Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: May 20, 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 21

  • Missouri (Republican trifecta): State park beaches will open to the public on May 21. Visitors will be required to practice social distancing.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On May 21, private and public campgrounds are permitted to reopen. Horse racing can resume with no spectators on May 22. On May 19, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced Ohioans Protecting Ohioans Urgent Health Advisory, which replaces the state’s stay-at-home order, Stay Safe Ohio. Under the new order, residents are strongly encouraged but not required to stay home as much as possible. For more, see today’s Featured Plan. DeWine also announced that the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation will begin distributing at least 2 million non-medical grade face masks to individuals covered by the bureau. Employers who participate in Ohio’s State Insurance Fund will receive 50 face masks.
  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): Gov. Jim Justice (R) added indoor shopping malls to the list of West Virginia businesses and state functions that can reopen on May 21. That list also includes indoor dining at restaurants, large retail stores, outdoor recreation rental businesses, tanning businesses, and state park campgrounds for in-state residents only.

May 22

  • Alaska (divided government): Alaska will move to Phase Three of its reopening plan on May 22 at 8 a.m., Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) announced on May 19. Phase Three will lift all coronavirus restrictions on businesses and allow them to operate at full capacity. “It will all be open, just like it was prior to the virus,” Dunleavy said. Local governments may choose to open at a different pace than the statewide order.
  • Kansas (divided government): The second phase of Kansas’ reopening will take effect on May 22. The following businesses will be allowed to reopen: recreational organized sports facilities; community centers; indoor leisure spaces (e.g., arcades, theaters, museums, and bowling alleys); state-owned casinos (subject to approval by the state health department); and in-person group exercise classes. The following businesses and activities will remain closed: bars and nightclubs; outdoor and indoor large entertainment venues; fairs, festivals, carnivals, and parades; swimming pools; and summer camps. Phase 2 is set to last through June 7. Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signed the executive order implementing these changes on May 19.
  • Michigan (divided government): Effective May 22, retail businesses, offices, restaurants, and bars in the following 32 counties will be allowed to reopen: Alger, Alpena, Antrim, Baraga, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Crawford, Delta, Dickinson, Emmet, Gogebic, Grand Traverse, Houghton, Iron, Kalkaska, Keweenaw, Leelanau, Luce, Mackinac, Manistee, Marquette, Menominee, Missaukee, Montmorency, Ontonagon, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon, Schoolcraft, and Wexford. Restaurants and bars will be subject to a 50% capacity limit. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced these reopenings on May 18.
  • Tennessee (Republican trifecta): Effective May 22, capacity restrictions will be lifted for retail businesses and restaurants in 89 counties. Six counties, including Shelby and Hamilton, continue to follow guidelines issued by local health departments. Gov. Bill Lee (R) said businesses will be encouraged to enforce social distancing guidelines.
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): Bars, breweries, and wine rooms can reopen at 25% capacity and restaurants can operate at 50% capacity on May 22. Bowling alleys, skating rinks, and aquariums can also reopen at 25% capacity.
  • Vermont (divided government): Lodging, including short-term rentals, campgrounds, and marinas, can reopen on May 22 with restrictions. Hotels and short-term rentals can only accept reservations from out-of-state travelers who have completed the 14-day quarantine requirement or Vermont residents. Campgrounds and multi-room lodging businesses may only book 25% of rooms or sites. All guests must complete a health questionnaire.

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.

  • California (Democratic trifecta): State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said that schools in the state would not have a shared common reopening. Instead, individual districts will set reopening dates, with some targeting reopening as early as June. This is similar to the way the schools were closed to in-person instruction. The state recommended that all schools close on March 20, but many districts had already closed by that time.
  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): On May 19, Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced that gyms, fitness centers, and nail salons, all originally slated to reopen on June 1, will remain closed indefinitely. Mills said that she postponed the reopenings because these facilities “appear to present a greater risk of transmission of the virus based on emerging science and the experiences of other states.”
  • Minnesota (divided government): Gov. Tim Walz (D) was scheduled to hold a press conference at 4 p.m. Eastern time outlining new guidance on restaurant and bar reopenings. We’ll have more on this in our May 21 edition.
  • Mississippi (Republican trifecta): Gov. Tate Reeves on Tuesday issued recommendations for in-person religious services to reopen in the state. Religious services were classified as essential and were not mandated to shut down. On May 21, casinos that comply with Mississippi Gaming Commission and CDC guidelines can begin reopening.
  • Montana (divided government): Gov. Steve Bullock announced Montana would move into the second phase of reopening beginning June 1. Phase Two will allow restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, casinos, gyms, and pools to operate at 75% capacity if they maintain the physical distancing and sanitation protocols established in Phase One. Other venues like concert halls and bowling alleys will be able to operate with reduced capacity under distancing guidelines. In the second phase, residents will be asked to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people unless social distancing can be kept. Visitors to the state will not have to complete a 14-day self-quarantine.
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan announced that on May 20, in-person sales can resume at car, motorcycle, and boat dealerships, and bike shops, by appointment and with social distancing measures.
  • North Carolina (divided government): Gov. Roy Cooper (R) was expected to make an announcement at a press conference on May 20 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time about Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan.
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): Gov. Tom Wolf announced guidelines allowing for limited in-person real estate business to be conducted statewide, including in red-phase counties. He also vetoed three bills passed by the Republican-controlled legislature that would have allowed counties to develop their own virus mitigation and reopening plans and allow more industries to open statewide. Salons, barbershops, and non-essential manufacturing were among the businesses that would have been reopened.
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said he has not decided if Northern Virginia will enter Phase One of the state’s reopening plan as it is scheduled to on May 29. Much of Virginia began reopening on May 15, but Northam delayed the start of reopening in Northern Virginia and the independent cities, including Arlington and Fairfax, over concerns about rising coronavirus cases. Northam also allowed Richmond to delay reopening until May 29 after the mayor asked to be granted an exemption.

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 20, stay-at-home orders have ended in 27 states. Eighteen of those states have Republican governors and nine have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order). Of the 16 states with active stay-at-home orders, one has a Republican governor and 15 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.

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, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (R), and Director of the Ohio Department of Health Amy Acton announced the Responsible Restart Ohio plan.

The initial plan included extending certain stay-at-home protocols and allowing sectors including manufacturing, offices, and retail to reopen between May 4 and May 12 under specified guidelines. Subsequent orders from the state health department have allowed other sectors to reopen.

The Restart plan includes protocols that all businesses must follow, such as requiring employees to wear face coverings and limiting capacity to meet social distancing guidelines.

The plan also includes sector-specific requirements and recommendations for 14 types of businesses and additional guidance for healthcare services and hospitals. Nine sector-specific advisory groups are responsible for advising on best practices.

On April 27, DeWine said, “We put this plan together based on all the information we have about how dangerous COVID-19 still is right now, balanced with the fact that it’s also dangerous to have people not working. … COVID-19 is still out there. It’s still killing people. We’re asking Ohioans to be reasonable and rational. Please don’t take huge chances, and please use common sense when you go out and where you go out.”

On May 19, DeWine announced the end of the Stay Safe Ohio order and its replacement by the Ohioans Protecting Ohioans Urgent Health Advisory. He said the state is shifting from requirements to strong recommendations for some measures because Ohioans have avoided overwhelming hospitals, the number of secondary infections caused by an initially infected person are down, and best practices for reopening businesses are in place.


  • The Ohio Department of Health issued a stay-at-home order effective 11:59 p.m. on March 23, set to expire April 6. It ordered people to stay home except for essential activities and to maintain a distance of six feet in public, limited gatherings to no more than 10 people, and ordered nonessential businesses to close (dine-in and personal services were ordered closed between March 15 and 19). The health department amended the order with additional restrictions on April 2, extending it until May 1.
  • The health department issued the Stay Safe Ohio order on April 30, continuing several stay-at-home protocols and allowing for certain sectors to reopen under specified guidelines. The Ohio Department of Health has released additional orders allowing other sectors to reopen, and the governor’s office and health department released a timeline for further reopenings. On May 19, DeWine announced the Stay Safe order was replaced ahead of its May 29 expiration date with an advisory.
  • As of May 19, Ohio had 28,952 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 1,720 confirmed and probable deaths. Ohio had an estimated population of 11.7 million as of July 2019. Ohio had 247.7 cases per 100,000 residents and 14.7 deaths per 100,000 residents.
  • Ohio is a Republican trifecta, with a Republican governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Ohioans Protecting Ohioans Urgent Health Advisory

At the time of this writing, the advisory replacing the Stay Safe Ohio order had not yet been signed. The following information is from DeWine’s press briefing and a press release on May 19.

The health advisory includes the following recommendations:

  • Maintain six feet of social distancing
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Vulnerable individuals (65 and older, or any age with an underlying health condition) stay home as much as possible, avoid crowds, and wear a mask when out
  • All residents stay at home as much as possible
  • Not traveling unnecessarily

The advisory removes a 14-day quarantine period for people traveling into or returning to Ohio.

The advisory announcement also said, “those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have not recovered, those who are presumptively diagnosed with COVID-19, and those who are exhibiting the symptoms identified in the screening guidance available from the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health” may not enter the state except in certain circumstances.

The 10-person gathering size limit and requirements on businesses to follow social distancing and sanitation guidelines remain in place.

Protocols for businesses

All businesses must:

  1. Require face coverings for employees and recommend them for clients/customers at all times.
  2. Conduct daily health assessments by employers and employees (self-evaluation) to determine if “fit for duty.”
  3. Maintain good hygiene at all times – hand washing, sanitizing and social distancing.
  4. Clean and sanitize workplaces throughout workday and at the close of business or between shifts.
  5. Limit capacity to meet social distancing guidelines.
    • Establish maximum capacity at 50% of fire code.
    • And, use appointment setting where possible to limit congestion.

When a COVID-19 infection is identified, employers must:

  • Immediately report employee or customer infections to the local health district.
  • Work with local health department to identify potentially exposed individuals to help facilitate appropriate communication/contact tracing.
  • Shutdown shop/floor for deep sanitation if possible.
  • Professionally clean and sanitize site/location.
  • Reopen in consultation with the local health department.

See the Ohio Department of Health’s Checklist for Businesses/Employers for additional guidance.


Businesses could reopen according to the following schedule if they could meet general and sector-specific requirements.

May 1

  • Healthcare providers
  • Dentists
  • Veterinarians

May 4

  • General office workplaces
  • Manufacturing, distribution, and construction

May 12

  • Consumer and retail services

May 15

  • Personal services (including tattoo shops, body piercings, hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, spas)
  • Massage, cosmetic therapy, acupuncture
  • Outdoor dining at restaurants and bars

May 21

  • Dine-in services at restaurants and bars
  • Campgrounds

May 22

  • Horse racing (no spectators)

May 26

  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Swimming pools that are regulated by local health departments
  • No-contact/limited-contact sports leagues
  • Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles for certain services

May 31

  • Child care
  • Day camps

Sector-specific guidelines

The Ohio Department of Health had released the following requirements and recommendations for specific sectors as of May 20:


  • After DeWine announced his initial plan on April 27, state House Speaker Larry Householder (R) said the following on the May 12 reopening date for retail:

    “There is a tremendous amount of frustration from the majority of members in the Ohio House regarding the Administration’s unwillingness to recognize that small businesses that have much less daily traffic in their stores are closed while their large chain competitors have been open throughout the process.

    As long as small retailers continue to be shut down while national chains are allowed to remain open, government is assisting in the demise of many great small businesses. The big get bigger and the small go away.”

  • On May 8, WCBE reported that Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said:

    “No child care? Tough luck. Let’s protect any company that opened unhealthily from liability. You lose your unemployment because you didn’t feel safe. All the risks of this reopening from my view are being pushed down to the worker.”

  • A joint statement from the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, National Federation of Independent Businesses Ohio Chapter, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Ohio Manufacturers Association, and Ohio Business Roundtable said of the April 27 plan:

    “Today’s announcement on the reopening strategies of Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted are responsible first steps to Ohio getting back to business. For many businesses in Ohio, the staged reopening of commerce beginning May 1 through May 12 is a relief. We appreciate that the DeWine Administration listened to the business community as well as relevant experts in establishing the required safety protocols.”

  • The Ohio Municipal League said of the April 27 plan:

    “The decisions being made by the Governor reflect the difficult choices in balancing the potential health consequences of reengaging Ohio’s economy with the realities that the prolonged interruption of economic activity will have on our state and our communities. We appreciate the Governor and administration officials for their continued communication with Ohio’s municipal leaders and for the partnership in addressing the challenges facing those on our front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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 San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ask Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to be allowed to move further into phase two of the state’s reopening plan. The board argued that the county met all of the new health statistics required by the state and thus should be able to move forward with relaxing more restrictions on businesses.
  • Eric Dreiband, the head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division, sent a letter to Gov. Newsom saying that the governor had unfairly discriminated against communities of faith in his reopening plan. He said that the state lifting restrictions on entertainment and retail while not doing so for worship services constituted discrimination. “The Constitution calls for California to do more to accommodate religious worship, including in stage 2 of the reopening plan,” Dreiband wrote.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced that the city’s schools would conduct summer school virtually. De Blasio said that more than 177,000 students were enrolled in summer programs, up from 44,000 last year.
  • Clementon, New Jersey church, Bible Baptist Church, reopened this weekend, despite Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) stay-at-home order. Under the order, churches remain closed.
  • MGM International is set to reopen two Mississippi casinos with limited capacity, Gold Strike in Tunica (May 25) and Beau Rivage (June 1).
  • Cherokee Nation Business in Oklahoma released a plan outlining how casinos in Oklahoma will safely reopen.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) authorized 18,000 pharmacists to perform coronavirus tests.
  • Two Rhode Island municipalities announced plans to reopen locally run beaches in their jurisdictions.
  • Lake County, Ohio Judge Eugene A. Lucci ruled in favor of Rock House Fitness, allowing the gym to reopen despite an order issued by Ohio’s Director of the Department of Health, Dr. Amy Acton, which delayed the reopening of gyms and fitness centers until May 26. In his ruling, Judge Lucci stated that Acton’s orders violated the constitutional rights of those types of businesses.