Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: September 9, 2020

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery, where we track the status of reopening in all 50 states. Today we look at an update to the tri-state travel restrictions, several counties in California reopening further, a featured story from the 1918 influenza pandemic, and more. Want to know what happened yesterday? Click here.

Since our last edition

What is open in each state? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here.

  • California (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that conditions in Amador, Orange, Placer, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties had improved enough to let them move into Phase Two of the state’s four-phase reopening plan. Indoor dining at restaurants, in-person religious services, and operation of movie theaters can all resume at 25% capacity.
  • Colorado (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced that 5,700 fans would be allowed to attend the football game between the Denver Broncos and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 27. Fans will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing and will be seated in pods of 175 fans to allow for easier contact tracing.
  • Florida (Republican trifecta): On Sept. 8, Palm Beach County entered Phase Two of reopening. Movie theaters, libraries, museums, and indoor entertainment venues were allowed to reopen at reduced capacity.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced New York City restaurants will be able to reopen at 25% capacity starting Sept. 30.
  • Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York (Democratic trifectas): On Sept. 8, Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia had been added to the joint travel advisory list requiring visitors from those states to quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in the tristate area. The governors removed Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands from the list.

Daily feature: The 1918 influenza pandemic

Every Wednesday we feature a newspaper story written during the 1918 influenza pandemic that illustrates how the country contended with a national health emergency in the midst of an election year. To see more stories from 1918, click here.

On Oct. 23, 1918, the Washington Post ran a story on the ways the influenza pandemic was disrupting national politics:

“Spread of the influenza epidemic has upset completely the nation-wide political campaigns of both parties, according to Democratic and Republican national congressional committee leaders yesterday. In practically every State all political meetings have been abandoned, and the elaborate itineraries for political orators of the House and Senate have been discarded.

Cancellation of political meetings at first came from isolated States, most of them east of the Mississippi. Then other States farther west began to be heard from and the deluge soon brought the realization that speaking must be given up entirely. Yesterday was to have marked the beginning of a whirlwind speaking campaign.”

Click here to read the original article, courtesy of the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing’s Influenza Encyclopedia.

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of other federal, state, and local government activity, private industry responses, and lawsuits related to the pandemic. 

  • Palm Beach County, Floridaentered Phase Two of reopening. Movie theaters, libraries, museums, and indoor entertainment venues were allowed to reopen at reduced capacity.
  • On Sept. 8, a landlord filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against the nationwide eviction moratorium issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The moratorium temporarily halts residential evictions for most renters in order “to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.” In his complaint, plaintiff and landlord Rick Brown argued that the CDC moratorium, if enforced, “would abrogate the right to access the courts, violate limits on the Supremacy Clause, implicate the nondelegation doctrine, and traduce anti-commandeering principles.” Brown contends the CDC unconstitutionally “displaces inherent state authority over residential evictions” and “impermissibly commandeers state courts and state officers” to enforce the emergency moratorium. The CDC has not commented publicly on the lawsuit, which has been assigned Judge J.P. Boulee, an appointee of President Donald Trump (R).