Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: January 28, 2021

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • North Dakota (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, Jan. 27, Gov. Doug Burgum (R) announced he would move the state into the “green,” or low, risk level effective Friday, Jan. 29. All counties are currently in the “yellow,” or moderate, category. The “low” category increases the capacity limits on bars, restaurants, and event venues.  

Since our last edition

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

  • California (Democratic trifecta): Gavin Newsom (D) announced the state will revise its vaccination plan. The current phase (including healthcare workers, individuals age 65 and older, school staff, workers in the food and agriculture industries, and first responders) will stay the same. Newsom said future phases will change to prioritize individuals based on age and will deprioritize younger essential workers (like people in the manufacturing or transportation industries), homeless people, and inmates.
  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, Jan. 27, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced he would issue an order changing statewide gathering limits. Instead of being based on an absolute number, gathering limits in counties designated red and orange will be limited to 25% of each building’s capacity, while the limit in yellow counties will be 50%. Buildings in blue counties will not have a gathering limit. Holcomb said the order would be in effect between Feb. 1 and Feb. 28. 
  • New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced 25 countries will have Red Level restrictions, seven will be Yellow Level, and one will be Green Level for the two-week period starting Jan. 27. In the previous period, 31 counties were Red Level, one was Yellow, and one was Green.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced all Orange Zone restrictions were lifted statewide, and some parts of the state qualified to move out of Yellow Zone classification. Yellow Zones still exist in parts of New York City, Newburgh, and New Windsor.
  • North Carolina (divided government): On Wednesday, Jan. 27, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) extended the modified stay-at-home order, which includes a curfew on nonessential businesses between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., through Feb. 28. 
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): On Wednesday, Jan. 27, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) made permanent a series of COVID-19 related workplace safety and health standards. The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry voted last week to adopt the rules, which established standards for businesses on things like personal protective equipment and infectious disease preparedness. 
  • Wisconsin (divided government): On Tuesday, Jan. 26, the Wisconsin state Senate voted 18-13 to overturn Gov. Tony Evers’s (D) coronavirus emergency order. The order, which Evers has extended several times throughout the year, is the basis for the statewide mask mandate. The state Assembly was set to vote on the resolution Thursday, Jan. 28. If the Assembly overturns the emergency declaration, Evers would not have the authority to veto the resolution.

School closures and reopenings

    Read more: School responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during the 2020-2021 academic year

We last looked at schools in our Jan. 21 newsletter. Since then, no states have issued an order closing or reopening schools statewide. The current status of school restrictions in the states is as follows:

  • Washington, D.C., had a district-ordered school closure.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 85,850 students (0.17% of students nationwide)
  • Six states (Calif., Del., Hawaii, N.C., N.M., W.Va.) had state-ordered regional school closures, required closures for certain grade levels, or allowed hybrid instruction only.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 8,787,132 students (17.37% of students nationwide)
  • Four states (Ark., Fla.[8], Iowa, Texas) had state-ordered in-person instruction.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 9,180,918 students (18.15% of students nationwide)
  • Forty states left decisions to schools or districts.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 32,533,959 students (64.31% of students nationwide)

Travel restrictions

    Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020


  • Since the start of the pandemic, governors or state agencies in 27 states issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 14 of those orders have been rescinded.
  • Since Jan. 21, one state has modified its travel advisory. 


  • Ohio – On Jan. 27, the Ohio Department of Health removed Tennessee and Georgia from its travel advisory list. A dozen states are now on the list. People who’ve traveled from those states are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Federal responses

Read more: Political responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020