Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: December 7, 2020

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

Since our last edition

What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.

  • California (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) regional stay-at-home order took effect Dec. 5. The order requires regions to implement the stay-at-home restrictions within 24 hours if ICU capacity falls below 15%. Restrictions will last for at least three weeks after they are triggered or until a region’s four-week projected ICU capacity is equal to or greater than 15%. The stay-at-home restrictions are effective in two of the state’s five regions, affecting about 85% of the state’s population. Individuals are required to stay home except for essential activities. Businesses like personal care services (including barbershops), indoor entertainment and recreational facilities, and bars are required to close. Restaurants are limited to takeout and delivery only. 
  • Kentucky (divided government): Public and private elementary schools can start to reopen for in-person instruction on Dec. 7 if their county is not in the red zone. Middle and high school instruction will be fully remote through at least Jan. 4. Gov. Andy Beshear (D) previously ordered all schools to close on Nov. 23.
  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) extended the requirement for all seated food and drink service and indoor and outdoor entertainment venues to close by 9 p.m. every night through Jan. 3, 2021.
  • Massachusetts (divided government): On Dec. 4, Gov. Charlie Baker announced that once a vaccine is approved, the state will receive 59,475 doses in its first shipment. 
  • Nebraska (Republican trifecta): On Dec. 4, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) announced new guidance for long-term care facilities. Facilities can designate friends or family members “essential caregivers” if they provided support to the resident before the pandemic. The designation allows the caregiver to have more access to the resident and supplement facility staff.  
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced an administrative order clarifying that indoor entertainment venues (like movie theaters or performing arts centers) can conduct operations in an adjacent outdoor area under the same capacity limits that apply to their normal indoor operations. All high-school and youth sports were suspended starting Dec. 5 through at least Jan. 2. Starting Dec. 7, outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people. 
  • Tennessee (Republican trifecta): On Dec. 4, Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed an order directing the Tennessee National Guard to provide support for hospitals. The order allows members of the National Guard to assist in COVID-19 diagnostic testing, perform nursing functions, and operate ambulances. 
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Dec. 4, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued an order that adds vaccine carriers to the list of commercial drivers exempt from commercial driver hour regulations. 

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. New York City schools are reopening for in-person pre-K through fifth grade instruction on Dec. 7.