Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: November 19, 2020 #Edition #133

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 coronavirus restrictions in Minnesota
  • The closing of schools in New York City
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Stay-at-home orders
  • Eviction and foreclosure policies
  • Federal responses

Want to know what we covered yesterday? Click here.

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • Kentucky (divided government): Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced new coronavirus restrictions, effective Nov. 20 through Dec. 13. Restaurants and bars will have to close indoor dining, and social gatherings will be limited to eight people from two households at a time. Gyms, indoor recreation facilities, and offices will be limited to 33% capacity. Event spaces and theaters will be limited to 25% capacity. All K-12 public and private schools statewide will stop in-person classes. Middle and high school instruction will be fully remote through at least Jan. 4. Elementary schools will be able to reopen starting Dec. 7 if their county is not in the red zone.
  • Minnesota (divided government): On Wednesday, Nov. 18, Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced new coronavirus restrictions, including a halt on indoor dining and the closure of indoor fitness centers, theaters, and bowling alleys. The order also prohibits families from holding gatherings with members of separate households. The order takes effect Nov. 20 and lasts until Dec. 18.

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. Kay Ivey (R) announced a $200 million relief program. Organizations with 50 or fewer employees, including small businesses, nonprofits, and faith-based groups, can apply for up to $20,000 to offset expenses from interruptions to normal operations.
  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, Nov. 18, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) issued an executive order banning recreational activities and sports, including those conducted at fitness centers or gyms, that do not allow participants to stay six feet apart at all times. The order requires all participants to wear a mask and limits spectators to two per athlete. The order does not apply to high school, collegiate, or professional sports. 
  • Kansas (divided government): Gov. Laura Kelly (R) issued an updated public mask order that gives localities a week to develop face-covering requirements. In areas where local governments do not develop mask requirements, the state’s order will take effect on Nov. 25. Under a bill passed earlier in the year, counties can still fully opt out of Kelly’s order.
  • Maryland (divided government): On Wednesday, Nov. 18, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signed an executive order allowing some prisoners to become eligible for early release. The order is intended to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in state prisons. It allows officials to expedite parole and home-detention decisions for those scheduled to be released within 120 days. 
  • North Dakota (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, Nov. 18, Gov. Doug Burgum (R) amended a previous executive order to allow high school sports practices and other extracurricular activities to resume on Nov. 30. The revised order does not affect competitions, which remain banned until Dec. 14. 
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Tuesday, Nov. 17, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced a three-week, statewide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The curfew does not apply to people going to work, shopping for food, or seeking medical attention. The order is effective Nov. 19.
  • Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): On Monday, Nov. 16, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced that face coverings would be required on state property, and bars and restaurants would have to close by 11 p.m. for indoor service beginning Nov. 19.
  • Wisconsin (divided government): On Wednesday, Nov. 18, Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced he would extend the statewide mask mandate into 2021. The mandate was set to expire Nov. 21. Evers did not give an exact date for when the extension would expire. 

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)
  • Nine states (Calif., Del., Hawaii, Mich., 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: 13,624,521 students (26.93% 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-seven states had reopenings that varied by school or district.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 27,696,570 students (54.75% of students nationwide)


  • Michigan – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced a three-week statewide ban on in-person high school and college instruction beginning Nov. 18. 

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. 18, 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.

We still classify California as a stay-at-home state because Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) original executive order did not have an expiration date, and we have not seen the order explicitly rescinded in our research. Effective Nov. 17, 94.1% of the state’s population lives in counties in the most restrictive risk tier, which prohibits indoor service at restaurants, gyms, places of worship, and other businesses classified as nonessential. 

New Mexico’s stay-at-home order was extended on Nov. 16 through Nov. 30. We consider the following language the basis of our classification: “all New Mexicans should be staying in their homes for all but the most essential activities and services.” Effective Nov. 16, nonessential businesses were required to stop all in-person activity. Restaurants are limited to delivery and curbside pickup. Religious services and state-defined essential retail spaces are not allowed to exceed the lesser of 25 percent occupancy or 75 total individuals. Gatherings are limited to five people from different households.

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. 12, one state has 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.


  • Illinois – Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) extended the statewide moratorium on evictions an additional 30 days. The extended order also included new provisions requiring tenants to provide evidence to landlords that the coronavirus pandemic has affected their ability to pay rent.

Federal responses

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

  • On Nov. 16, biotechnology company Moderna announced its coronavirus vaccine was 94.5% effective at protecting people from COVID-19. As part of the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed program, the federal government reached a $1.5 billion agreement with Moderna to buy 100 million doses of the vaccine. The federal government also supplied $1 billion for research and development.
  • On Nov. 16, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it was recruiting veterans and non-veterans for clinical vaccine and treatment trials at 50 VA medical centers around the country.
  • On Nov. 17, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an emergency use authorization to Lucira Health’s rapid coronavirus test, which can be conducted at home. The test can deliver results within 30 minutes.