Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: December 18, 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): The state added the Bay Area to its regional stay-at-home order effective Dec. 17 at 11:59 p.m. The restrictions will last until at least Jan. 7. The Bay Area is the fourth of the state’s five regions to enter the stay-at-home order.
  • Michigan (divided government): On Thursday, Dec. 17, the Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill reinstating a moratorium on water service disconnections through March 2021. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) issued the moratorium earlier in the year, but the order was invalidated as part of an October state Supreme Court decision. Whitmer was expected to sign the legislation.
  • Maryland (divided government): On Thursday, Dec. 17, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) issued an order requiring out-of-state travelers and returning residents to obtain a negative COVID-19 test or self-quarantine for 10 days upon entering the state. Hogan issued a follow-up order clarifying the travel restrictions do not apply to Santa Clause, non-human elves, or reindeer. Additionally, the Maryland Department of Health issued an advisory against gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • Utah (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, Dec. 17, Gov. Gary Herbert (R) announced that students in public schools who test negative after coming into contact with someone with COVID-19 do not need to quarantine. Previously, any contact with a COVID-19 positive person required a 10-14 day quarantine. Herbert also announced he was ending the statewide ban on alcohol sales after 10 p.m.

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 Dec. 17, the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committeevoted 20-0 (with one abstention) to recommend Moderna’s vaccine candidate for emergency use authorization. The FDA is expected to issue formal approval on Dec. 18, allowing Moderna to begin distributing doses of the vaccine.



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