


  • Although individuals are not required to remain in their homes, it is recommended that residents continue to minimize non-essential travel, particularly if they qualify as vulnerable individuals.
    • Vulnerable individuals are defined as “people over 65 years of age, people with serious underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, or asthma, and people whose immune system is compromised.”
  • When in public, individuals should maintain six feet of distance from others.
  • Individuals should avoid gatherings of more than 10 people if circumstances inhibit appropriate physical distancing.


  • Guidelines for all businesses:
    • Health screenings must be conducted for all employees at the beginning of each shift.
    • Customers should be physically distanced when waiting in line.
    • Waiting areas that cannot accommodate adequate physical distancing must be closed.
    • Physical distancing of six feet must be maintained between customers.
  • Businesses permitted to reopen or expand their operations on the following timetable, subject to reduced capacity and physical distancing guidelines:
    • April 26: Places of worship.
    • April 27: Retail businesses, personal care services, outdoor recreation sites; organized youth activities.
    • May 4: Restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, and casinos (at 50% capacity — these businesses must close their doors and have all customers out by 11:30 p.m.).
  • The following businesses must remain closed for the duration of Phase 1, which does not currently have a fixed end date:
    • Gyms, pools, and hot tubs.
    • Other places of assembly (e.g., movie theaters, performance venues, concert halls, bowling alleys, bingo halls, and music halls).
    • Senior living and assisted living facilities must remain closed to visitors.

Phase 2 guidelines


  • Individuals should avoid gatherings of more than 50 people if circumstances inhibit appropriate physical distancing.


  • In general, all the provisions established in Phase 1 continue to apply in Phase 2. The following additional provisions are set to take effect in Phase 2:
    • Gyms, polls, and hot tubs can resume operations.
    • Other places of assembly can resume operations, subject to gathering-size restrictions and physical distancing guidelines.
    • The reduced capacity threshold for restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, and casinos increases from 50% to 75%.

Phase 3 guidelines

In phase three, there are no limits on gatherings, and businesses can resume normal operations, subject to ongoing physical distancing guidelines.

School provisions

Beginning May 7, schools may resume in-person teaching at the discretion of local school boards.

Local provisions

Bullock’s directive explicitly preempts less restrictive local ordinances. More restrictive local ordinances are presumably permitted.

Guidance for individuals and employers in all phases 

The reopening plan lays out the following guidelines for individuals and employers in all phases.


  • Wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, refrain from touching your face, sneeze or cough into a tissue or the crook of your elbow.
  • Regularly disinfect commonly used items or surfaces.
  • “Strongly consider using non-medical face coverings while in public, especially in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing.”
  • Individuals who do not feel well should stay home, seek medical advice, and adhere to isolation and quarantine guidelines established by their local health departments.


  • Develop and implement policies regarding the following:
    • Social distancing and personal protective equipment
    • Temperature checks and other health screening measures
    • Testing, isolation, and contact tracing, in consultation with public health officials
    • Sanitation
    • Disinfection of common and/or high-traffic areas
  • Employers should monitor their workers for symptoms and not allow symptomatic employees to work


  • Todd O’Hair, president of the Montana Chamber of Commerce, supported Bullock’s reopening plan: “The Montana business community appreciates the Governor’s leadership over the course of the COVID19 pandemic. The Montana Chamber of Commerce supports a phased approach to re-opening our economy, while still maintaining health standards and containing the spread of COVID-19. Montana businesses are capable of being flexible and partnering with our colleagues and employees to address the challenges that this may pose, and are eager to open our doors once again.”
  • Dr. Marc Mentel, president of the Montana Medical Association, said: “Because of Montana’s aggressive approach of shutting everything down early in the pandemic, we are in the fortuitous position of having a very low viral burden in the state. With that being said, I feel assured that a cautious, vigilant, and step wise approach to opening up our healthcare, commerce, and education sectors could be attempted. Keep in mind that for every two steps forward we might need to take a step back, but it is in everyone’s best interest that we try.”
  • Vicky Byrd, CEO of the Montana Nurses Association, wrote in an April 28 op-ed that the state was moving forward on reopening too quickly: “We know that social distancing and good hand-washing is working but relaxing the stay-at-home order at this point could be counterproductive. The last thing we want is to open up too soon, see another spike in cases, and have to revert back to another stay-at-home order. The Montana response has had a positive result and our concern is if we open before important goals are met, our state will lose progress made and will be compromised.”
  • In the week before Bullock issued his reopening plan, state Republicans launched a social media campaign, STARTMontana (“Strategy To Activate a Real Transition”), urging him to loosen restrictions. The campaign is still active. In a May 1 post on the campaign’s Facebook page, profile administrators said, “The governor still has Montana’s small businesses under heavy restrictions – killing our economy. We are down to just 56 active cases, meaning 86% of people have recovered. Why does the governor refuse to #STARTMontana?”
  • Whitney Williams, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, opposed the possible reopening of schools on May 7: “Reopening our schools should be a statewide decision — backed by science, not expediency. Shifting this decision to local school boards creates a patchwork approach across the state that’s not good for parents, for teachers or for anyone in our state. I believe it’s in the best interests of our children and the safety of our communities to keep schools closed in Montana through the end of this academic year and plan for a fall opening.”

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.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the White House declined to implement its 17-page recommendation for reopening America. The report was compiled at the request of the White House Task Force.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) announced that businesses could begin offering pickup services beginning on Friday. Most park hiking trails and golf courses will reopen Saturday. The trails in Runyon Canyon Park and the city’s beaches will remain closed. Garcetti said vulnerable individuals (over 65 or with preexisting conditions) may not go to the trails or golf courses.
  • The Fond du Lac Reporter profiled several candidates who are taking unique approaches to gathering signatures in Wisconsin. Jeff Jacobs (G) set up a table in his lawn where visitors can sign petitions. Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R) mailed copies of his nomination sheets to supporters, asking them to sign and return them.
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) announced a further postponement of the state’s presidential primary, this time to July 7. The presidential primary, which was originally scheduled to take place on April 28, was first postponed to June 2. Carney also announced that the state would mail absentee ballot applications automatically to all eligible voters in the primary.