Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #243: May 10, 2021

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. Today we look at:

  • Changes in Hawaii’s travel restrictions 
  • A new phase of reopening in Massachusetts  
  • COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year 

We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements to curfews to vaccine-related policies. We will keep you abreast of major developments—especially those affecting your daily life. Want to know what we covered Friday? Click here.

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Gov. David Ige (D) signed a proclamation lifting the pre-travel testing and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travelers between counties starting May 11. Out-of-state travelers still have to provide proof of a negative test from within 72 hours before their arrival or quarantine for 10 days after arriving.

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) announced the state will stop participating in federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits programs starting June 26. 
  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): On Friday, May 7, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced he would issue an order requiring people receiving state unemployment benefits to once again provide proof they are actively seeking work. Holcomb waived the work requirement in March 2020. 
  • Massachusetts (divided government): 
    • Six of the state’s seven mass vaccination sites allow walk-up vaccinations beginning Monday, May 10.
    • As part of Phase 4, Step 2 of the state’s reopening plan, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) is ending the statewide outdoor mask mandate and allowing amusement and water parks to reopen at 50% capacity on May 10. He is also ending the requirement that supermarkets offer senior hours. 
  • New Hampshire (Republican trifecta): On Saturday, April 8, the state replaced its coronavirus restrictions with “Universal Best Practices,” a set of recommendations for all businesses that covers sanitation, mask-wearing, and social distancing. 
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) is easing some mitigation restrictions May 10. The outdoor gathering limit is expanding from 200 to 500 people. Outdoor event venues with more than 1,000 fixed seats can expand to 50% capacity (currently, venues with 2,500 or more seats can operate at 35% capacity). Indoor catered events (including proms, weddings, and political events) can expand from 35% capacity with a maximum of 150 people to 50% capacity with a maximum of 250 people. Indoor catered events can also have dance floors with social distancing and mask-wearing.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): On May 10, the outdoor social gathering limit (which applies to organized social events like weddings) is expanding from 200 to 500 people.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Dan McKee (D) eased restrictions for most businesses on May 7. Places of worship and businesses like restaurants, retailers, gyms, and personal care services can expand to 80% capacity as long as three-foot distancing can be maintained. Outdoor dining is also permitted at 100% capacity with three-foot distancing between tables. Social gatherings can expand from 15 to 25 people indoors and from 50 to 75 people outdoors. For a full list of current restrictions, click here.
  • Wyoming (Republican trifecta): On May 7, Gov. Mark Gordon (R) issued a directive banning state agencies, boards, and commissions from requiring that people reveal their COVID-19 vaccine status to access state property and services. 

This time last year: Monday, May 11, 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.

Monday, May 11, 2020:

  • Election changes:
    • Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (D) issued an executive order reducing petition signature requirements for all candidates by 30%. He also extended the filing deadlines for major-party and unaffiliated candidates by two days, to June 11, 2020, and August 7, 2020, respectively.
  • Federal government responses:
    • In a call with state governors, Vice President Mike Pence (R) said the federal government was recommending that states test all nursing home staff and residents over the next two weeks.