Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: April 1, 2021

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • Connecticut (Democratic trifecta): 
    • On April 2, outdoor amusement parks can reopen, and outdoor event venues can operate at 50% capacity or 10,000 individuals, whichever is fewer. Indoor stadiums will also be able to open at 10% capacity.
    • Residents age 16 and older are eligible to schedule vaccinations starting April 1. Residents 45 and older have been eligible for vaccination since March 19.
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced the general outdoor gathering limit will expand from 50 to 200 people starting April 2. Large venues (like sports stadiums and concert halls) with seating capacity of 2,500 or greater will also be able to operate at 20% capacity indoors or 30% outdoors. Previously, only large venues capable of seating 5,000 or more people could operate at 10% capacity indoors or 15% outdoors. Indoor gatherings are still limited to 25 people.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Event, arts, and entertainment venues can reopen at 33% capacity (with a limit of 100 people indoors or 200 outdoors) starting April 2.

Since our last edition

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

  • Delaware (Democratic trifecta): Gov. John Carney (D) announced all residents 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination starting April 6. Currently, all residents 50 and older are eligible. 
  • Georgia (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, March 31, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) extended the COVID-19 public health state of emergency through April 30. Kemp also eased restrictions on businesses and individuals, effective April 7. Once the order takes effect, there will no longer be a ban on gatherings or any social distance requirements in businesses like bars, movie theaters, or gyms. Additionally, Kemp’s order prohibits law enforcement from closing businesses and organizations that do not comply with COVID-19 restrictions. 
  • Kentucky (divided government): Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced all residents 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination starting April 5. Currently, everyone 50 and older is eligible.
  • 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.
    • On March 30, residents 16 and older became eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine. 
  • Mississippi (Republican trifecta): Gov. Tate Reeves (R) issued an executive order easing restrictions for certain events. Large events at indoor arenas can expand to 75% capacity, and K-12 extracurricular events can expand to 50% capacity indoors, with no limit on outdoor events.
  • 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.
  • Nebraska (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, March 31, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) announced that local health departments will have the option of expanding vaccine eligibility to residents 16 and older starting April 5. 
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam announced law enforcement officers, firefighters, grocery store workers, and food and agriculture workers were eligible for vaccination on March 31. All residents in Phase 1B (page 18) will be eligible April 5. All residents in Phase 1C (page 18) will be eligible April 12. Starting April 19, everyone 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination.
  • South Dakota (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, March 31, Gov. Kristi Noem (R) announced that residents 16 and older will become eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on Monday, April 5. 
  • Vermont (divided government): On Wednesday, March 31, Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced that out-of-state students and out-of-state homeowners will become eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on April 30. 
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): 
    • Effective Thursday, April 1, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) eased some coronavirus restrictions. The limit on indoor social gatherings increased from 10 to 50 people, while the limit on outdoor gatherings increased from 25 to 100. Indoor and outdoor events at entertainment venues are limited to 30% capacity, although indoor events are prohibited from accommodating more than 500 people. Similarly, in-person graduations are limited to 30% capacity, with no more than 5,000 people at outdoor ceremonies or 500 people indoors.
    • On April 1, Northam announced residents 16 and older will become eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on April 18. 
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Wednesday, March 31, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced that residents 16 and older will become eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on April 15. 
  • Wisconsin (divided government): On Tuesday, March 30, Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced that residents 16 and older will become eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on April 5. 
  • Wyoming (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, March 31, Gov. Mark Gordon (R) announced that, effective immediately, residents 16 and older are 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


  • Two states (Del., Hawaii) and Washington, D.C. had state-ordered regional school closures, required closures for certain grade levels, or allowed hybrid instruction only.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 403,664 students (0.80% of students nationwide)
  • Six states (Ark., Fla., Iowa, N.H., Texas, W.Va.) had state-ordered in-person instruction.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 9,635,661 students (19.05% of students nationwide)
  • Two states (Ariz., Ore.) had state-ordered in-person instruction for certain grades.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 1,702,084 students (3.36% of students nationwide)
  • Forty states left decisions to schools or districts.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 38,846,450 students (76.79% of students nationwide)


  • Oregon – Public elementary schools had to reopen no later than March 29 for hybrid or full-time in-person instruction. Parents could still keep their children in fully remote instruction.

Travel restrictions

    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 and the District of Columbia issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 21 of those orders have been rescinded.
  • Since March 25, one state has ended its travel restrictions. 


  • New York – Effective April 1, out-of-state travelers and returning residents are no longer required to self-quarantine upon arrival or display a negative COVID-19 test. The New York State Department of Health recommends all travelers self-quarantine. Travelers are still required to fill out an online Traveler Health Form. 

Federal responses

Read more: Political responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • On March 28, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky extended a federal evictions moratorium through June 30. The moratorium was first put in place Sept. 4, 2020. 
  • On March 30, President Joe Biden (D) signed a bill extending the deadline to apply for a forgivable loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) from March 31 to May 31. The bill also extended the authorization period for new loans through June 30. The bill passed the House 415-3 and passed the Senate 92-7.
  • On March 31, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized two at-home COVID-19 tests. Quidel Corporation and Abbott Laboratories developed the rapid tests, which are self-administered and deliver results within minutes.

Vaccine eligibility

Note: This section may not reflect the most recent stories in today’s The next 24 hours and Since our last edition sections above. This section details eligibility for different age groups in each state. 

We last looked at vaccine eligibility in our March 30 newsletter. As of March 31, at least one county in each state allowed vaccinations for the following age groups:

  • Ages 16+: 25 states
  • Ages 18+: Three states
  • Ages 30+: Two states
  • Ages 40+ or 45+: Two states 
  • Ages 50+ or 55+: Six states
  • Ages 60+ or 65+: 12 states and Washington, D.C.

For more details on vaccine distribution, including the eligibility of grocery store workers, food service employees, and people with underlying conditions, click here.

In some states, vaccine eligibility can vary by county. The data above details the loosest restrictions in each state. For example, if one county in a state allows vaccines for anyone 55 or older, the state is marked as 55+, even if every other county limits vaccinations to people 65 or older. To see what states allow eligibility for groups in specific counties, check out the New York Times article here.

COVID-19 policy changes: Thursday, April 2, 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.

Thursday, April 2, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • Executive Order GA-14 went into effect. The order directed individuals in Texas to stay home except for essential activities and closed nonessential businesses in the state. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued the order March 31.
    • Executive Order 28 went into effect. The order directed individuals in Maine to stay at home. Gov. Janet Mills (D) issued the order March 31.
  • School closures:
    • Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced schools would remain closed through the end of the academic year.
    • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced schools statewide would remain closed for the rest of the academic year.
  • Election changes:
    • Judge William M. Conley of the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin issued an order extending absentee voting deadlines in Wisconsin’s April 7, 2020, election.