The next 72 hours
What is changing in the next 72 hours?
- Iowa (Republican trifecta): Schools have until Feb. 15 to offer full-time in-person instruction, after Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a bill on Jan. 29 requiring schools to do so. The bill, which passed the state House and Senate with the support of all Republicans and one Democrat, allows parents to request a hybrid or all remote option for their children. Additionally, schools can request a waiver from the requirement to provide in-person instruction from the state Department of Education based on factors such as the number of teachers quarantining because of the virus.
- Minnesota (divided government): On Friday, Feb. 12, Gov. Tim Walz (D) issued an executive order relaxing capacity restrictions on restaurants, gyms, and private gatherings beginning Saturday, Feb. 13. The new order permits restaurants to serve up to 250 people or 50% capacity, whichever is fewer, while indoor entertainment venues and gyms can serve up to 250 people or 25% capacity.
- Nevada (Democratic trifecta): On Thursday, Feb. 12, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced he would begin lifting coronavirus restrictions over a three month period beginning Feb. 15. On that day, the capacity limit on bars and restaurants will go from 25% to 35%, and the limit on private outdoor gatherings will increase from 10 to 25. Additionally, the new rules allow houses of worship, casino floors, and gyms to operate at 35% capacity. Sisolak said he would loosen restrictions again on March 15 and May 1.
- New York (Democratic trifecta):
- All adults with certain underlying conditions will be eligible for vaccination starting Feb. 15. Qualifying conditions include cancer, moderate to severe asthma, obesity, and hypertension.
- Indoor dining is also reopening at 25% capacity in New York City on Feb. 12.
- Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Thursday, Feb. 12, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced that five of the eight regions in Washington’s reopening plan would advance to the second phase on Sunday, Feb. 14. In the second phase, indoor dining can resume at 25% capacity, while gyms and entertainment venues, like bowling alleys, can reopen at 25% capacity. Once the changes take effect, only the South Central region, comprising six of the state’s 39 counties, will remain in the first phase.
Since our last edition
What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.
- Delaware (Democratic trifecta): On Feb. 12, places of worship and businesses like restaurants, gyms, and retailers are able to operate at 50% capacity. Previously, most businesses were limited to 30% capacity, and retailers larger than 100,000 square feet were limited to 20% capacity.
- Florida (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, Feb. 11, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced veterans of World War II and the Korean War are now eligible for vaccinations through the state’s program for homebound seniors. Under the program, healthcare workers make house calls to seniors who cannot leave their homes.
- Maryland (divided government): On Thursday, Feb. 11, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced that indoor visitations at nursing homes and hospitals can resume March 1. Hospitals will set their own policies but must follow CDC guidelines. Nursing homes can allow visitors so long as they follow rules put in place for testing and there are no active cases at the facility.
- Montana (Republican trifecta): Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) is letting the state’s face-covering requirement expire on Feb. 12. Montana is the fourth state to lift a statewide mask order. Former Gov. Steve Bullock (D) issued the face-covering requirement July 15, 2020.
- Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, Feb. 11, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced that buffets and food stations within restaurants and bars can reopen with restrictions. The restrictions include a requirement that customers wear masks and social distance.
- Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, Feb. 22, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced that school teachers and staff will become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 22. Adults under 65 with certain health conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes, will also become eligible.
- Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced places of worship and theaters are allowed to expand from 25% to 40% capacity, and bar areas in restaurants can reopen, starting Feb. 12.
- Vermont (divided government): On Feb. 12, school and youth sports leagues and games are resuming with restrictions. Teams are limited to two games a week, and parents cannot attend.