Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: November 12, 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 and summarize major changes due to the coronavirus pandemic in politics, government, and elections. Today we look at:

  • New restrictions on restaurants and bars in New York
  • An extension of Colorado’s mask mandate
  • State-level mask requirements
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Stay-at-home orders
  • Eviction and foreclosure policies
  • Federal responses
  • State legislation

Want to know what we covered Tuesday? Click here.

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The next 72 hours

What is changing in the next 72 hours?

  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, Nov. 11, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced that county-level coronavirus restrictions would go into effect on Nov. 15. For counties the state has designated as orange, gatherings will be limited to 50 people, and large events will need the approval of the local health department. Gatherings in counties classified as “red” will be limited to 25 people.
  • Minnesota (divided government): On Tuesday, Nov. 10, Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced new coronavirus restrictions would take effect Nov. 13. Indoor and outdoor private gatherings will be limited to 10 people from a maximum of three households, and capacity at bars and restaurants will be limited to 50%. Additionally, wedding and funeral receptions will be limited to 50 people beginning Nov. 27 and 25 people beginning Dec. 11.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) issued an order requiring restaurants and bars statewide to close for dine-in service (including outdoor dining) by 10 p.m. every night, starting Nov. 13. The order requires gyms to close at the same time and limits indoor and outdoor gatherings to 10 people.
  • North Carolina (divided government): On Tuesday, Nov. 10, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced the state would remain in Phase 3 of reopening, and the limit on indoor gatherings would be reduced from 25 to 10 people beginning Nov. 13. 

Since our last edition

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

  • Illinois (Democratic trifecta): Additional mitigation measures for regions 5, 7, and 8 took effect Nov. 11. Indoor and outdoor social events and gatherings are limited to 10 people. Party size limits at bars and restaurants were reduced from 10 people to six.
  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): On Tuesday, Nov. 10, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) announced she was extending the public health emergency for 30 days and prohibiting indoor gatherings of more than 25 people unless everyone older than two wears a mask. Additionally, face coverings will be required at businesses like barbershops and tattoo parlors. Several types of businesses, including bars, restaurants, and arcades, must ensure six feet of distance between individuals or groups.
  • Maryland (divided government): On Nov. 10, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced that restaurants and bars offering indoor service must reduce their operating capacity from 75% to 50%. He also issued an advisory that discourages indoor gatherings of more than 25 people.
  • Nebraska (Republican trifecta): On Monday, Nov. 9, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) announced new coronavirus restrictions would take effect Nov. 11. The new measures include a requirement that people in bars, gyms, and churches be kept 6 feet apart and establishes a 25% indoor capacity limit.
  • Nevada (Democratic trifecta): On Tuesday, Nov. 10, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced “Stay at Home 2.0,” a campaign aimed at getting Nevadans to limit nonessential activity outside of the home and practice social distancing, mask-wearing, and handwashing.
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) issued an order requiring restaurants and bars close by 10 p.m. every night, starting Nov. 12. The order also prohibits seating at bar areas and interstate school sporting events.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, Nov. 11, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) issued executive orders aimed at ensuring businesses comply with the state’s mask mandate. The order authorizes the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to close businesses for up to 24 hours that receive a violation for not enforcing face coverings.
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown’s (D) two-week pause on social activity for nine counties took effect Nov. 11-25. Under the restrictions, no indoor nursing home or long-term care facility visits are permitted. Restaurants and other indoor facilities (like gyms, bowling alleys, and museums) are limited to a maximum capacity of 50 people. Social gatherings outside of households are limited to six people.

State mask requirements

Note: Going forward, we’ll be examining mask requirements every Tuesday.

We last looked at face coverings in the Oct. 19 edition of the newsletter. Since then, Gov. Gary Herbert (R) issued a statewide order, effective Nov. 9, requiring people to wear masks in public when social distancing cannot be maintained.

School closures and reopenings

    Read more: School reopenings in the 2020-2021 academic year after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

The current status of school reopenings is as follows:

  • Washington, D.C., had a district-ordered school closure.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 85,850 students (0.17% of students nationwide)
  • Eight states (Calif., Del., Hawaii, N.C., N.M., N.Y., Ore., W.V.) had state-ordered regional school closures, required closures for certain grade levels, or allowed hybrid instruction only.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 12,095,855 students (23.91% of students nationwide)
  • Four states (Ark., Fla., Iowa, Texas) had state-ordered in-person instruction.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 9,180,918 students (18.15% of students nationwide)
  • Thirty-eight states had reopenings that varied by school or district.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 29,225,236 students (57.77% of students nationwide)

State stay-at-home orders

Read more: States with lockdown and stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020


As of Nov. 12, stay-at-home orders have ended in 41 states. Nineteen of those states have Republican governors, and 22 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state supreme court invalidated the stay-at-home order). Seven states never issued stay-at-home orders.

California and New Mexico, both of which have Democratic governors, are the only remaining states with active stay-at-home orders.

Eviction and foreclosure policies

    Read more: Changes to rent, mortgage, eviction, and foreclosure policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020


  • Sixteen states have current moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
    • Since Nov. 5, no state has ended or extended a moratorium on evictions.
  • Twenty-seven states have ended moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • California has current local moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • Seven states did not issue a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures on the state or local level.

Federal responses

Read more: Political responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • On Nov. 6, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for a serology test that detects neutralizing antibodies from prior COVID-19 infection. The FDA has previously granted EUAs to antibody tests that detect binding antibodies, which attach to the virus but haven’t been observed to decrease the viral infection of cells.
  • On Nov. 9, the FDA issued an EUA for an antibody drug that can be used on patients with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19. The drug, bamlanivimab, was given to President Donald Trump (R) while he had the virus.

State legislation

    Read more: State laws in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020


  • To date, 3,578 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
    • We have tracked 60 additional bills since Nov. 5.
  • Of these, 528 significant bills have been enacted into law, 15 percent of the total number that has been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business. 
    • We have tracked 11 additional significant bills since Nov. 5 (also omitting ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business).