Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: May 18, 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 Friday? Click here.

The next two days

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

May 19:

  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that a sixth region, Western New York, met the state’s criteria to enter Phase One of New York’s reopening plan. There are 10 regions in the state. On May 19, the following businesses can reopen: construction, manufacturing, and wholesale supply chains, agriculture, forestry, and fishing can resume, and retails can open for curbside pickup. Cuomo announced that elective surgeries could resume in two counties, Suffolk and Westchester, effective Saturday, May 16. He also announced that horse racing could resume, without fans, on June 1. On May 18, Cuomo announced that he’s asked major league sports teams to start planning to reopen or to begin seasons without fans. While stadiums must remain closed to fans, Cuomo said games can still be televised.

May 20:

  • Connecticut (Democratic trifecta): Phase one of Connecticut’s reopening plan will begin. This first phase of reopening will affect museums and zooms, offices, restaurants, and retailers. This phase was originally set to affect hair salons and barbershops, but Gov. Ned Lamont (D) delayed those changes until early June.
  • Kentucky (divided government): Retail businesses will be permitted to reopen at 33% capacity. Funeral and memorial services will also be permitted to resume at 33% capacity.

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.

  • Arizona (Republican trifecta): Gov. Doug Ducey (R) released guidelines on cleaning and social distancing for casinos and movie theaters in the state to reopen. According to ABC 15, several casinos opened on May 15, while major theater chains are expecting to reopen in June or July. See today’s Featured Plan for more on Arizona’s reopening.
  • Delaware (Democratic trifecta): Gov. John Carney (D) released guidance for Phase 1 of the state’s reopening, scheduled to begin June 1. Businesses reopening in this phase, including restaurants and retailers, will be limited to 30% capacity. Phase one will require residents to wear face coverings in public. Delaware’s June 1 target date will make it the 49th state to begin reopening. Only Illinois (with no current target date) will begin reopening after it.
  • Florida (Republican trifecta): Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said theme parks in the state could begin submitting reopening plans for approval. The plans must include a target date for resuming operations and an endorsement from local officials. Disney World and Universal Studios, the largest theme parks in the state, have been closed since mid-March.
  • Illinois (Democratic trifecta): Gov. J.B. Pritzker filed an emergency rule on Friday, May 15 that allows business owners who violate the state’s stay-at-home order to be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.
  • Kansas (divided government): The following businesses were allowed to reopen on May 18: personal service businesses by appointment only (e.g., nail salons, barber shops, and tattoo parlors), gyms, and fitness centers. Gatherings of more than 10 individuals remain prohibited. The following businesses must remain closed: bars and nightclubs; non-tribal casinos; theaters; museums; indoor leisure spaces; community centers; outdoor and indoor large entertainment venues; fairs, festivals, carnivals, and parades; swimming pools; organized sports facilities; and summer camps.
  • Kentucky (divided government): Government offices were permitted to reopen on May 18. Occupational capacity of government buildings was capped at 33%. No more than 50% of a building’s workforce could be in the building at one time. The Department of Education released initial guidance for schools and districts on reopening to in-person instruction this fall. The 16-page document outlined potential start dates for schools ranging from July to October and included guidelines for employee training, contacting tracing, and preparedness for sudden closures.
  • Massachusetts (divided government): Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that the state’s stay-at-home order would be allowed to expire on May 18. It was replaced with a “Safer at Home” order, which advised residents to refrain from leaving their homes unless performing essential or newly permitted activities. Baker also announced the implementation of Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan. Effective May 18, the following businesses were allowed to reopen: manufacturing facilities; construction sites; places of worship; and hospitals and community health centers (to resume high-priority preventative care, pediatric care, and treatment for high-risk patients).
  • Michigan (divided government): Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced the formation of the Return to Learning Advisory Council. The group will make recommendations to the COVID-19 Task Force on Education on returning to in-person instruction in the fall.
  • Minnesota (divided government): Effective May 18, most non-critical businesses were allowed to reopen at 50% capacity. Businesses must establish and implement preparedness plans to reopen. The closure of bars, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation has been extended through May 31. The state’s stay-at-home order expired on May 17.
  • Missouri (Republican trifecta): Missouri state park campgrounds began reopening to guests with reservations on May 18. State park beaches will also open to the public on May 21.
  • Nebraska (Republican trifecta): Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) announced on May 15 that long-term care centers, such as nursing homes, will be required to develop formal plans on how to mitigate the spread of coronavirus among vulnerable residents who live in the facilities.
  • New Hampshire (divided government): As part of Gov. Chris Sununu’s (R) “Stay-at-Home 2.0” order, restaurants could reopen on May 18 for outdoor dining with social distancing measures. That means parties of no more than six and tables must be spaced six feet apart.
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Fishing and charter boats could resume service on May 17. Also on May 17, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an executive order allowing the following business to reopen, effective May 18: nonessential retail stores (for curbside pick up only), nonessential construction (with social distancing measures), drive-through and drive-in events, including church services and drive-in movies (people must remain in their vehicles). If cars are unable to maintain six feet of distance, windows must stay closed. The governor also said that drive-by and drive-in graduations celebrations are allowed, so long as people remain in their vehicles. On May 14, Murphy said Jersey Shore beaches could reopen effective May 22. Under that order, beaches and lakes must limit the number of visitors so that people can practice social distancing.
  • North Carolina (divided government): At a news conference on May 18, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said that an announcement on whether or not the state could move into Phase Two of the state’s reopening plan could come mid-week.
  • North Dakota (Republican trifecta): On May 15, Gov. Doug Burgum (R) announced recommended guidelines for large venues to reopen in phases. The guidelines call for arenas and stadiums to operate at 50% capacity, up to 250 people, and with food service complying with mandatory protocols for restaurants and bars.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): On May 18, the state began allowing outdoor dining at restaurants. It also began requiring open businesses to maintain written COVID-19 Control Plans detailing precautions they have taken to prevent the spread of the virus. The state released a required Control Plan template for businesses to fill out. Businesses do not need to submit their plan to the state for review, but they must provide it to the Rhode Island Department of Health if requested. Non-essential retailers must also sign and display a compliance checklist in an area visible to employees and visitors and keep records available to the Department of Health upon request for contact tracing. Businesses that have not yet opened must complete the Control Plan and checklist requirements before they reopen.
  • South Carolina (Republican trifecta): Close-contact businesses (barbershops, salons, spas, and tattoo parlors), gyms, and public pools began reopening on May 18. The businesses must follow state guidelines, including keeping people six feet apart when possible, installing physical barriers at work stations, and putting up signs to remind employees and customers of safety and hygiene practices.
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): Gov. Greg Abbott (R) added daycares to the list of businesses that were scheduled to reopen on May 18, which included gyms, office spaces, and non-essential manufacturing. Abbott also announced that bars and bowling alleys may reopen with restrictions on May 22 in most counties and that restaurants may expand capacity up to 50% that day. Youth sports and overnight camps can reopen on May 31. Abbott delayed that reopening in El Paso, Randall, Potter, and Deaf Smith Counties, saying each had seen a spike in coronavirus cases. Bars in those counties may reopen, and restaurants may expand to 50% capacity, on May 29.
  • Vermont (divided government): Non-essential retail businesses began reopening to in-person shopping on May 18. Businesses are limited to 25% capacity, and employees must wear face coverings.
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): On May 15, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said restaurants will not be required to maintain a list of customer contact information to reopen, as originally planned. Restaurants are asked to maintain a list of customers who voluntarily share that information.
  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): Fitness centers, gymnasiums, and recreation centers began reopening on May 18 with restrictions. Facilities are limited to 40% capacity and must keep equipment separated to allow for at least six feet of space between people. Other restrictions include keeping showers, locker rooms, swimming pools, and basketball courts closed and limiting the size of group classes.
  • The governors of Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York announced a multi-state agreement to reopen public and private beaches, with restrictions, on May 22.

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 18, stay-at-home orders have ended in 23 states. Governors ended stay-at-home orders in 22 states—16 Republican governors and six 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 20 states with stay-at-home orders in place, three have Republican governors and 17 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: Arizona Together

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 May 12, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced that the state’s stay-at-home order would expire on May 15 and detailed the next steps in the state’s reopening in a presentation titled “Arizona Together.”

Ducey said the state had met White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gating criteria to move to the next phase of reopening:

  • a downward trajectory of influenza- and COVID-like illnesses over 14 days
  • a downward trajectory of positive COVID tests as a percentage of total tests over 14 days
  • treating all patients without crisis care
  • robust testing in place for at-risk healthcare workers

Arizona resumed elective surgeries on May 1 followed by curbside retail on May 4. In-person retail, barbershops, and cosmetologists could reopen on May 8. Dine-in restaurant services could resume on May 11. Gyms, pools, and spas could reopen May 13. All businesses must reopen under certain safety guidelines.

Ducey issued a new executive order, effective May 16, stating that any business physically operating in the state and serving the public must “develop, establish and implement policies based on guidance from the CDC, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and ADHS to limit and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.” The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) had released specific guidance for 10 types of establishments as of May 18.

Following that order, KTAR reported, “Ducey’s office confirmed … that most businesses deemed nonessential under the state’s stay-at-home order” would be allowed to open May 16, including movie theaters and tattoo parlors, and that “[s]ome closures will remain in place for businesses and events where large groups gather. That means bars will have to wait, as will concerts, festivals and sporting events with fans.”

The order also advises vulnerable individuals (including the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) to continue limiting time away from home and members of households with vulnerable individuals to take precautions to protect them. It also advises all individuals to maximize physical distancing in public areas and to avoid settings where that is not possible unless CDC guidelines are followed.

Citing state law, the executive order says that no local government may issue an order or regulation conflicting with or adding to Ducey’s order.

The current executive order has no expiration date and says it will be reviewed for possible revision or repeal at least every two weeks.


  • Ducey issued an order effective March 20 closing bars, gyms, movie theaters, and dine-in services at restaurants in counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases. He issued a statewide stay-at-home order effective March 31, ordering individuals to only leave the house for essential activities and ordering nonessential businesses to cease in-person, on-site transactional operations. He extended the order, initially set to expire April 30, until May 15 with modifications allowing retail to reopen. Ducey issued a new order effective May 16 allowing most nonessential businesses to open in line with federal, state, and local safety guidance.
  • As of May 17, Arizona had 13,937 cases of COVID-19 and 680 deaths. That is 193.9 cases per 100,000 residents and 9.5 deaths per 100,000 residents.
  • Arizona is a Republican trifecta, with a Republican governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Timeline of reopenings

May 1

  • Elective surgeries allowed to resume, with guidelines

May 4

  • Retail for curbside pickup

From the April 29 extended stay-at-home order: “Businesses and entities that remain open shall implement rules and procedures that facilitate physical distancing and spacing of individuals of at least six feet.”

May 8

  • Retail for in-person operations

From the April 29 order: “Businesses and entities that remain open shall implement rules and procedures that facilitate physical distancing and spacing of individuals of at least six feet.”

  • Additional guidance from the Arizona Department of Health Services
  • Barbershops and cosmetologists

From the May 4 executive order: “[E]ffective Friday, May 8, 2020, barbers and cosmetologists … may resume operations provided they establish and implement protocols and best practices for businesses to address COVID-19, including using face coverings for employees and customers, operating by appointment only and following protocols as directed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Department of Labor Division of Occupational Safety and the Arizona Department of Health Services.”

May 11

  • Restaurants for dine-in service

From the May 4 executive order: “[E]ffective Monday, May 11, 2020, dine-in services may resume provided they establish and implement protocols and best practices for businesses to address COVID-19, including enacting physical distancing policies, limiting the number of diners and following protocols as directed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Department of Labor Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Arizona Department of Health Services.”

May 13

  • Gyms with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation (Guidance from the ADHS)
  • Pools with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation (Guidance from the ADHS)
  • Spas with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation (Guidance from the ADHS)

On May 12, Ducey announced guidance for gyms, pools, and spas, which could reopen May 13.

May 16

  • Major League sports with no audience, following CDC guidelines
  • Most nonessential businesses following safety guidelines
  • No bars that don’t serve food, concerts, or festivals may reopen/resume

Ducey’s “Arizona Together” presentation summarized the executive order that was effective May 16 as follows:


  • Vulnerable individuals should remain at home
    • Individuals in these households should avoid returning to work where distancing is not practical
    • Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents
  • All Arizonans should continue to physically distance
    • Social settings where appropriate distancing is not practical should be avoided unless precautionary measures are observed and CDC guidelines are followed



  • Develop and implement appropriate policies, in accordance with Federal, State and local regulations and guidance, and informed by industry best practices, regarding:
    • Social distancing and protective equipment
    • Temperature checks
    • Testing, isolating and contact tracing
    • Sanitation
    • Use and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas
    • Business travel
    • Do not allow symptomatic people to physically return to work until cleared by a medical provider




  • Continue to ENCOURAGE TELEWORK, whenever possible and feasible with business operations.
  • If possible, RETURN TO WORK IN PHASES.
  • Close COMMON AREAS where personnel are likely to congregate and interact, or enforce strict social distancing protocols.
  • Minimize NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel.
  • Strongly consider SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS for personnel who are members of a VULNERABLE POPULATION.


The plan also contains a section called, “Remember to do your part,” advising individuals to do the following:


✓ Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, especially

after touching frequently used items or surfaces.

✓ Avoid touching your face.

✓ Cover your cough or sneeze, cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow.

✓ Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.

✓ Strongly consider using face coverings while in public, and particularly when using mass transit.



✓ Do not go to work or school.

✓ Contact and follow the advice of your medical provider.


Site-specific guidance

As of May 18, The Arizona Department of Health Services has released guidance for 10 types of establishment. There are guidelines for the people who run these establishments and the individuals attending them.


  • Glenn Hamer, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO, said of the April 29 modified stay-at-home order, “The revisions put forth by the governor breathe needed oxygen into our retail sector. Stores that sell essential goods have proven already that they can operate safely, and we look forward to more retailers doing the same.”
  • Timothy Lant, mathematical epidemiologist at Arizona State University, said of the April 29 order, “We waited as long as we could in order to make the right decision, and I think waiting until the 15th is the right decision. … It’s consistent with CDC guidance. It’s consistent with the models that I have developed. It’s consistent with similar activities in other states that are, I think, on the cautious side of doing what needs to be done.”
  • In a joint statement on Ducey’s April 29 order, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, and Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans said, “Our preference is to have the current stay-at-home order remain in place without modifications; however, we agree it’s critical to extend stay-at-home guidelines until at least May 15 and show a steadier trendline before further reopening happens.”
  • State House Majority Leader Warren Petersen (R) wrote of the April 29 order, “I’m asking my colleagues in the legislature to join me in overturning the arbitrary extension of the stay at home order. In case you didn’t know, anyone can stay at home.”

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 National Football League (NFL) will allow teams to open facilities that meet certain guidelines where state and local governments allow beginning May 19. Facilities must have protocols in place developed by the NFL’s chief medical officer. No more than 75 people may be at each team’s facility.
  • Broward and Miami-Dade counties in Florida began reopening May 18. Most other counties in the state began reopening on May 4. Palm Beach County began reopening May 11.
  • On May 16, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit denied a motion for a temporary stay against Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s (D) Executive Order 2020-32, which generally barred gatherings of more than 10 people, including religious gatherings. In an unsigned order, the panel wrote, “The Executive Order does not discriminate against religious activities, nor does it show hostility toward religion. It appears instead to impose neutral and generally applicable rules.” The panel did grant the plaintiffs’ motion for an expedited appeal. The plaintiffs, Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church and Logos Baptist Ministries, allege that the governor’s order violated their First Amendment rights.
  • On May 16, Judge James Dever, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, issued a temporary restraining order against a provision of Gov. Roy Cooper’s (D) Executive Order 138 that barred indoor religious services involving more than 10 people. The plaintiffs alleged that this provision of the order violated their First Amendment rights. Dever agreed: “There is no pandemic exception to the Constitution of the United States or the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Plaintiffs have demonstrated that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their Free Exercise claim concerning the assembly for religious worship provisions in Executive Order 138, that they will suffer irreparable harm absent a temporary restraining order, that the equities tip in their favor, and that a temporary restraining order is in the public interest.” Ford Porter, a spokesman for Cooper’s office, said the governor would not appeal the decision.
  • A Las Vegas gym, CrossFit Apollo, announced that it planned to reopen despite Gov. Steve Sisolak’s order, Directive 18, which required gyms and fitness centers to remain closed while other industries could reopen in Phase One of the state’s reopening plan.
  • Portland International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport announced face-covering requirements for travelers passing through both airports.