Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: October 30, 2020

A daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day  

Ballotpedia, The Encyclopedia of American Politics

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery, where we track the status of reopening in all 50 states. Today we look at the extension of emergency orders in Delaware, Georgia, Maine, and Maryland, limits on gatherings in Michigan, travel restrictions, and more. Want to know what happened Tuesday? Click here. Our next edition will be published on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

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The next 72 hours

What is changing in the next 72 hours?

  • Illinois (Democratic trifecta): Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced mitigation policies will be implemented in Region 9 starting Oct. 31, in Region 3 starting Nov. 1, and in Region 6 starting on Nov. 2.  Bars and restaurants will not be able to offer indoor service, and outdoor service will have to close by 11 p.m. every night. Gatherings will be limited to the lesser of 25 people or 25% of a room’s capacity.

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): On Oct. 30, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) extended the public health emergency order through Dec. 9 and the COVID-19 emergency order through Nov. 15.
  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, Oct. 29, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) announced $2 million in CARES Act funding to support the development of a nanovaccine. The University of Iowa and Iowa State University are spearheading the initiative.
  • Michigan (divided government): On Thursday, Oct. 29, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a new coronavirus order limiting indoor gatherings to 50 people. The order does not affect facilities and establishments with fixed seating, like stadiums. The order also restricts the number of people who can sit at a table in a bar or restaurant to six.
  • Mississippi (Republican trifecta): Gov. Tate Reeves (R) extended the state’s additional mitigation measures to seven more counties, bringing the total number of counties under the order to 16, effective Oct. 28. The order limits gatherings to 10 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. It also requires masks in all indoor public places where social distancing cannot be maintained.
     
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): On Oct. 30, Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced gatherings are limited to 10 people (down from 15), and spectators are not allowed at youth sporting events for the next two weeks. Ice rinks and other indoor sports facilities will also be closed for one week starting Nov. 2. Raimondo also extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order through Dec. 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. 28, Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) and Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) announced that Massachusetts had been added to the quarantine list. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) urged New Yorkers to limit non-essential travel to Massachusetts and other neighboring states.
     
  • On Oct. 27, Gov. David Ige (D) added Japan to the state’s pre-travel testing program, which allows travelers to the state to present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival and avoid the 14-day self-quarantine requirement. The tests need to have been taken within 72 hours before travelers arrive on the islands.

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. 26, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) filed suit in the 19th Judicial District Court, challenging a Louisiana House of Representative petition. The petition would terminate the governor’s public health emergency proclamation and end Covid-19 restrictions in the state, including business occupancy limits, a statewide mask mandate, and guidelines for churches and schools. Sixty-five of the House’s 73 Republican members have signed the petition. Under state law, a majority of members in either legislative chamber may sign a petition to unilaterally revoke an emergency declaration. After issuing the petition, the House of Representatives released a statement: “The House has exhausted every available legislative remedy and has been left with no other option but to exercise its legislative right to terminate the governor’s emergency order.” Edwards alleges the petition is “an unconstitutional attempt by the members of one house of the Legislature—without bicameral action or presentment to the Governor—to unilaterally prohibit him from exercising his constitutional and statutory authority.” Edwards says the House has “caused and will continue to cause confusion in the State of Louisiana regarding the enforceability of the Governor’s proclamation.” The governor has asked the court to “declare the Petition null, void and unenforceable.”

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