Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: December 14, 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.

  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): On Friday, Dec. 11, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) directed hospitals to postpone non-urgent surgeries to free up space for patients dealing with COVID-19 beginning Wednesday, Dec. 16. 
  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) expanded face-covering enforcement requirements for Maine businesses. All business owners or operators of an indoor space open to the public (like schools) must deny entry to anyone not wearing a mask. Previously, enforcement requirements were limited to specific settings like schools and restaurants.
  • Minnesota (divided government): On Monday, Dec. 14, Gov. Tim Walz (D) said he would make a decision about extending coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday, Dec. 16. Last week, the Governor’s office said Walz would make the decision on Dec. 14.
  • Nebraska (Republican trifecta): On Friday, Dec. 11, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) announced the state would move from the orange to the yellow phase of reopening because the statewide percentage of hospitalized coronavirus patients had fallen below 20%. The yellow phase removes or loosens some restrictions, including the requirement that only members of a participant’s household could attend youth extracurricular activities.  
  • Nevada (Democratic trifecta): On Sunday, Dec. 13, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) extended the current statewide coronavirus restrictions, including a requirement that caps indoor and outdoor dining at 25% capacity, through Jan. 15.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): On Dec. 14, the first public doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine were administered to healthcare workers in New York City. For more information on the vaccine’s approval, see the Additional activity section below.
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) statewide mitigation measures took effect at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 12. Indoor dining is prohibited, indoor fitness and entertainment operations have to close, indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people or fewer, and outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people or fewer. Outdoor dining and fitness activities are still allowed. Places of worship are exempt from the gathering limit. The new restrictions are scheduled to last until 8 a.m. on Jan. 4, 2021.
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): On Thursday, Dec. 10, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced a statewide curfew from midnight to 5 a.m. The curfew is scheduled to take effect on Monday, Dec. 14. Northam also lowered the limit on gatherings from 25 to 10 and restricted outdoor sport spectators to two guests per player and 25 per field for indoor sports. Places of worship will be exempt from the gathering limits.

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 Friday, Dec. 11, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine. This is the first EUA issued for a vaccine developed to combat COVID-19. The EUA allows the vaccine to be distributed throughout the United States.