The next 24 hours
What is changing in the next 24 hours?
- Maryland (divided government): Gov. Larry Hogan (R) will end capacity limits on most types of businesses, including restaurants, bars, and fitness centers, on March 12 at 5 p.m. Large outdoor and indoor venues, including wedding and sports venues and theaters, will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity. Additionally, Hogan said he will end the state’s quarantine requirements for out-of-state travelers and allow adult daycare centers to reopen. The statewide mask mandate will remain in effect.
- Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, March 11, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced he would ease coronavirus restrictions on public gatherings and indoor sporting events on Friday, March 12. Stitt also said he would end a requirement that people wear masks in state buildings.
- Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Dan McKee (D) announced school staff and childcare workers will be eligible for vaccination starting March 12. Previously, Rhode Island prioritized individuals based on age and underlying conditions.
Since our last edition
What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.
- Florida (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, March 10, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) banned counties and municipalities from fining people or businesses for violating COVID-19 restrictions. The order also rebates any fines imposed on people or businesses for violations retroactive to March 2020.
- Georgia (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, March 10, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced that people 55 and older will become eligible for a coronavirus vaccine on March 15. People age 16 and older with high-risk medical conditions, including cancer and diabetes, will also become eligible.
- Massachusetts (divided government): K-12 teachers and staff are eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine starting Thursday, March 11.
- New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced businesses like restaurants, bars, personal care service providers (like salons and barbershops), and state-defined indoor recreation businesses (like casinos and gyms) can expand from 35% to 50% capacity starting March 19. On the same day, the indoor gathering limit will expand from 10 to 25 people. Outdoor gatherings can expand from 25 to 50 people.
- New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced one county will have Red Level restrictions, 18 will be Yellow, seven will be Green, and seven will be Turquoise for the two-week period starting March 10. In the previous period, four counties were Red Level, 19 were Yellow, six were Green, and four were Turquoise.
- New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced domestic travelers will not have to quarantine when arriving from out-of-state starting April 1. All travelers will still have to fill out the Traveler Health Form before arriving in the state. Currently, individuals must have two negative COVID-19 test results to avoid the 14-day quarantine requirement. The first test must be from within three days before arriving in the state. Travelers must quarantine for three days and then take the second test on the fourth day. If both tests come back negative, the visitors can end quarantine.
- Ohio (Republican trifecta):
- People 50 and older are eligible for a coronavirus vaccine starting March 11. People with Type 2 Diabetes and end-stage renal disease will also become eligible on that day.
- On Wednesday, March 10, the Ohio House of Representatives voted 57-35 to pass Senate Bill 22, which would give lawmakers the authority to cancel a governor’s health order that lasts longer than 30 days. The bill would also require the governor to renew the health orders every 60 days. The Senate approved the bill 25-8 on Wednesday. It goes to Gov. Mike DeWine (R).
- Texas (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, March 10, the Department of State Health Services announced that residents 50 and older will become eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on March 15.
- Vermont (divided government): People 16 and older with underlying health conditions, including cancer and chronic kidney disease, are now eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine.
School closures and reopenings
Read more: School responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during the 2020-2021 academic year
- Four states (Calif., Del., Hawaii, N.M.) and Washington, D.C. had state-ordered regional school closures, required closures for certain grade levels, or allowed hybrid instruction only.
- 2016-17 enrollment: 7,049,065 students (13.93% of students nationwide)
- Five states (Ark., Fla., Iowa, N.H., Texas) had state-ordered in-person instruction.
- 2016-17 enrollment: 9,361,806 students (18.51% of students nationwide)
- One state (W.Va.) had state-ordered in-person instruction for certain grades.
- 2016-17 enrollment: 273,855 students (0.54% of students nationwide)
- Forty states left decisions to schools or districts.
- 2016-17 enrollment: 33,903,133 students (67.02% of students nationwide)
- Arizona – On March 3, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) issued an executive order requiring public schools to offer in-person instruction by March 15. High schools and middle schools in high-transmission counties will be exempt from the order. Parents will still be able to keep their children in virtual classes.
- Kentucky – On March 4, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) signed HB 208, requiring public schools to offer at least two days of in-person instruction each week starting March 29. The Senate approved the bill 28-8 on March 3. The House voted 81-15 in favor of the Senate’s version on March 4. Parents can still keep their children in fully remote learning.
- New Hampshire – Schools were required to begin providing at least two days of classroom instruction each week on March 8. Schools can switch to fully remote instruction for up to 48 hours without state approval. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) issued the requirement in a Feb. 19 order.
- North Carolina (divided government): On Wednesday, March 10, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced an agreement with legislators that would return all elementary schools to in-person instruction, while middle and high schools will be permitted to choose between a hybrid approach and in-person instruction on a district-by-district basis. Parents would still be able to keep their kids in virtual classes. The plan will take effect 21 days after Cooper signs the bill.
- Oregon – On March 5, Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced she would issue an executive order requiring public elementary schools to reopen no later than March 29 for hybrid or full-time in-person instruction. Brown said the order will require public schools to open for grades 6-12 by April 19. Parents can still keep their children in fully remote instruction.
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 17 of those orders have been rescinded.
- Since March 4, two states have amended their travel restrictions. Two states announced changes to their travel restrictions.
- Maine – As part of a reopening plan for the spring and summer tourism season, Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced on March 5 that travelers from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island would no longer need to quarantine upon arrival in the state. Mills also said the mandatory travel restrictions would become recommendations on May 1.
- Massachusetts – On March 8, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health included fully vaccinated individuals to its list of out-of-state travelers who are exempt from the quarantine requirement. People who have been fully vaccinated for 14 days do not need to quarantine for 10 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result.
- Maryland – On March 9, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced he would ease some coronavirus restrictions beginning March 12 at 5 p.m., including the quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers.
- New York – On March 11, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced domestic travelers will not have to quarantine when arriving from out-of-state starting April 1. All travelers will still have to fill out the Traveler Health Form before arriving in the state.
Read more: Political responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020
- On March 6, the U.S. Senate voted 50-49 along party lines to pass the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The $1.9 trillion dollar package includes $1,400 relief checks for eligible individuals, an extension of unemployment benefits, economic relief to state and local governments, and funding for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. Unlike the House version, the Senate bill did not include a minimum wage increase. The Senate bill also lowered the income eligibility threshold for relief checks.
- On March 9, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidance that says it is safe for fully vaccinated individuals to gather indoors with other fully vaccinated individuals without wearing a mask. The CDC classifies people as fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving either the second dose of a two-dose series, like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the first dose of a single-dose vaccine, like the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The CDC also says that vaccinated individuals can gather indoors with unvaccinated individuals from one other household if no one in the household is at a heightened risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
- On March 10, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 220-211 to approve the Senate version of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. One Democrat joined with all Republicans to vote against the bill. The bill goes to President Joe Biden (D), who is expected to sign it today.