Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: March 24, 2021

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • Georgia (Republican trifecta): On Tuesday, March 23, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced that all residents 16 and older will become eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on Thursday, March 25. 
  • Vermont (divided government): 
    • Residents 60 and older will become eligible for a coronavirus vaccine March 25.
    • Effective Wednesday, March 24, bars can reopen to indoor service under the same rules that previously applied to restaurants. Those rules include a 50% occupancy limit, no standing or mingling, and no more than six people per table. Organizations like the American Legion and Elks Lodge can also resume indoor operations under the same rules.

Since our last edition

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

  • Arizona (Republican trifecta): State-operated vaccination sites can start administering vaccines to residents 16 or older on March 24. Previously, people 55 and older could make appointments at state sites.
  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): 
    • On Tuesday, March 23, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced that all residents 16 and older will become eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine March 31. 
    • On Tuesday, March 23, Holcomb also announced he would end the statewide mask mandate and restrictions on businesses on April 6. He said local officials could still enact stricter restrictions, and masks will still be required in schools. 
  • Maryland (divided government): On Tuesday, March 23, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced the state would open six mass vaccination sites in the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Frederick, Harford, Howard, and Montgomery. The first sites will open in Baltimore County by April 5, with more openings throughout the month. 
  • North Carolina (divided government): 
    • On Tuesday, March 23, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced he would ease some restrictions on gatherings and businesses beginning Friday, April 26. The limit on indoor gatherings will increase from 25 to 50 people, while the limit on outdoor gatherings will increase from 50 to 100 people. Retail stores, as well as museums and salons, will be allowed to operate at 100% capacity, while businesses like restaurants and gyms will be allowed to operate at 75% capacity indoors and 100% capacity outdoors. The new order will also allow bars and movie theaters to operate at 50% capacity. Additionally, the order removes the alcohol curfew, which prohibits alcohol sales after 11 p.m. 
    • Individuals in Group 4, which includes people at higher risk of COVID-19 because of underlying health conditions, are eligible to receive a vaccine starting March 24.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Tuesday, March 23, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) vetoed a bill that would limit the governor’s authority to renew emergency health orders. If enacted into law, Senate Bill 22 would allow the legislature to cancel health orders that last longer than 30 days and require the governor to renew those orders every 60 days. The bill also creates a legislative panel to provide oversight of the governor’s health orders and restricts local officials’ authority to require people to quarantine without a medical diagnosis. Senate Bill 22 passed the Senate 25-8 and the House 57-38. To override DeWine’s veto, each chamber would need a three-fifths majority.
  • Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): On Tuesday, March 23, Deputy Commissioner of Health Keith Reed announced that all residents 16 and older will become eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine March 29. 
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that effective March 26 – April 8, two counties will be in the state’s Extreme Risk level, six will be at High Risk, 14 will be at Moderate Risk, and 14 will have Lower Risk restrictions. In the current period from March 12-25, two counties are in the state’s Extreme Risk level, nine are at High Risk, 12 are at Moderate Risk, and 13 have Lower Risk restrictions. To see restrictions in a specific county or risk level, click here.
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): On Tuesday, March 23, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced he would ease some coronavirus restrictions on April 1. The limit on indoor social gatherings will increase from 10 to 50 people, while the limit on outdoor gatherings will increase from 25 to 100. Indoor and outdoor events at entertainment venues will be limited to 30% capacity, although indoor events will be prohibited from accommodating more than 500 people. Similarly, in-person graduations will be limited to 30% capacity, with no more than 5,000 people at outside ceremonies or 500 people inside. 

COVID-19 policy changes: Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020. But it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout March and April, many states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. Over the course of this week, we’ll look back at some of the defining policy responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s what happened this time last year. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • On March 24, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) issued Executive Order #12, directing Wisconsinites to stay at home as much as possible and non-essential businesses and operations to cease, with limited exceptions for minimum basic operations and working from home. The order went into effect March 25.
    • Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) amended the original state of emergency declaration by issuing a proclamation, which directed individuals in the state to stay at home unless performing essential activities and placed restrictions on non-essential businesses.
  • School closures:
    • The Oklahoma Department of Education announced that schools would remain closed for the remainder of the academic year.
    • Maryland State Superintendent Karen Salmon announced that the statewide school closure, scheduled to end March 27, was extended through April 24.
  • Election changes:
    • Montana Governor Steve Bullock (D) issued a directive authorizing counties to conduct upcoming elections entirely by mail.
    • The Indiana Election Commission authorized the temporary suspension of the state’s statutory absentee voting eligibility requirements, allowing all voters to cast their ballots by mail in the June 2, 2020, primary election.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The U.S. Senate voted 96-0 to pass the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which included individual payments of $1,200 for individuals making up to $75,000 annually.