Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: January 8, 2021

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

The next 72 hours

What is changing in the next 72 hours?

  • Minnesota (divided government): Gov. Tim Walz (D) will ease coronavirus restrictions on Jan. 11. On that day, bars and restaurants can reopen to indoor dining at 50% capacity, and the maximum capacity at outdoor entertainment venues will increase to 250 (or 25% capacity, whichever is less). Indoor entertainment venues, such as bowling alleys, can reopen at 25% capacity. Youth sports games can resume on Jan. 14 with spectators, so long as social distancing is enforced. Indoor private events (such as weddings) that serve food are limited to 10 people from a maximum of two households. Outdoor events are limited to three households or 15 people. On Thursday, Jan. 7, Walz issued executive orders aimed at protecting federal COVID-19 relief payments. The first order protects those payments from garnishment for consumer debt, while the second prohibits the payments from being counted as income for federal assistance programs. 
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Jay Inslee’s (D) Healthy Washington plan for lifting coronavirus restrictions will go into effect Jan. 11. The new two-phased plan divides the state into eight regions and replaces the current county-level reopening plan. Each region begins in Phase 1, which limits capacity at gyms and prohibits indoor dining and at-home indoor gatherings with people outside the household. Phase 2 eases restrictions, which includes allowing restaurants to reopen at 50%.
  • Wyoming (Republican trifecta): Gov. Mark Gordon (R) will ease coronavirus restrictions on Jan. 9. Bars and restaurants will be permitted to resume serving alcohol between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Gyms will also be permitted to hold fitness classes with up to 25 people, up from 10 under the current restrictions.

Since our last edition

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

  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, Jan. 7, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) issued an order lifting spectator limits on sporting and recreational events, including high school sports. The order also extended some restrictions, such as requiring people to wear masks when social distancing isn’t possible, through Feb. 6.
  • Kansas (divided government): Gov. Laura Kelly (D) announced a finalized vaccine distribution order for the state. Healthcare workers and long-term care residents and staff are being vaccinated in Phase 1 (the current phase). In Phase 2, the vaccine will be available to individuals over the age of 65, high-contact essential workers (including police officers, grocery store workers, and school staff), and congregate care workers and residents (including in prisons and homeless shelters). Phase 3 will include individuals with state-defined high-risk pre-existing conditions (including cancer, chronic kidney disease, and type 2 diabetes) and other essential workers who cannot work remotely. Phase 4 will include individuals with state-defined lower-risk pre-existing conditions (including asthma, type 1 diabetes, and obesity). Phase 5 will include the remaining population.
  • Massachusetts (divided government): On Thursday, Jan. 7, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) extended statewide coronavirus restrictions through Jan. 24. The restrictions include capacity limits on businesses and gathering limits on indoor and outdoor events.
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced firefighters and police officers are now eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
  • North Dakota (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, Jan. 7, Gov. Doug Burgum (R) issued an order easing coronavirus restrictions on restaurants, bars, and gatherings. Effective Jan. 8, restaurants and bars can operate at 65% capacity, with a total limit of 200 patrons.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, Jan. 7, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced the second phase of Ohio’s vaccine distribution plan would begin Jan. 19, at which point the state would begin vaccinating people age 80 and older. The state will provide vaccines to school teachers on Feb. 1. 
  • South Carolina (Republican trifecta): Gov. Henry McMaster (R) extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order until Jan. 22.