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

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

The next 72 hours

What is changing in the next 72 hours?

  • Connecticut (Democratic trifecta): Connecticut’s limit on early childhood class sizes will increase from 16 to 20 children on March 29. Gov. Ned Lamont (D) made the announcement on March 4.
  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Residents age 60 and older will be eligible for vaccination starting March 29. Previously, people 65 and older were eligible to receive vaccines. 
  • Kentucky (divided government): Kentucky public schools must offer at least two days of in-person instruction each week starting March 29. The rule is the result of HB 208, which Gov. Andy Beshear (D) signed on March 4. The bill passed 28-8 in the state Senate on March 3, and the House approved the Senate’s version 81-15 on March 4. Parents can still keep their children in fully remote learning.
  • Minnesota (divided government): On Friday, March 26, Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced that residents 16 and older will become eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on March 30. 
  • Missouri (Republican trifecta): All residents in Phase 2 (including construction workers, higher education faculty and staff, and homeless people) will be eligible for vaccinations starting March 29.
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): On March 29, vaccine eligibility will expand to include agriculture workers, warehouse employees, clergy, and elections personnel. To see a full list of eligible groups, click here.
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): 
    • All counties can start vaccinating people in Phase 1B, Group 6, starting March 29. People in Phase 1B, Group 7, will be eligible for vaccinations starting April 19. On May 1, everyone age 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination.
    • Public elementary schools are required to reopen no later than March 29 for hybrid or full-time in-person instruction. Parents can still keep their children in fully remote instruction.
  • Vermont (divided government): On March 29, vaccine eligibility will expand to include people 50 and older. Previously, everyone 60 and older became eligible for vaccination on March 25.

Since our last edition

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

  • Arizona (Republican trifecta): Gov. Doug Ducey (R) lifted restrictions on businesses and gatherings on March 25. All previous business restrictions are now recommendations. Businesses may enforce mask-wearing and social distancing, if they choose. Events larger than 50 people no longer need state approval. Ducey’s order also preempts the enforcement of local mask mandates, except in government buildings and on public transportation. Residents are still encouraged to wear masks. 
  • California (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced people 50 and older will be eligible for vaccination starting April 1. All residents 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination starting April 15.
  • Colorado (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Jared Polis (D) extended the state’s dial reopening framework order through April 16. To read more about the dial’s metrics and restrictions, click here.
  • New Hampshire (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, March 25, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) announced that people 40 and older will be eligible for vaccination on Monday, March 29, while people 30 and older will be eligible Wednesday, March 31. People 16 and older will become eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine April 2.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): 
    • Indoor family entertainment centers and amusement parks will be able to reopen at 25% capacity starting March 26.
    • Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced new nursing home visitation guidelines, effective immediately. The guidance allows visits for all residents at all facilities. Previously, facilities had to be free of COVID-19 cases for 14 days before visits were permitted. To read the full guidance, click here.
  • North Carolina (divided government): 
    • Effective Friday, March 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 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. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) made the announcement Tuesday, March 23.
    • On Thursday, March 25, Cooper announced that the rest of Group 4 will become eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on March 31. Group 4 includes a range of essential workers, some of whom were eligible March 17. Cooper also announced that all North Carolina adults will be eligible April 7. 
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Thursday, March 25, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) ordered all K-12 schools to follow updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) social distance guidance, which says students should keep three feet apart. 
  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, March 24, Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that all live music performances will be allowed to resume Friday, March 26, and that summer camps will be allowed to reopen May 1. Justice also announced that the state’s color-coded County Alert System will no longer be used to determine if high schools can reopen for in-person instruction. High schools will join all other schools in offering full-time, in-person instruction unless there is a COVID-19 active outbreak. 

This time last year: Friday, March 27, 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.

Friday, March 27, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • On March 25, Gov. Tim Walz (D) issued a stay-at-home order, which directed individuals in the state to remain at home unless performing essential activities and placed restrictions on non-essential businesses. The order took effect March 27.
  • Travel restrictions
    • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) issued an executive order requiring people traveling to South Carolina from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and New Orleans to self-quarantine for two weeks. 
    • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed an executive order requiring all travelers who entered New Mexico through an airport to self-quarantine for 14 days. 
  • School closures:
    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) extended the statewide school closure from April 1 to April 15.
    • Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) extended the statewide school closure from April 3 to April 17.
  • Election changes:
    • Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) signed into law legislation postponing the state’s primary election from April 28, 2020, to June 2, 2020.
  • Federal government responses:
    • President Donald Trump (R) signed the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law.