Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: May 14, 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 15

  • Stay-at-home orders are set to expire in seven states: Arizona, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New York, and Vermont. Arizona is a Republican trifecta. Delaware, Nevada, New Mexico, and New York are Democratic trifectas. Louisiana, Maryland, and Vermont are under divided government.
    • They will be 19th through 25th in the list of states where stay-at-home orders have expired.
    • Of the 18 states where stay-at-home orders have already expired, 13 have Republican governors and five have Democratic governors.
  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): The following businesses will be allowed to resume operations on May 15, according to Gov. Kim Reynolds (R): salons and barbershops (by appointment only), tattoo parlors, race tracks (without spectators), and social and fraternal clubs. Other businesses, including retail stores and restaurants, have already been allowed to reopen under previous executive orders.
  • Louisiana (divided government): Phase 1 of Louisiana’s reopening plan will take effect on May 15, with the following businesses reopening at 25% capacity: gyms and fitness centers; barber shops and hair/nail salons; gaming establishments; theaters; racetracks (no spectators); museums, zoos, and aquariums (no tactile exhibits); and bars and breweries with food permits. Gaming establishments must register and obtain approval before reopening. No other business owners will be required to do so.
  • Maryland (divided government): Stage 1 of Maryland’s reopening will begin on May 15, according to Gov. Larry Hogan (R). The state’s stay-at-home order will expire at 5:00 p.m. and the following businesses will be allowed to reopen: retail stores (50% capacity), manufacturing, churches and places of worship (50% capacity), and personal services (by appointment only). Not all counties will reopen on May 15. Hogan said that counties could choose to open at their own pace.
  • Montana (divided government): Movie theaters, gyms, and museums in the state will have the option to reopen at limited capacity starting on May 15 if they comply with sanitation and distancing requirements. According to the directive, live performance theaters, concert halls, bowling alleys, and pools not in gyms will remain closed to the public.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Four regions—Finger Lakes, North Country, Southern Tier, and Mohawk Valley—have met criteria in the state’s reopening plan to begin reopening on May 15. In Phase 1, construction, manufacturing and wholesale supply chains, agriculture, forestry, and fishing can resume, and retail can open for curbside pickup.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): Outdoor dining at restaurants and bars, and personal services such as salons and barbershops, are scheduled to reopen on May 15. Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced on Thursday, May 14 reopenings for the following businesses and activities: private and public campgrounds and state parks (May 21), horse racing with no spectators (May 22), gyms and fitness centers (May 26), public and private swimming pools (May 26), non-contact sports and leagues (May 26), Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle deputy registrar offices for new or renewed driver’s licenses (May 26), and daycares and summer day camps (May 31).
  • Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): Under Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, bars can reopen with diminished standing room capacity and social distancing measures, organized sports activities may resume, funerals and weddings may resume with social distancing measures, and childcare areas in places of worship can reopen, effective May 15.
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Counties that meet prerequisites on testing, tracing, and declining COVID-19 prevalence will be permitted to begin reopening under the state’s plan on May 15. In Phase 1, restaurants and bars will be able to serve customers indoors and personal care and fitness businesses will be able to reopen, contingent on state restrictions. Additionally, retailers will be able to begin a limited reopening statewide for curbside and delivery service, regardless of county phase.
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): Thirteen more Pennsylvania counties will move into the yellow phase of reopening on May 15: Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland. 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.
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): The first phase of Virginia’s reopening plan will begin Friday, May 15, for all parts of the state except Northern Virginia, including Arlington, Fairfax, Vienna, and Alexandria. According to Gov. Ralph Northam (D), Northern Virginia will need to see a decline in COVID-19 cases to begin reopening. Under phase one requirements, retail stores can reopen at 50% capacity. Bars and restaurants will also be able to offer outdoor dining at 50% capacity. Many types of businesses will remain closed, including entertainment and public amusement venues. Places of worship can hold services at 50% occupancy.

May 16

  • Idaho (Republican trifecta): Gov. Brad Little announced that the state would move into the second phase of reopening on May 16. Phase Two will allow restaurant dining rooms to reopen with the approval of local health officials, in addition to indoor gyms and hair salons that meet business protocols. Larger venues like movie theaters and bars and nightclubs will remain closed.
  • New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Effective May 16, smaller retailers, offices and call centers can reopen at 25 percent capacity, big box stores and larger retailers can reopen at 20 percent capacity, and places of worship can reopen at 10 percent. Under the state’s modified stay-at-home order, which was extended through May 31, everyone in the state is required to wear a face mask in public spaces. The new order does not apply to the northwest corner of the state where community spread is still high. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced the changes on May 13.
  • Utah (Republican trifecta): All but Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Wasatch County, Summit County, and Grand County will move from the orange phase to the yellow phase of Utah’s reopening plan on May 16, according to Gov. Gary Herbert (R). Under the yellow phase, limits on gatherings will rise from 20 to 50 people, but face coverings must be worn in public, and individuals should stay 6 feet from others when outside the home. According to the plan, all businesses can reopen under the yellow phase. Businesses that do open must follow social distancing guidelines and industry-specific requirements, such as limiting tables in restaurants to groups of 10 and symptom checking all employees who work in gyms. The plan also eases restrictions on team sports, so long as social distancing guidelines are followed and participants are checked for symptoms. Utah’s plan puts additional restrictions on high-risk individuals across all phases of reopening. It defines high-risk individuals as those with underlying medical conditions, those over the age of 65, and those living in long-term care facilities.

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.

  • Colorado (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Jared Polis (D) met with President Trump at the White House. The two discussed the state’s plan for reopening. Polis said he hoped to have restaurants open for dine-in services by the end of the month and skiing areas open in June, but that local authorities would have input on how and when to reopen.
  • North Dakota (Republican trifecta): On May 11, Gov. Doug Burgum (R) announced that public and private schools in North Dakota could reopen starting June 1 for summer programs, though schools are not required to. Under the order, child care programs, summer school classes, and college admissions testing can resume. The order also does not prohibit schools from offering summer distance learning options.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): On May 13, Rhode Island released a set of guidelines for reopening businesses. Additionally, the state released a required template for businesses to fill out detailing their coronavirus control plan. Businesses do not need to submit their plan to the state for review before opening, but they must be able to provide it to the Rhode Island Department of Health if requested.
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Jay Inslee (D) released guidance for personal service and professional service businesses in counties allowed to move into Phase 2 before the rest of the state. Under the reopening plan, counties with fewer than 75,000 people with no new COVID-19 cases in the three previous weeks can apply for a waiver to move into the second phase early. According to the guidance Inslee released May 13, if a county is allowed to move into Phase 2, personal services, including barbers and tattoo artists, and professional services, including accountants and attorneys, can reopen May 13 so long as they can meet all safety and health requirements.
  • Wisconsin (divided government): On May 13, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in 4-3 ruling, invalidated the executive branch’s stay-at-home order. The court found that Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm overstepped her authority when she extended the stay-at-home order through May 26 on behalf of Gov. Tony Evers (D). It was the first time a state court of last resort struck down a stay-at-home order. The suit was brought by the state legislature. Republican lawmakers asked the court to strike down the stay-at-home order, but stay the implementation for several days to give them and the governor time to develop a replacement plan. The court declined to do this, and restrictions imposed on individuals and businesses were immediately lifted. Under the most recent stay-at-home order, individuals were told to remain at home, with exceptions made for performing essential and other permitted activities. The most recent order allowed retail businesses to offer curbside pick-up and delivery services and golf courses and other outdoor recreation spaces to reopen, subject to social distancing protocols.

Status of 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 14, stay-at-home orders have ended in 18 states. Governors ended stay-at-home orders in 17 states—13 Republican governors and five Democratic governors. Wisconsin’s state Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Tony Evers’ (D) administration overstepped its authority in extending that state’s stay-at-home order. Of the 25 states with stay-at-home orders in place, six have Republican governors and 19 have Democratic governors.

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

Reopenings status

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: Texas’ Texans Helping Texans

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 27, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) unveiled “Texans Helping Texas: The Governor’s Report to Open Texas.” Abbott simultaneously issued the executive order that initiated the first round of business reopenings, effective May 1 and continuing through at least May 18.

Abbott said, “This strategic approach to opening the state of Texas prioritizes the health and safety of our communities and follows the guidelines laid out by our team of medical experts. Now more than ever, Texans must remain committed to safe distancing practices that reduce the spread of COVID-19, and we must continue to rely on doctors and data to provide us with the safest strategies to restore Texans’ livelihoods. We must also focus on protecting the most vulnerable Texans from exposure to COVID-19. If we remain focused on protecting the lives of our fellow Texans, we can continue to open the Lone Star State.”


  • On March 31, Abbott issued Texas’ statewide stay-at-home order. The order took effect on April 2 and expired on April 30.
  • As of May 13, Texas had 42,403 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,158 deaths. Based on an estimated population of 30 million, the state had 146.2 cases per 100,000 residents and 4.0 deaths per 100,000 residents.
  • Texas is a Republican trifecta, with a Republican governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state Legislature.

Plan details

Guidelines for all individuals:

  • Maintain six feet of distance between individuals who do not reside within the same household.
  • Self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms before going into any business.
  • Wash or disinfect hands upon entering a business and after any interaction with employees, customers, or objects.
  • Consider wearing cloth face coverings when entering a business.
  • Avoid group gatherings of more than five individuals.
  • Avoid contact with individuals aged 65 and older.

Guidelines for all employers and employees:

  • Train all employees on appropriate cleaning and disinfection practices and personal hygiene.
  • Screen all employees for COVID-19 symptoms before allowing them to enter the business.
    • Send home any employee exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
    • Do not permit an employee with COVID-19 symptoms to return to work until the following criteria have been met:
      • Three days since recovery (resolution of fever without medication) and improvement in symptoms.; at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared.
      • If an employee has COVID-19 symptoms and wishes to return to work before the above criteria have been met, he or she must have a doctor’s note indicating that he or she has not tested positive for COVID-19.
    • Do not permit an employee who has had close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 to return to work until completing a 14-day self-quarantine.
  • Require employees to wash hands upon entering the business.
  • Maintain six feet of distance between individuals where possible.
  • Consider requiring employees to wear cloth face coverings.

Guidelines for businesses opening May 1: The following businesses were permitted to resume operations, subject to capacity restrictions and other guidelines, effective May 1.

Guidelines for businesses opening May 8: The following businesses were permitted to resume operations, subject to capacity restrictions and other guidelines, effective May 8.

Guidelines for businesses opening May 18: The following businesses were permitted to resume operations, subject to capacity restrictions and other guidelines, effective May 18.

Guidelines for counties with five or fewer confirmed COVID-19 cases: Abbott issued an executive order authorizing counties with five or fewer confirmed COVID-19 cases to increase occupancy limits for reopened businesses to up to 50%, subject to the following criteria:

  • The county has created a list of testing opportunities.
  • The county has determined, in consultation with its regional advisory council, that it is prepared for any needed healthcare transfers.
  • The county has created and published COVID-19 information for the public.
  • The county has confirmed that nursing homes; assisted living facilities; industrial, agricultural, and business facilities with large numbers of employees; and city/county jails comply with Texas Health and Human Services (HHSC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
  • The county has demonstrated that it is prepared to protect vulnerable populations.
  • The county has documented procedures in the event a resident tests positive.
  • The county has reached out to the state to develop plans for contact tracing to occur within 48 hours of a confirmed positive case.


  • Manny Garcia, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, criticized the plan: “Republicans like Greg Abbott are not here to protect your family. All they care about is making sure their billionaire donors’ interests are protected. Governor Abbott said that he would reevaluate opening Texas up but after four straight days with over 1000 new cases and some of the highest death totals since the crisis began, Abbott decided to throw data and science out the window and continue to fight for his lobbyists and billionaire donors.”
  • James Dickey, chairman of the Texas Republican Party, supported the plan: “Thank you to Governor Abbott and our Republican leaders for getting Texas open for business again. Our economy has taken a tremendous blow but Texans are resilient — and ready to get back to work! We know the Governor is taking the precautions necessary to protect the health and safety of all Texans. We know that it will be Texas and our Texas workers, entrepreneurs, and businesses that will lead the way towards not just an economic comeback here in the great Lone Star State but will lead the way for the country as well. At the end of the day, the Republican policies that led Texas to boom before will lead Texas and the nation to boom again.”
  • Cindy Zolnierek, CEO of the Texas Nurses Association, said, “I do hope that businesses take this seriously. I would very strongly monitor to ensure that they’re not exceeding that 25% capacity. Just because we’re seeing some limitations lifted doesn’t mean that we should let up with all the things we’ve been told to do. I think the governor is trying to balance, you know, what we’re all experiencing economically and as well as mental health. I think we have to monitor very, very closely and respond by reinstituting restrictions if we see any change in our current trajectory.”
  • Brandom Gengelbach, president of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, said, “As leaders of the Texas business community, we applaud Gov. Abbott for focusing on the incremental steps necessary to reopen the Texas economy. We recognize this effort will need to balance public health considerations while restarting economic activity in a phased and gradual approach that guards against subsequent spikes in infections. While each of our communities is different, we recognize that businesses play a vital role in enacting specific measures to keep their workforce safe and thereby protecting the entire community. We are encouraged by the governor’s willingness to work collaboratively with the business community.”

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: Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer announced that the county’s stay-at-home order was extended indefinitely. Several thousand retailers were allowed to reopen last week for pickup service alongside manufacturers.
  • South Carolina (Republican trifecta): On May 13, Gov. Henry McMaster (R) signed into law a bill allowing any eligible South Carolina voter to request an absentee ballot for the state’s June 9 primary and subsequent runoff elections.
  • Baltimore, Maryland Mayor Bernard Young announced the city will keep its stay-at-home order in place. Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich announced the county will extend its stay-at-home order. The state’s stay-at-home order will be allowed to expire on May 15.