Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: May 8, 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 three days

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

Nevada and Kentucky will be the 37th and 38th states, respectively, to begin to reopen. Reopen is defined as partially or completely lifting restrictions on three or more industries. They will be the 14th and 15th states with Democratic governors to begin to reopen. There are still eleven states that have not begun to reopen. Nine of them have Democratic governors.

May 9

  • Nevada (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced that effective Saturday May 9, restaurants (for dine-in at 50 percent capacity with social distancing measures), personal services such as salons and barbershops (by appointment), and retailers (at 50 percent occupancy) could reopen as part of phase one of the state’s reopening plan. Indoor malls are allowed to reopen for curbside pickup. Cannabis dispensaries will also be allowed to reopen. Dispensaries are encouraged to continue curbside pickup and delivery, though in-store sales can resume with permission from the Marijuana Enforcement Division.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Phase 1 of reopening begins Saturday, May 9. The first phase includes allowing elective medical procedures to resume and some state parks to reopen. It allows pilot reopenings of dentist offices, barbershops, salons, and seated dining. Retail stores may also allow in-store pickup for pre-orders. Gatherings are limited to 10 people and social distancing remains in place. The state’s stay-at-home order expires Friday, May 8.

May 11

  • Florida (Republican trifecta): Palm Beach County is allowed to begin reopening. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) approved the reopening today. On Thursday, Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner sent a letter asking DeSantis to allow the county to reopen under Phase One of the governor’s reopening plan. Palm Beach was initially left out of the plan alongside Broward and Miami-Dade counties, while the rest of the state moved to Phase One.
  • Kentucky (divided government): Phase 1 of Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) plan is set to take effect Monday, May 11. It includes reopening manufacturing, construction, vehicle or vessel dealerships, office-based businesses (at 50% capacity), horse racing (without spectators), and dog grooming and boarding services.
  • Michigan (divided government): Manufacturing entities will be allowed to resume operations May 11. Michigan began its phased reopening process on April 24.

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.

  • Arkansas (Republican trifecta): Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) announced that the state’s six casinos could reopen beginning May 18. The casinos will only be allowed to open at 33% capacity and must follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Kentucky (divided government): On Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) outlined the second phase of Kentucky’s “Healthy at Work” plan. Effective May 22, restaurants will be permitted to resume at 33% capacity, plus outdoor seating. Effective June 1, movie theaters and fitness centers can reopen. Effective June 11, public and private campgrounds will be allowed to reopen. Effective June 15, child-care facilities, subject to capacity restrictions, can reopen. Beshear said the third reopening phase would likely begin July 1. As with the first phase of reopening, each new phase is subject to several criteria, outlined here.
  • Michigan (divided government): On Thursday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) unveiled her phased reopening plan, “MI Safe Start.” The plan outlines six phases of disease spread from uncontrolled growth to post-pandemic, with restrictions placed on businesses being eased as the state moves through each phase. These phases, and the changes in restrictions implemented in each phase, are outlined here. Whitmer said Michigan was currently in phase three (flattening), which is marked by a relatively stable number of new cases and deaths on a day-to-day basis, stable healthcare system capacity, and increased testing and tracing efforts. The plan does not specify effective or duration dates for each phase. Instead, movement from one phase to another is contingent on meeting specified public health benchmarks.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced that beginning May 15, outdoor dining would be allowed at restaurants and bars, and personal services, such as salons and barbershops, could reopen. On May 21, restaurants and bars are permitted to reopen for dine-in service, with restrictions, such as social distancing measures and a 10 person limit on parties.
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that 13 counties will move from the red phase into the yellow phase of the state’s reopening plan on Friday, May 15. Those counties will remain under a stay-at-home order until then. Twenty-four counties in the northern part of the state entered the yellow phase Friday, May 8. During the yellow phase, theaters and gyms remain closed, but some types of businesses, such as retail, can begin to reopen with restrictions. Bars and restaurants are limited to carry-out and delivery. Wolf extended the stay-at-home order for counties in the red phase through June 4.
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): The second phase of the state’s reopening plan started Friday, May 8. Businesses allowed to reopen at 25% capacity include barbershops, nail salons, and swimming pools.
  • Vermont (divided government): Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced that all child care programs in the state can reopen on June 1.

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 8, 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. (Rhode Island’s stay-at-home order runs through the end of the day.)

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: Oklahoma’s “Open Up and Recover Safely”

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, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) and the Governor’s Bounce Back Advisory Group released a three-phase plan, “Open Up and Recover Safely.”

Phases 1 and 2 include descriptions of what may reopen and under what conditions as well as guidance for individuals and employers. Additional details on Phase 3 are forthcoming.

Visits to senior care facilities and hospitals are prohibited in each phase.

Phase 1 allowed personal care businesses and state parks to reopen on April 24. Restaurants, entertainment venues, movie theaters, sporting venues, gyms, tattoo parlors, and places of worship were allowed to reopen on May 1.

In Phase 2, bars may open with reduced standing-room capacity, and funerals and weddings may resume. Phase 3, as currently written, will allow summer camps operated by churches and schools to open. Target start dates for Phases 2 and 3 are May 15 and June 1.

Moving from one phase to another requires “hospital & incident rates remain[ing] at a manageable level for 14 days,” hospitals treating all patients without alternate care sites, “sufficient testing material in the state and ability to conduct contact tracing,” and the state’s ability to “quickly and independently supply sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and critical medical equipment, including ICU equipment, to handle a surge.”

As of Friday, May 8, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce had issued specific social distancing and sanitation guidance documents for 15 industries, which are linked below.

Local governments may implement more restrictions than the statewide reopening plan includes.


  • Stitt declared a state of emergency on March 15. Stitt amended the executive order on March 24 to require vulnerable populations (those over the age of 65 and those with serious underlying medical conditions) to stay home. The amended order also required businesses not classified as critical infrastructure in counties identified by the Oklahoma State Department of Health as experiencing community spread to close. Stitt extended the order, originally set to expire April 15, until May 6.
  • As of Friday, there have been 4,424 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma and 266 deaths. As of July 2019, Oklahoma’s estimated population was 4 million. There are 11.8 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents, and 6.7 deaths per 100,000 residents.
  • Oklahoma is a Republican trifecta, with a Republican governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Plan details

Stitt and the Governor’s Bounce Back Advisory Group released the following details April 22. For a list of the group’s membership, see page 5 here.

Pre-Phase 1

The plan says providing guidance for individuals and critical industry employers was a core responsibility of the state before Phase 1 could be implemented.

Guidance for critical industry employers includes developing policies around temperature checks, sanitation, disinfection, travel, contact tracing, social distancing, personal protective equipment, workforce symptom monitoring, and prohibiting sick employees from coming to work. Employers are also encouraged to consider flexible sick leave policies.

The plan links to CDC guidelines.

Guidance for individuals includes adhering to state, local, and CDC social distancing guidelines; washing hands with soap and water; not touching the face; disinfecting frequently-used items/surfaces as much as possible; and staying home and contacting a doctor if feeling ill. The plan also asks individuals to consider wearing face coverings when in public and on mass transit.

Phase 1

Individual guidance:

  • Vulnerable individuals continue to follow safer-at-home guidelines
  • Maximize social distance when in public
  • Avoid socializing in groups/facilities that do not readily allow for appropriate social distancing
  • Minimize nonessential travel and adhere to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and executive orders about isolating after travel

Employer guidance:

  • Create plans to return employees to work in phases
  • Close common areas or enforce social distancing protocols
  • Minimize nonessential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines and executive orders about isolating after travel
  • Honor requests for special accommodations from personnel who are members of a vulnerable population

Allowed to reopen or resume April 24:

  • Personal care businesses (hair salons, barbershops, spas, nail salons, and pet groomers) for appointments only. Must adhere to sanitation protocols and follow Oklahoma Department of Commerce guidelines for social distancing at these businesses
  • State parks and outdoor recreation

Allowed to reopen May 1:

  • Dining, entertainment, movie theatres and sporting venues, using CDC’s recommended social distancing and sanitation protocols
  • Gyms, if they adhere to CDC-recommended social distancing and sanitation protocols
  • Places of worship for in-person meetings, if they leave every other row/pew open and adhere to CDC-recommended social distancing and sanitation, plus the recommended guidelines from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce
  • Tattoo Parlors, for appointments only. Must adhere to sanitation and social distancing protocols

Phase 2

Individual guidance:

  • Vulnerable individuals continue to follow safer-at-home guidelines
  • Maintain social distancing in public
  • Avoid socializing in groups that do not readily allow for appropriate social distancing
  • Consider resuming nonessential travel

Employer guidance:

  • Close common areas or enforce social distancing and sanitation protocols
  • Honor requests for special accommodations from personnel who are members of a vulnerable population
  • Recommended to implement social distancing protocols, including proper sanitation and use of protective equipment when interacting with public

What can reopen or resume:

  • Organized sports activities, under social distancing and sanitation protocols
  • Bars, with reduced standing-room occupancy and under social distancing and sanitation protocols
  • Funerals and weddings, under social distancing protocols
  • Children’s nursery areas in places of worship

Phase 3

The following are described as starting points for Phase 3.

Employer guidance:

  • Can resume unrestricted worksite staffing

What can reopen:

  • Summer camps operated by churches and schools

Industry-specific guidance:

The Oklahoma Department of Commerce issued the following industry-specific guidance documents as of Friday.


  • Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said,

    “[Tulsa Mayor G.T.] Bynum and I, as well as the Oklahoma Municipal League, have been in constant communication with the Governor this last week as he has developed a statewide vision for a new phase in pandemic response. We are very appreciative for that line of communication with the Governor.

    As was announced three weeks ago, and in the interest of public health, our city’s shelter in place proclamation lasts through April 30th, as does the closure of personal care services.

    On the advice of our local public health experts, it is our intent to follow the spirit of the White House criteria for potentially entering a new phase after April 30th. We dearly hope that public health data allows Oklahoma City to consider entering that new phase on May 1st as the Governor has envisioned. We will continue to monitor public health data and will provide updates on our local plans as we have them.”

  • Norman Mayor Breea Clark said, “This recovery plan will begin the Hunger Games between Oklahoma cities fighting over sales tax, forced to put their economies ahead of the safety of their residents. We are the ONLY state in the nation that ties cities to sales tax to support our general funds the way that we do. It has NEVER been a good system, but the economic fallout from this pandemic is further highlighting why this constitutional provision MUST CHANGE.”
  • Secretary of Health and Mental Health Jerome Loughridge, a member of the Governor’s Bounce Back Advisory Group, said, “We look at a whole multitude of data points. … As long as those are staying at a manageable level, we will proceed to the next two-week period.”
  • Oklahoma State Medical Association President Dr. George Monks said:

    “We are concerned Gov. Stitt’s plan to reopen the state is hasty at best. Even without widespread testing, Oklahoma has seen an ongoing growth in the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the past week alone. According to the Trump administration, states should not begin this process until they’ve seen a two-week downward trajectory in COVID-19 cases, and we are far from this point.

    Oklahoma’s physicians, nurses and other health care workers continue to care for those who are ill from this savage disease. To increase the danger of widespread infection by opening prematurely not only discounts their efforts, but also the sacrifices made by their loved ones.”

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.

  • Idaho: In an interview with KTVB, Boise Mayor Lauren McLean outlined the city’s reopening plan and how it differs from Gov. Brad Little’s (R) state plan. The main difference is the city plans do not have target dates attached to phases, which McLean said allows the city to focus primarily on data and not on the dates.
  • Pennsylvania: Four counties filed a lawsuit against Gov. Tom Wolf (D) over their classification as red counties in the state’s reopening plan. Butler, Fayette, Green, and Washington Counties filed the lawsuit in U.S. district court on Thursday, May 7. The counties argue that their constitutional rights have been violated. The case name and number are County of Butler v. Wolf, 2:20-cv-00677. The docket report can be accessed here.
  • Texas: Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt announced an extension of the joint stay-at-home order. The order will now end on May 31 for the city of Austin and June 15 for Travis County. The orders were modified to align with Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) list of businesses that were allowed to open. Abbott’s reopening order explicitly supersedes local stay-at-home orders.
  • Illinois: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced “Protecting Chicago,” a five-phase reopening process she said would complement Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s state reopening plan. She said she believed the city is in Phase 2. Phase 3 will involve limited reopening of select businesses and public amenities. Physical distancing and face covering guidance continues through Phase 4. Timing of the phases will be determined by meeting a number of public health measures.
  • Florida: Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the county’s target date for reopening some businesses is May 18. Miami-Dade, along with Broward and Palm Beach counties, were not included in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reopening plan.
  • California: State officials allowed Orange County to begin opening county beaches for non-stationary activity with physical distancing Thursday.