Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: April 6, 2021

Documenting America's Path to Recovery

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • Georgia (Republican trifecta): Gov. Brian Kemp (R) will ease restrictions on businesses and individuals starting April 7. Under the new order, 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.

Since our last edition

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

  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) ended the statewide mask mandate on April 6. Holcomb said local officials could still enact stricter restrictions, and masks will still be required in schools.
  • Kansas (divided government): On April 5, Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signed SB 63, requiring all public school districts to offer full-time, in-person instruction effective immediately. The law applies to grades K-12.
  • Maryland (divided government): Effective April 6, residents 16 and older are eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine at a mass vaccination site. All providers will be permitted to offer vaccines to residents 16 and older on Monday, April 12. 
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): 
    • Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced residents 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination starting April 19. 
    • Murphy also announced updated travel guidance to reflect the most recent CDC recommendations. The new guidance says fully vaccinated individuals do not need to test negative or quarantine after interstate travel. For more information on New Jersey’s travel guidance, click here.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): 
    • Residents 16 and older are eligible for a coronavirus vaccine starting April 6.
    • Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) lifted the 11 p.m. curfew for casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, billiard halls, and gyms on April 5. The 11 p.m. curfew for restaurants and bars and the 12 a.m. curfew for catered events remains in effect.
    • On April 3, the first public performance on Broadway occurred since all 41 theaters closed on March 12, 2020. Dancer Savion Glover and actor Nathan Lane performed one at a time before a socially distanced and masked audience of 150.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Monday, April 5, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) issued a new health order ending the gathering limit on outdoor events and activities if people remain socially distanced. DeWine also consolidated all previous health orders and guidelines into the new order. 
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): On Monday, April 5, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) prohibited government agencies, businesses, and institutions that receive state funding from requiring people to show proof they’ve received a coronavirus vaccine. 
  • Vermont (divided government): On Tuesday, April 6, Gov. Phil Scott (R) released a phased reopening plan. The plan, which begins April 9 with an easing of the statewide travel restrictions, unfolds in three phases, with the aim of ending all coronavirus restrictions and mandates by July. 

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 April 1 newsletter. As of April 5, at least one county in each state allowed vaccinations for the following age groups:

  • Ages 16+: 35 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Ages 18+: One state
  • Ages 30+: One state
  • Ages 40+: One state
  • Ages 50+ or 55+: Six states
  • Ages 60+ or 65+: Six states

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.

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020


  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 1,752 lawsuits, in 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 517 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since March 30, we have added 11 lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional five court orders and/or settlements. 


  • Fabick v. Evers: On March 31, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the state’s COVID-19-related public health emergency orders and mask mandate. The court ruled that while the plain language of state statutes permits the governor to “act with expanded powers to address a particular emergency” for 60 days, “the legislature reserves for itself the power to determine the policies that govern the state’s response to an ongoing problem” after those 60 days. The court also ruled that “when the legislature revokes a state of emergency, a governor may not simply reissue another one on the same basis.” The state supreme court made a similar ruling in May 2020, striking down Gov. Tony Evers’ (D) “Safer at Home” emergency order. The decision does not extend to local governments, which can implement their own virus-related restrictions. Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R) said the ruling “vindicates the Legislature as a co-equal branch of government and will expand freedom and opportunity for the people of Wisconsin.” Evers said, “I’ve worked to keep Wisconsinites healthy and safe, and I’ve trusted the science and public health experts to guide our decision making.” Justice Brian Hagedorn wrote the majority opinion, in which Chief Justice Patience Roggensack and Justices Annette Ziegler and Rebecca Bradley joined. Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, joined by Justices Rebecca Dallet and Jill Karofsky, dissented.

State mask requirements

We last looked at face coverings in the March 30 edition of the newsletter. Since then, four states allowed a statewide public face-covering requirement to expire.



  • Arkansas – Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) lifted the state’s mask requirement on March 30. The requirement first took effect on July 20, 2020. Businesses can still require patrons to wear masks.
  • Indiana – Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) is lifting the state’s mask requirement on April 6. For more information, see Indiana’s Since our last edition entry above.
  • Kansas – On Thursday, April 1, the Legislative Coordinating Council (LLC) voted 5-2 (with one absence) to end Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) statewide mask mandate. The LLC is a committee composed of eight legislators. Kelly signed Senate Bill 40 on March 24, allowing the LLC to vote to end COVID-19 executive orders. The LLC’s decision does not affect local mask mandates. 
  • Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 4-3 on March 31 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 could extend a state of emergency beyond 60 days. Evers first declared a state of emergency in March 2020. The ruling invalidated Wisconsin’s emergency order, which included the statewide mask mandate. The mask requirement took effect on Aug. 1, 2020.

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia

Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • Federal
    • Three federal officials have died of COVID-19.
    • Sixty-five members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty-one federal officials have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Ten state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • Two hundred twenty-five state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Eighty-four state-level incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least five local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 42 local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 26 local incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Since March 30, one governor has tested positive for COVID-19.


  • On Monday, April 5, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) announced he tested positive for COVID-19. 

This time last year: Tuesday, April 7, 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 defining policy responses of the early 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.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • Executive Order 2020-21 took effect in South Carolina. It directed individuals in the state to stay home except for essential activities and closed nonessential businesses. Gov. Henry McMaster (R) issued the order April 6. South Carolina was the last state to implement a stay-at-home order. Forty-three states issued lockdown or stay-at-home orders. 
  • School closures:
    • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) recommended schools remain closed for the rest of the academic year.
    • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) extended the statewide school closure from April 10 to April 24.