Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: October 9, 2020 #Edition #114

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery, where we track the status of reopening in all 50 states. Today we look at the easing of coronavirus restrictions in a region in Illinois, the extension of a moratorium on evictions in Washington, travel restrictions, 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.

 

  • Georgia (Republican trifecta): The Georgia Association of Educators, the state’s largest teachers’ union, sued Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and other top officials in a lawsuit to require the state to enforce binding reopening guidance for schools. In its school reopening guidance released in July, the Georgia Department of Education left reopening decisions to local school districts.  

 

  • Illinois (Democratic trifecta): Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced Region 4 (the Metro East region) is returning to Phase 4 of reopening at 5 p.m. on Oct. 9. The region had rolled back reopening on Aug. 18 due to increased coronavirus case numbers. The Illinois Department of Public Health also removed two counties from the state’s warning level classification, bringing the total number of warning-level counties to 26.

 

  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): On Friday, Oct. 9, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) announced the launch of the Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program. The program will provide up to $2,000 to low-income families to help pay utility bills. 

 

  • Louisiana (divided government): Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) extended Phase Three of the state’s reopening plan through Nov. 6.
  • Michigan (divided government): Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) issued an executive order effective Oct. 9 that will allow movie theaters and other indoor entertainment venues to reopen. Capacity at those venues will be capped at 20 people per 1,000 square feet. 

 

  • Nevada (Democratic trifecta): On Thursday, Oct. 8, the Nevada COVID-19 task force lowered the standard for testing and positivity rates that counties must meet to avoid being labeled “elevated risk.” The new standard requires counties to test more than 100 individuals per 100,000 daily and to keep the positivity rate below 8%. Previously, counties were required to test 150 individuals per 100,000 each day and keep the positivity rate below 7%.

 

 

  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Thursday, Oct. 8, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) extended the statewide moratorium on evictions through Dec. 31. 

 

 

  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): On Friday, Oct. 9, Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that bars in Morgantown, where West Virginia University is located, can reopen on Oct. 13. Justice ordered bars closed in the area on Sept. 2.

Daily feature: Travel restrictions

Every Friday, we take a closer look at the restrictions governors and state agencies have placed on interstate travelers, including a recap of the week’s travel-related news. To see our full coverage of travel restrictions enacted in response to the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

Overview

To date, 25 states issued at least one executive order restricting interstate travel. Of the 25 executive orders governors or state agencies issued restricting out-of-state visitors, at least 14 have been rescinded. Eleven states have active travel restrictions.

Weekly recap

  • On Oct. 6, Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that New Mexico had been added to the tristate quarantine list. 
    • Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York created the joint list on June 24. To date, 35 states and territories are on the list. 
  • On Oct. 7, Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) said that a pre-test program would launch for out-of-state travelers Oct. 15. This will allow visitors to avoid the 14-day quarantine if they can present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Travelers who test positive or whose results are pending will still need to quarantine.

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.  

 

  • On Oct. 5, parents of high-school athletes sued the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) in the Hennepin County District Court, seeking to overturn restrictions on the number of spectators allowed at games. In their complaint, the plaintiffs allege that MSHSL restrictions, which, at the time of filing, barred all spectators from indoor venues and allowed no more than 250 at outdoor venues, do not align with the state health department’s less restrictive guidance. The plaintiffs allege the MSHSL is “arbitrarily making determinations regarding health risks.” Plaintiffs also allege the MSHSL ignored its constitution when it amended its bylaws without member schools’ approval. On Oct. 8, MSHSL issued new guidance for indoor venues, which will allow up to two spectators per athlete so long as the venue does not exceed 250 total spectators. The outdoor venue restrictions remain unchanged. The case is assigned to Judge Thomas S. Fraser.

 

  • The Broadway League extended theater closures in New York City through May 30, 2021. Theaters are offering refunds for tickets purchased for shows through that date.



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