Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: October 14, 2020

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery, where we track the status of reopening in all 50 states. Today we look at upcoming coronavirus restrictions in New Mexico, to-go cocktails in Ohio, a featured story from the 1918 influenza pandemic, and more. Want to know what happened yesterday? Click here.

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Starting Oct. 15, travelers to the state can present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival and avoid the 14-day quarantine requirement. The tests will need to have been taken within 72 hours of when travelers arrive on the islands. Gov. David Ige (D) extended the state’s coronavirus emergency period through Nov. 30.

Since our last edition

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

  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, Oct. 14, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced that the state would stay in Stage 5 of reopening for another month and that the statewide mask mandate would continue.
  • New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced she will add additional restrictions to the state’s public health order starting Oct. 16. Bars and restaurants that serve alcohol will have to close by 10 p.m. every evening, and gatherings will be limited to a maximum of five individuals. Travelers from states with COVID-19 positivity rates exceeding 5% will not be able to avoid New Mexico’s 14-day self-quarantine requirement by presenting a recent negative coronavirus test.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, Oct. 14, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed a bill making permanent a provision allowing restaurants to sell to-go alcoholic beverages. The law went into effect immediately.  Restaurants were allowed to offer to-go alcoholic beverages earlier in the year on a temporary basis to help them stay afloat while the state was under a stay-at-home order.
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, Oct. 14, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas Division of Emergency Management have partnered to pilot a program for COVID-19 rapid testing in eight school systems.
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Tuesday, Oct. 13, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced that he would ease restrictions in five counties, allowing them to advance to Phase 2 of the reopening plan.
  • Wisconsin (divided government): On Wednesday, Oct. 14, Sawyer County Judge John Yackel blocked enforcement of Gov. Tony Evers’s (D) order restricting indoor gatherings while a lawsuit filed by Wisconsin restaurants and bars is litigated. Yackel’s decision requires attorneys for Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm to appear in court on Oct. 19 to argue why the order restricting gatherings should be enforced, pending a conclusion to the lawsuit.

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 Sept. 30, the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin reported on the debate in New Jersey over closing schools in the midst of the influenza pandemic.

The schools of Moorestown, Collingswood, and several other New Jersey towns have been closed owing to the growth and seriousness of the Spanish influenza epidemic throughout the section about Camden.

Many school children have contracted the disease, and it is feared it will be spread to nearly every family in the locality if the children are allowed to continue congregating in the school rooms daily.

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.

  • On Oct. 1, Judge Susan Paradise Baxter, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, dismissed a claim by four student-athletes who were refused entry to a golf tournament administered by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA). The plaintiffs alleged that eight days before the tournament, the PIAA “arbitrarily and capriciously reduced the number of qualifiers.” The students argued that “the reduction of numbers has no quantifiable relationship on the spread of Covid-19 as it relates to outdoor activities such as golf.” They asked the court to order the PIAA to allow them to participate in the tournament. Baxter denied that request, writing in her opinion, “It is not the court’s job to decide the better course, but to ensure the one taken was not arbitrary and capricious, or for a wrongful purpose. Although the decision was a painful one for the plaintiffs, it was done with a rational basis and passes muster under the law.” Baxter was appointed to the court by President Donald Trump (R).



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