Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: March 31, 2021

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced a revised timeline for vaccine distribution. The state is aiming to open eligibility to everyone 50 and older April 1.
  • Minnesota (divided government): 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.
  • Montana (Republican trifecta): Residents 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination starting April 1. Currently, the state is in Phase 1B+, which allows vaccinations for everyone 60 and older.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta):
    • Starting April 1, large sports venues (that hold more than 1,500 people indoors or 2,500 outdoors) will open at 10% capacity indoors or 20% capacity outdoors. Outdoor performing arts venues can also reopen at 20% capacity.
    • 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.
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): 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.

Since our last edition

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

  • Arkansas (Republican trifecta): 
    • Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) lifted the state’s mask requirement on March 30. The requirement first took effect July 20. Businesses can still require patrons to wear masks. Arkansas is the seventh state to lift a statewide public mask requirement. 
    • On March 30, Hutchinson also expanded vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older. Previously, individuals in Phase 1-C (including residents 65 and older) were eligible for vaccination.
  • Delaware (Democratic trifecta): Gov. John Carney (D) announced everyone 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination starting April 6. Currently, everyone 65 and older or 16 and older with state-defined moderate- and high-risk underlying conditions is eligible.
  • Louisiana (divided government): Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) lifted some mitigation measures on March 31. Six-foot social distancing and mask-wearing are still required in all businesses, but most businesses (including restaurants, bars, gyms, malls, salons, and casinos) no longer have capacity limits. Bars and restaurants can serve alcohol with no curfew. Businesses and venues (like reception halls) that host large gatherings will be limited to 50% capacity, with an indoor limit of 500 people. Indoor and outdoor sporting events are limited to 50% capacity.
  • New Hampshire (Republican trifecta): Residents 30 and older are eligible for vaccination starting March 31. Residents 40 and older had been eligible since March 25.
  • North Carolina (divided government): 
    • The rest of Group 4 is eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine starting March 31. Group 4 includes a range of essential workers, some of whom were eligible March 17.
    • On Tuesday, March 30, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) extended a statewide eviction moratorium through June 30. 
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): On Tuesday, March 30, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced a COVID-19 Rapid Testing Program for youth summer camps licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services. The program will provide staff and campers with rapid antigen tests. 
  • Vermont (divided government): On Tuesday, March 30, Gov. Phil Scott (R) said that out-of-state college students are ineligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine. Scott said that could change in the future if the state receives enough vaccine doses.
  • Wisconsin (divided government): On Wednesday, March 31, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that Gov. Tony Evers (D) overstepped his authority when he declared several states of emergency since the start of the pandemic without input from the legislature. In the majority opinion, Justice Brian Hagedorn wrote that under the relevant state statute, only a joint resolution from the legislature can extend a state of emergency beyond 60 days. Evers first declared a state of emergency in March 2020. The ruling invalidates the current emergency order, which includes a statewide mask mandate. 

This time last year: Wednesday, April 1, 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. Each week, we’ll look back at some of the early 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, April 1, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) extended the stay-at-home order to all 67 counties in the state. Previously, the order affected 26 counties. 
    • Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) issued Executive Order 2020-07, which directed individuals to stay home except for essential activities and closed nonessential businesses in the state.
  • School closures:
    • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced schools would be physically closed for the remainder of the school year.
    • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced schools would remain closed for the remainder of the school year. Prior to the order, the state’s school closure was scheduled to end April 24.
  • Election changes:
    • Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) issued a proclamation establishing deadlines for the state’s all-mail primary election.
    • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) issued Executive Order 18-20, postponing West Virginia’s statewide primary election to June 9, 2020. The primary was originally scheduled to take place May 12.