Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: May 22, 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.

There will be no Documenting America’s Path to Recovery on Memorial Day, May 25. Enjoy your weekend, and we’ll be back on Tuesday, May 26.

The next three days

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

May 23

  • Vermont (divided government): On Saturday, May 23, places of worship can reopen in Vermont, though guidelines state that drive-in or outdoor services are preferred to indoor services. Places of worship are limited to 25% capacity. As of May 22, campgrounds, marinas, and lodging, including short-term rentals, can reopen with restrictions, and restaurants can offer outdoor dining. Hotels and short-term rentals can only accept reservations from Vermont residents or out-of-state travelers who have completed the 14-day quarantine requirement. Campgrounds and multi-room lodging businesses may only book 25% of rooms or sites. All guests must complete a health questionnaire. Restaurants offering outdoor dining must space tables at least 10 feet apart. Customers must make reservations or call ahead. Additionally, Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced on May 22 that hair salons and barbershops can reopen with restrictions on May 29.

May 25

  • Kentucky (divided government): The following businesses will be allowed to reopen: cosmetology services; hair salons and barbershops; massage therapy; nail salons; tanning salons; and tattoo parlors.
  • Massachusetts (divided government): The following businesses will be permitted to reopen: lab spaces; office spaces; personal services (hair salons, pet grooming, car washes), and retail (delivery and curbside pick-up). The following recreation activities and sites will be permitted to reopen: beaches; parks; drive-in movie theaters; select athletic fields; outdoor adventure activities; fishing, hunting, and boating; and outdoor gardens, zoos, reserves, and other public installations.

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.

  • Alabama (Republican trifecta): Gov. Kay Ivey (R) announced that an amended safer at home order would take effect at 5 p.m. on May 22. The amended order allows entertainment venues, athletic activities, educational institutions, child care facilities, and summer camps to open under social distancing and sanitation guidelines. The amended order is set to last until July 3.
  • Connecticut (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Ned Lamont (D) released phases two and three of the state’s reopening plan. Phase two will take effect on June 20, and phase three will take effect at least four weeks later. Phase two will allow hotels, gyms, personal services, outdoor entertainment venues, amusement parks, indoor entertainment, museums, and dine-in service at restaurants to reopen.
  • Florida (Republican trifecta): Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced that summer camps and youth activities could open immediately with no additional restrictions.
  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): Effective May 22, 89 of Indiana’s 92 counties have advanced to the third phase of reopening, two days earlier than the original target date of May 24. The following businesses are allowed to reopen or expand their operations: retail stores (at 75% capacity); mall common areas (at 50% capacity); gyms and fitness centers; playgrounds and other outdoor recreation facilities; community pools; and campgrounds. Social gatherings of up to 100 people are permitted. Cass, Lake, and Marion counties will be eligible to move into the third phase on June 1.
  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): Effective May 22, the following businesses are allowed to resume operations: movie theaters (at 50% capacity); museums, aquariums, and zoos; swimming pools; and wedding reception venues.
  • Kansas (divided government): The second phase of the state’s reopening took effect on May 22. The following businesses are 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 remained 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.
  • Kentucky (divided government): Effective May 22, restaurants are permitted to resume dine-in service at 33% capacity, plus outdoor seating. Social gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed.
  • Michigan (divided government): Retail businesses, offices, restaurants, and bars are allowed to reopen effective May 22 in 32 counties. Restaurants and bars are subject to a 50% capacity limit.
  • Nebraska (Republican trifecta): On May 21, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) announced that 89 counties will enter Phase II of the state’s reopening plan starting June 1. Under Phase II, bars and strip clubs are permitted to reopen at 50 percent capacity, host parties up to six people, and patrons must stay six feet away from entertainers. Games, such as darts and pool, are prohibited. Gatherings of up to 25 or 25 percent capacity (excluding staff) for indoor or outdoor attractions, such as arenas, fairgrounds, libraries, or any other confined indoor or outdoor space are allowed in Phase II. No more than 3,000 people are allowed in larger venues, even if that is less than 25 percent occupancy. Weddings and funerals may also resume, up to 25 people or 50 percent occupancy, excluding staff. Parades, carnivals, midways, dances, and beer gardens are prohibited through June 30. Phase II also lifts the recommendation that residents who traveled to a country or a state with a widespread COVID-19 outbreak self-quarantine for two weeks. Under the new phase, only those who traveled internationally will need to self-quarantine for 14 days. The new phase will allow limited noncontact sports, such as baseball and softball, to resume practices by June 1, with games resuming on June 18. Basketball, tackle football, soccer, and wrestling remain prohibited in Phase II. Ricketts also announced four counties that were not included in Phase I reopenings will be able to enter that phase in June. Under Phase I, the following businesses will be permitted to reopen: personal services, such as salons and barbershops, and in-restaurant dining at 50 percent capacity.
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): On May 22, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an executive order opening public and private campgrounds and permitting gatherings of 25 or fewer outdoors ahead of Memorial Day weekend. The gathering limit also applies to other outdoor recreation, such as charter and fishing boats, and outdoor batting cages. Indoor gatherings remain limited to 10 people. On May 21, Murphy said that more indoor businesses, such as gyms, salons, and barbershops may reopen in a matter of weeks. Murphy’s administration also released guidelines for seasonal farmworkers and employers.
  • New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced on May 20 that the state was on track for more businesses and services to begin opening on June 1. On June 1, in-restaurant dining, salons, gyms, and malls could potentially reopen.
  • North Carolina (Republican trifecta): Gov. Roy Cooper’s (D) stay-at-home order expired at 5:00 p.m. on May 22. Replacing it is a safer-at-home order that will remain in effect through at least June 26. The following businesses and activities are permitted: retail (50 percent capacity), in-restaurant dining (50 percent capacity), personal services such as salons and barbershops (50 percent capacity), indoor and outdoor pools (50 percent capacity), child care facilities, and day and overnight camps. Under the new order, limits on gatherings are increased to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): Effective May 22, horse racing can resume with no spectators. As of May 21, in-restaurant dining is permitted to resume, with social distancing measures and a 10-person limit on parties.
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Marion and Polk counties joined 31 other counties in the first phase of reopening. In Phase 1, gathering sizes are limited to 25, and restaurants and bars can open for dine-in. Retailers, malls, personal service businesses (like hairdressers and salons), and fitness centers can also reopen, contingent on their compliance with state guidelines.
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): Twelve counties entered the yellow phase of reopening on May 22. 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. Gov. Tom Wolf said he expects to release a list of additional counties on May 22 that will be able to move into the yellow phase. Wolf is also expected to announce the first counties that will be able to move from yellow to the green phase, which allows most businesses to open under state restrictions and lifts gathering limits.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gina Raimondo signed an executive order extending Phase One of Rhode Island’s reopening plan until May 31. She said the state is on track to enter the second phase of reopening beginning June 1. Phase Two will allow personal service businesses (such as barbershops and salons), gyms, and some outdoor entertainment activities to reopen. It will also lift the state’s travel restrictions and allow groups of up to 15 people to gather.
  • South Carolina (Republican trifecta): Attraction facilities in the state began to partially reopen. Eligible businesses include zoos, museums, aquariums, planetariums, historic sites, waterparks, amusement park rides, go-kart tracks, and miniature golf courses. The reopening does not include bowling alleys, nightclubs, spectator sports venues, or movie theaters.
  • Tennessee (Republican trifecta): Capacity restrictions for retailers businesses and restaurants were lifted on May 22 in 89 counties. Large attractions and venues are also allowed to reopen in those counties with restrictions, per updated guidelines released May 20.
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): Effective May 22, bars, breweries, and wine rooms are permitted to reopen at 25% capacity, and restaurants are permitted to reopen at 50% capacity. Additionally, indoor entertainment, like bowling alleys and skating rinks, are allowed to reopen at 25% capacity.
  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): Effective May 22, restaurants in West Virginia can reopen to indoor dining. Capacity is capped at 50% and social distancing guidelines must be followed.
  • Northeastern states – Beaches in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York were permitted to reopen 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 22, stay-at-home orders have ended in 28 states. Eighteen of those states have Republican governors and 10 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order). Of the 15 states with active stay-at-home orders, one has a Republican governor and 14 have Democratic governors.

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

Tracking industries: Barbershops and salons

All 50 states began to reopen in some way. Here, we give the status of one industry or activity across the states. Today’s question: in which states may you go out for a haircut?

Barbershops and salons may open in 36 states. They may not open in 14 states. The chart and map below indicate which states permit barbershops and salons to open in some form, even with restrictions (like capacity) or only in certain regions.

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 18, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (R) announced the four-phase “Reopening Massachusetts” plan.

Manufacturing, construction, and places of worship were permitted to reopen May 18 with certain guidelines. Hospitals and health centers were also permitted to resume some services with certain guidelines. Additional reopenings are scheduled for May 25 as part of Phase 1.

The plan includes mandatory safety standards around social distancing, cleaning, staffing, and hygiene for all workplaces as well as sector-specific requirements.

Each phase will last at least three weeks. According to the announcement, “specific industries, regions, and/or the entire Commonwealth may need to return to an earlier phase” if public health trends are negative. The public health metrics that determine movement from one phase to the next are:

  • COVID-19 positive test rate
  • Number of individuals who died from COVID-19
  • Number of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals
  • Health care system readiness
  • Testing capacity
  • Contact tracing capabilities

Baker said, “These two will be inseparable: getting back to work and fighting COVID, until there is a medical breakthrough with treatments or a vaccine. And we cannot move forward unless we commit to continuing to slow the spread.”

The Reopening Advisory Board developed the plan. The board has 17 members, including public health experts, members of the business community, and municipal leaders. Polito and state Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy chair the board.

Also on May 18, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued a safer-at-home advisory, replacing the previous stay-at-home advisory. It says people over the age of 65 and people with underlying health conditions should stay home except for essential activities. It says all others should stay home except for essential and newly permitted activities. The advisory requires people to wear face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public.

Some municipalities in Massachusetts have reopening plans with more restrictions than the statewide plan.


  • On March 23, Baker ordered nonessential businesses to close effective March 24 and limited gathering sizes to no more than 10 people. The order was set to expire April 7. Baker also directed the state Department of Public Health to issue a stay-at-home advisory instructing residents to stay home except for essential activities and essential travel. On March 31, Baker extended his order to May 4. On April 28, he extended it until May 18. On both occasions, he announced the stay-at-home advisory would remain in effect.
  • On May 18, the state Department of Public Health issued a safer-at-home advisory maintaining stay-at-home guidance for those over 65 and those with underlying health conditions and advising others not to leave home except for essential and newly permitted activities.
  • As of May 21, Massachusetts had 90,084 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 6,148 confirmed deaths. Massachusetts’ estimated population was 6.9 million as of July 2019. The state had 1,307 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents and 89.2 deaths per 100,000 residents. Massachusetts had the third-highest per capita case rate and fourth-highest per capita death rate of all states.
  • Massachusetts has a divided government, with a Republican governor and Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Plan details

Guidance for individuals in all phases

  • Cover your face
  • Wash your hands
  • Socially distance
  • Be vigilant for symptoms
  • Stay home if you feel sick

Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards

All businesses must implement the following measures. Essential businesses have until May 25 to comply with mandatory workplace safety standards.

Social Distancing

  • All persons, including employees, customers, and vendors should remain at least six feet apart to the greatest extent possible, both inside and outside workplaces
  • Establish protocols to ensure that employees can practice adequate social distancing
  • Provide signage for safe social distancing
  • Require face coverings or masks for all employees

Hygiene Protocols

  • Provide hand washing capabilities throughout the workplace
  • Ensure frequent hand washing by employees and adequate supplies to do so
  • Provide regular sanitization of high touch areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms throughout work site

Staffing and Operations

  • Provide training for employees regarding the social distancing and hygiene protocols
  • Employees who are displaying COVID19-like symptoms do not report to work
  • Establish a plan for employees getting ill from Covid-19 at work, and a return-to-work plan

Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Establish and maintain cleaning protocols specific to the business
  • When an active employee is diagnosed with COVID19, cleaning and disinfecting must be performed
  • Disinfection of all common surfaces must take place at intervals appropriate to said workplace

The reopening plan announcement also states:

In order to reopen, businesses must develop a written COVID-19 Control Plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. Required materials are located on, and include detailed sector-specific circulars and checklists to facilitate compliance.

Phase 1 (began May 18)

Guidance for individuals

The safer-at-home advisory includes the following:

  • People over age 65 and people with underlying health conditions (high-risk populations) should continue to stay home except for essential activities
  • All other residents advised not to leave home except for essential and newly permitted activities
  • Ask pharmacy to fill prescriptions for 90 days if possible. If a member of the high-risk population, try to use mail delivery service.
  • Avoid close-contact activities (i.e., pickup sports games)
  • All residents required to wear face covering when they can’t maintain six feet of social distance in public
  • Parents should limit play dates
  • Do not visit residential care settings (i.e., nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities)
  • Wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soapy water
  • Monitor symptoms and stay home if sick
  • Use remote modes of communication to visit with people who are at high risk

Additional requirements for individuals/groups:

  • Gatherings limited to 10 people
  • Travelers to the state urged to self-quarantine for 14 days
  • Lodging restricted to essential workers


Permitted to open May 18:

  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Places of worship (to 40% capacity, outdoor services encouraged)
  • Hospitals/community health centers (high-priority preventative care, pediatric care, and treatment for high-risk patients)

Permitted to open May 25:

  • Lab space
  • Office space, excluding those in Boston (“work from home strongly encouraged; businesses should restrict workforce presence to <25% maximum occupancy”)
  • Hair salons and barbershops (by appointment only)
  • Pet grooming (by appointment only, curbside pickup/dropoff)
  • Car washes (exterior car washing only)
  • Retail (remote fulfillment and curbside pick-up)
  • Beaches
  • Parks
  • Drive-in movie theaters
  • Some athletic fields and courts
  • Many outdoor activities
  • Most fishing, hunting, and boating
  • Outdoor gardens, zoos, reserves, and public installations

Permitted to open June 1:

  • Office spaces in Boston (“work from home strongly encouraged; businesses should restrict workforce presence to <25% maximum occupancy”)

Phase 2

Guidance for individuals

  • Safer-at-home advisory lifted
  • High-risk individuals should continue working from home if possible, with priority consideration for workplace accommodations
  • Gathering sizes TBD
  • Travel discouraged
  • Travelers to the state urged to self-quarantine for 14 days
  • Lodging open with restrictions


The following might be allowed to reopen in Phase 2:

  • Retail (with capacity limitations)
  • Restaurants (with capacity limitations)
  • Lodging (with capacity limitations)
  • Additional personal services—i.e., nail salons, day spas (with capacity limitations)
  • Expanded ambulatory in-person routine care throughout Phases 2 and 3 (i.e., dental cleanings, some elective procedures, day habilitation)
  • Campgrounds
  • Playgrounds and spray decks
  • Public and community pools
  • All athletic fields and courts
  • Youth sports in limited fashion

Phase 3

Guidance for individuals

  • “High risk should work from home if possible; priority consideration for workplace accommodations (these could be adjusted depending on pending epidemiological evidence)”
  • Gathering sizes TBD
  • Travel TBD


The following might be allowed to reopen in Phase 3:

  • Bars (with capacity limitations)
  • Arts & Entertainment—e.g., Casinos, gyms, museums (with capacity limitations)
  • All other business activities resume except for nightclubs and large venues (with capacity limitations)
  • Additional recreation and outdoor activities and services
  • Youth sports with games and tournaments (limited crowd sizes)

Phase 4

Guidance for individuals

  • High-risk populations resume public interactions with physical distancing
  • Gathering sizes TBD
  • Travel resumes with continued social guidance


  • Full resumption of activities

Sector-specific guidance

The state will release guidance for sectors before they may reopen, and they must comply with guidance before reopening. Guidance for sectors that have already been permitted to reopen may be updated throughout the phases of the plan. The following sector-specific guidance had been released as of May 22:


The reopening plan includes guidance for transit riders, employers, and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).

Guidance for riders and employers

  • Riders are required to wear face coverings and must make efforts to distance. Riders are asked to avoid riding transit if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19;
  • Employers are encouraged to stagger schedules and implement work from home policies to reduce demand, especially during rush hours;
  • The MBTA will continue to take protective and preventative measures such as frequently disinfecting and cleaning vehicles and stations and providing protective supplies to workers.

Guidance for MBTA

  • Support the transit needs of essential workers and those returning to the workplace in Phase 1 while continuing with limited service to maximize employee and rider safety;
  • Ramp up to a modified version of full service by Phase 3, although social distancing efforts will limit effective capacity on vehicles even after full service schedules are restored;
  • Actively communicate public health guidance and schedule adjustments in-station, online, and over social media.


  • U.S. Rep Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) tweeted, “MA isn’t ready to ‘reopen’. Policy decisions that offer a false choice between public health & economic recovery will hurt our communities. I urge @MassGovernor to re-evaluate his timeline & invest in the supports needed to keep our families safe.”
  • Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jim Lyons tweeted, “Governor Baker & Lg Polito just put in place the most restrictive business requirements in history. These regulations potentially will crush our economy. As I watch this press conference I feel so sad for the small struggling businesses in our state.”
  • John Regan, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, said, “We realize that every employer in Massachusetts would love to hear that they can re-open immediately. But we also acknowledge that a phased re-opening balances the need to re-start the economy with the need to manage a public-health crisis that continues to claim 100 lives a day in Massachusetts.”
  • James Sutherland, director of policy and research for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, released a statement saying, “The plan lists the health indicators that the state will monitor to determine the appropriate time to move into each phase and this is helpful for employers and employees alike. … However, there are no specific goals for each metric – whether it is a duration of positive trends or progress or a specific number to achieve – so it is still unclear precisely what will trigger each reopening phase. This information is necessary for employers, employees, and the public to plan and prepare.”

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.

  • Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city would not move into the second phase of reopening on May 29 when statewide restrictions in Illinois are expected to ease.
  • The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles released guidelines and procedures for reopening, though there is no set date for when that might happen. The department will only offer services that affect a resident’s ability to drive within 30 days of reopening, including driver’s license suspensions or revocation reinstatements, and driver’s knowledge tests.
  • Caesars Entertainment Corp announced that Caesars Palace and the Flamingo will reopen first among their Las Vegas properties when gaming is allowed to resume there. There is no set date for casinos to reopen in Nevada.
  • New Hampshire’s reopening task force heard proposals on May 20 from movie theater and bowling alley owners on how they might reopen.
  • Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii started a phased reopening.