Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: February 26, 2021

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

The next 72 hours

What is changing in the next 72 hours?

  • California (Democratic trifecta): The Department of Public Health (DPH) released a plan to allocate at least 10% of the state’s vaccine doses to teachers and school staff starting March 1. Education workers have been eligible for vaccination since January, but the DPH said the plan will accelerate vaccinations for the group. 
  • Kentucky (divided government): On Feb. 23, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) issued an executive order recommending all school districts and private schools offer some form of in-person instruction by March 1.
  • Maryland (divided government): 
    • On Thursday, Feb. 11, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced that indoor visits 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 the facilities follow the rules put in place for testing and there are no active cases at the facility.
    • Schools in counties across the state are set to return students to the classroom March 1. In January, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said school districts that don’t offer some in-person instruction by that day could face legal action. Districts decide how many days a week to offer in-person instruction. Students, however, can still opt for virtual schooling.   
  • Massachusetts (divided government): On Thursday, Feb. 25, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that indoor entertainment venues can reopen at half capacity on Monday, March 1. Baker also announced stadiums and arenas will reopen March 22. 
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): On Tuesday, Feb. 23, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced that beginning March 1,  crowd limits at outdoor entertainment venues will increase from 30% or 250 people to 30% or 1,000 people. Additionally, up to 250 spectators or 30% will be permitted per field at outdoor sporting events, up from the current limit of two spectators per participant. The outdoor gathering limit will increase from 10 to 25 people.

Since our last edition

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

  • Florida (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, Feb. 25, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced the opening of six vaccine sites in Broward, Duval, Leon, Miami-Dade, and Osceola counties. The sites opened that day to frontline healthcare workers and people aged 65 and older. 
  • Georgia (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, Feb. 25, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced that public and private K-12 teachers and staff will become eligible to receive coronavirus vaccines March 8. Eligibility will also expand to include preschool and daycare staff, the parents of children with state-defined complex medical conditions, and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 
  • Missouri (Republican trifecta): Gov. Mike Parson (R) announced individuals in Phase 1B – Tier 3 will be eligible for vaccinations starting March 15. The phase will include school employees, grocery store workers, and critical infrastructure workers (including people in the energy, food, and agriculture sectors). 
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): 
    • Nursing homes are able to expand visitation following state guidance starting Feb. 26. Restaurants statewide can expand from 25% to 35% capacity.
    • Twelve community vaccination sites are opening between Feb. 25-27. The sites are expected to vaccinate more than 3,700 people total during the first week.
  • North Carolina (divided government): On Wednesday, Feb. 25, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced that beginning Feb. 26 at 5 p.m., the Modified Stay at Home Order that imposed a curfew on individuals and businesses between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. will expire. Additionally, the indoor gathering limit will increase from 10 people to 25, while businesses will be allowed to sell alcohol for onsite consumption until 11 p.m. Certain businesses, such as bars and movie theaters, will be limited to 30% capacity or 250 people. Businesses like restaurants, breweries, museums, and salons will be limited to 50% capacity. 
  • Vermont (divided government): Gatherings are allowed at nursing homes whose residents have been fully vaccinated starting Feb. 26.
  • Wyoming (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, Feb. 25, Gov. Mark Gordon (R) announced that on March 1, restaurants can reopen buffet and self-service stations, and the number of people permitted to gather without social distancing will increase from 25 to 50 people. The number of people allowed to sit together at indoor events will also increase from 8 to 10.

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. 

  • CVS is expanding its vaccine rollout to select pharmacy locations in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania on Feb. 26 through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination. In total, CVS locations in 17 states now offer COVID-19 vaccines. The company said it will continue expanding into new states as more doses become available through the federal program.