Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. During this period of rapid change as states issue new restrictions, we are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements to curfews. We will keep you abreast of major developments—especially those affecting your daily life. Today we look at a new reopening framework in Oregon, new restrictions in Louisiana, and much more. Want to know what we covered Nov. 24? Click here.
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What is open in each state? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here.
- Florida (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, Nov. 25, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) extended an order preventing local governments from passing COVID-19 restrictions that could put people out of work or close down businesses. The order was originally issued on Sept. 25.
- Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Gov. David Ige (D) announced Kaua‘i will be allowed to opt out of the state’s pre-travel testing program in favor of stricter rules. Starting Dec. 2, all intercounty and out-of-state travelers arriving in Kaua‘i will have to self-quarantine for 14 days regardless of a negative test result.
- Louisiana (divided government): Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) moved the state backward from Phase 3 to a modified Phase 2 reopening, effective Nov. 25. Under the new restrictions, restaurants, retailers, gyms, personal care businesses, and movie theaters are limited to 50% capacity. Bars must close indoor service if their parish has a positivity rate greater than 5%. Bars that are permitted to open are limited to 25% capacity. All indoor and outdoor gatherings are limited to the lesser of 25% capacity or a maximum of 75 people indoors or 150 people outdoors.
- Maryland (divided government): On Monday, Nov. 23, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced the Maryland State Police would deploy High Visibility Compliance Units to downtown areas in several cities to help enforce COVID-19 restrictions at bars, restaurants, and venues that host gatherings. Hogan said the operation, which would include education efforts as well as enforcement, would start Wednesday, Nov. 25.
- Mississippi (Republican trifecta): Gov. Tate Reeves (R) added 19 counties to the state’s targeted mask mandate order, bringing the total number of counties with face-covering requirements to 41. The order is effective through Dec. 11.
- New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced the state will begin reopening from its Nov. 16-30 reset under a county-by-county color-coded reopening phase structure starting Dec. 2. At the time of the announcement, 32 of the state’s 33 counties were in the red phase, which prohibits indoor dining, limits gatherings to five people, and limits religious services to 25% capacity.
- New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced new Orange Warning Zones on parts of Staten Island and in areas of Monroe and Onondaga Counties. Cuomo announced new Yellow Precautionary Zones in Upper Manhattan and in parts of Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The changes were effective Nov. 25 for affected businesses and Nov. 26 for public and private schools.
- Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced a four-tier framework for reopening from the Nov. 18 statewide freeze based on state-defined risk levels. The Extreme Risk (most restrictive) category will allow outdoor dining, permit gatherings of up to 6 people, and limit religious services to the lesser of 25% capacity or 100 people. The Lower Risk (least restrictive) phase will allow gatherings of up to 10 people, permit indoor restaurant dining at 50% capacity, and limit religious services to the lesser of 75% capacity or 300 people. The Lower Risk phase will also allow indoor recreation, fitness, and entertainment establishments (like gyms, indoor pools, theaters, and aquariums) to reopen at 50% capacity. The framework goes into effect Dec. 3.
- Pennsylvania (divided government): Gov. Tom Wolf (D) extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order for 90 days. On Nov. 25 only (for that one day), restaurants, bars, and all retail foodservice businesses were required to stop serving alcohol after 5 p.m. Wolf also lowered the maximum occupancy for indoor event spaces to 500 people and occupancy for outdoor event spaces to 2,500. Telework is mandatory whenever possible. Chief public school administrators will have to sign an acknowledgment stating their school is complying with updated state guidance or has transitioned to fully remote learning no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 30.
- Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gina Raimondo’s (D) statewide pause is effective Nov. 30 through Dec. 13. Bar areas, recreational venues (like bowling alleys), gyms, and in-person college and university instruction are closed. Indoor dining is limited to 33% capacity, and retailers are limited to one customer per 100 square feet. Religious services are limited to 25% capacity with a maximum of 125 people.
- Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Wednesday, Nov. 25, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced he was strengthening existing requirements for non-urgent medical and dental procedures. The amended order includes requirements related to the increased use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), testing, and social distancing.
In this section, we feature examples of other federal, state, and local government activity, private industry responses, and lawsuits related to the pandemic.
- New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced public elementary schools in the city will begin reopening starting Dec. 7. All public schools in the city were previously closed indefinitely on Nov. 19.
- On Nov. 25, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to block New York from enforcing attendance limits on religious gatherings. Earlier in November, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two Orthodox Jewish synagogues filed lawsuits against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) executive order issued in October, which limited the number of worshippers to 10 and 25 people in areas classified as red or orange, respectively, due to the number of COVID-19 cases in the immediate area.