Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: March 15, 2021

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

Since our last edition

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

  • Alabama (Republican trifecta): Gov. Kay Ivey (R) announced residents age 55 or older and people ages 16-64 with state-defined high-risk underlying conditions will be eligible for vaccination starting March 22.
  • Arizona (Republican trifecta): Gov. Doug Ducey’s (R) executive order requiring public schools to offer in-person instruction takes effect March 15. High schools and middle schools in high-transmission counties are exempt from the order. Parents can still keep their children in virtual classes.
  • Georgia (Republican trifecta): 
    • People 55 and older became eligible for a coronavirus vaccine on March 15. People age 16 and older with high-risk medical conditions, including cancer and diabetes, also became eligible.
    • On Friday, March 12, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) extended statewide coronavirus restrictions and guidance through March 31. The new order included some modifications, such as combining restaurant and bar requirements to hold both to the same COVID-19 cleaning and mitigation standards. 
  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Everyone in Phase 1-C of vaccine distribution is eligible for vaccination starting March 15, including anyone age 65 and older, essential workers, and people with state-defined, high-risk underlying conditions. Currently, people 70 and older are eligible. 
  • Kentucky (divided government): Individuals age 16 and older with health conditions the Centers for Disease Control says increase risk for severe illness from the coronavirus are eligible for vaccination starting March 15. Vaccinators must continue to prioritize appointments for people over 60. 
  • Minnesota (divided government): 
    • Looser mitigation restrictions are effective March 15 at 12 p.m. Bars and restaurants can expand operations from 50% to 75% of indoor capacity. Indoor social gatherings can expand from 10 people from two households to up to 15 people with no household limit. Outdoor gatherings can expand from 15 people from three households to 50 people with no household limit. 
    • Starting April 1, seated indoor events (like concerts) of up to 3,000 people and unseated events of up to 1,500 people will be allowed.  
  • Michigan (divided government): On Friday, March 12, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced that residents 16 and older with medical conditions or disabilities will become eligible for a coronavirus vaccine on March 22. All residents 16 and older will become eligible April 5. 
  • Missouri (Republican trifecta): Individuals in Phase 1B – Tier 3 are eligible for vaccinations starting March 15. The phase includes school employees, grocery store workers, and critical infrastructure workers (including people in the energy, food, and agriculture sectors).
  • Nevada (Democratic trifecta): On Friday, March 12, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced that effective Monday, March 15, large venues can host events at up to 50% capacity with approval from the Department of Business and Industry. Previously, large gatherings and events were limited to 20% capacity at venues with more than 2,500 seats. Conventions, conferences, and trade shows were limited to 1,000 people. 
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): School staff and homeless people are among those eligible for vaccination starting March 15. On March 29, eligibility will expand to include agriculture workers, warehouse employees, clergy, and elections personnel. To see full lists of eligible groups for each date, click here.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Wedding receptions and other catered events can resume March 15. Venues are restricted to the lesser of 50% capacity or 150 people. Previously, weddings were capped at 50 people, and indoor dining service was not permitted at receptions.
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown (D) issued an executive order requiring public elementary schools to reopen no later than March 29 for hybrid or full-time in-person instruction. The order also requires public schools to open for grades 6-12 by April 19. Parents can still keep their children in fully remote instruction.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): 
    • On March 12, Gov. Dan McKee (D) announced restaurants can move indoor dining tables from eight feet apart to six feet, effective immediately. Bar areas can also seat patrons until 12 a.m. (previously, patrons had to leave at 11 p.m.). 
    • Starting March 19, indoor dining capacity will increase from 66% to 75%. Indoor attendance limits at catered events (like wedding receptions) will increase from 30 to 100 people, with the maximum capacity limit increasing from 50% to 75%. Outdoor catered event attendance limits will increase from 100 to 200 people. Social gatherings of 15 people indoors or 50 people outdoors will be permitted. Previously, social gatherings were capped at two households indoors or three outdoors. Places of worship can operate at 75% capacity, up from the current 40% limit. Retailers, personal care service providers, gyms, and other businesses can also increase capacity. For a full list of changes, click here.
    • All residents 60 and older and residents 16 or older with an underlying medical condition (including lung disease, heart disease, and diabetes) became eligible for vaccination on March 12. 
  • Vermont (divided government): 
    • People aged 16 and older with underlying health conditions can receive vaccines starting March 15. 
    • On Friday, March 12, Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced up to two unvaccinated households can gather at a time. Restaurants are also permitted to seat multiple households together, with a limit of six people at the same table. 
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Ralph Northam (D) requested that schools provide in-person instruction options for students by March 15. Northam said schools could consult the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Education’s updated reopening guidance released on Jan. 15 as they prepare to return students to the classroom. Although the request is not a mandate, Northam said he expects schools to comply.
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Friday, March 12, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said he would soon issue an emergency proclamation requiring elementary schools to provide students at least two partial days of in-person instruction by April 5. Schools must provide older students the same by April 19. As of March 15, Inslee had not signed the proclamation.  
  • Wisconsin (divided government): On Friday, March 12, Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced that everyone 16 and older would be eligible for a coronavirus vaccine on May 1.