Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: November 6, 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 Connecticut’s move from Phase 3 to Phase 2 of reopening, new coronavirus restrictions in Massachusetts, travel restrictions, and more. Want to know what happened Tuesday? Click here.

We will be continuing our twice-a-week newsletter schedule for the foreseeable future on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Our next edition will be Nov. 10.

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Since our last edition

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

  • Alabama (Republican trifecta): Gov. Kate Ivey (R) extended the state’s mask requirement through Dec. 11. Ivey also amended the Safer at Home order to remove occupancy limits on gyms, retailers, and entertainment venues.
  • Connecticut (Democratic trifecta): The state moved backward from Phase 3 to Phase 2 of reopening on Nov. 6. Restaurants must limit capacity to 50% and close indoor dining by 9:30 p.m. every night. Religious gatherings are limited to the lesser of 50% capacity or 100 people.
  • Illinois (Democratic trifecta): The state implemented mitigation policies in Region 2 starting Nov. 4. Bars and restaurants cannot offer indoor service, and outdoor service has to close by 11 p.m. every night. Gatherings are limited to the lesser of 25 people or 25% of a room’s capacity. All 11 of the state’s regions now have mitigation restrictions in effect.
  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): Additional mitigation measures began Nov. 4. Indoor gathering limits were reduced to 50 people, and Maine’s travel restrictions (that require travelers to quarantine for 14 days or present a recent negative test on arrival) now apply to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Masks are required in all public spaces (including outdoor spaces like sidewalks) regardless of social distancing ability. Gov. Janet Mills (D) also postponed reopening bars and tasting rooms until further notice.
  • Maryland (divided government): On Tuesday, Nov. 5, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced financial support for restaurants, independent artists, arts organizations, entertainment venues, and businesses. The assistance is part of Hogan’s $250 million economic recovery package announced in October.
  • Massachusetts (divided government): Gov. Charlie Baker’s (R) new coronavirus restrictions took effect Friday, Nov. 6. Restrictions include a statewide, stay-at-home advisory between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and a requirement that businesses like salons, gyms, and event venues close by 9:30 p.m. Baker also issued a new face-covering mandate, which replaces the current one that allows people to remove their masks when social distancing is possible.
  • Michigan (divided government): On Tuesday, Nov. 5, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed into law six bills, including one that expands testing services and another allowing certain documents to be signed and notarized electronically through Dec. 31.
  • Minnesota (divided government): Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed an executive order that discourages schools from requiring teachers to teach both in-person and remote classes at the same time. The order also requires schools to provide teachers with 30 extra minutes a day to prepare for remote teaching.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) issued additional restrictions to mitigate transmission. The new measures include a stay-at-home advisory from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weeknights and from 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m on weekends. Restaurants and entertainment venues are required to close between the same times. Raimondo also extended the state’s mask requirement to all public places (including outdoors and at the gym) regardless of social distancing ability.

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.


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. 31, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced a new testing requirement for incoming travelers. The policy replaces the joint quarantine list previously maintained alongside Connecticut and New Jersey. It requires visitors and returning residents to take a COVID-19 test within three days of arriving in New York. Visitors will need to quarantine for three days and take another test on the fourth day. If both tests come back negative, the quarantine can end. 
    • The policy took effect on Nov. 4 and does not apply to travelers from states that border New York.
  • On Nov. 4, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced a new advisory that requires visitors to the city to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival. Visitors who are in the city for longer than three days are asked to take a test within 3-5 days of arrival. The advisory asks those who test positive or come into contact with someone who tested positive to refrain from entering the city.
  • On Nov. 5, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) renewed the state’s travel advisory, which asks residents to refrain from traveling to states with a positivity rate of 10% or higher. Residents who travel to a state that meets that threshold are asked to take a test and quarantine until results come back.

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 Nov. 2, Judge Brian Cogan of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York dismissed a lawsuit seeking to compel Amazon to provide extra workplace protections related to COVID-19. Employees at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse alleged that “Amazon’s current policies and practices constitute a public nuisance.” The plaintiffs allege Amazon “undermines its workers’ efforts to protect themselves and their coworkers from the virus . . . through a culture of workplace fear,” improper back pay for quarantine leave, and failure “to comply with public health guidance.” Cogan said, “[Courts] are not expert in public health or workplace safety matters, and lack the training, expertise, and resources to oversee compliance with evolving industry guidance.” Cogan added, “[Courts] are particularly ill-suited to address this evolving situation and the risk of inconsistent rulings is high.” Cogan was appointed to the court by George W. Bush (R).