Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. Today we look at:
- An announcement about the end of COVID-19 restrictions in Massachusetts
- The end of the statewide mask mandate in North Carolina
- COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year
We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements 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?
- Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta):
- Gov. Dan McKee (D) announced fully vaccinated individuals will not have to wear masks in most indoor public settings starting May 18.
- McKee also announced all remaining coronavirus restrictions except three-foot social distancing requirements at indoor businesses will end May 21. Previously, the remaining restrictions were scheduled to end May 28.
Since our last edition
What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.
- Colorado (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Jared Polis (D) ended the statewide mask requirement on May 14. Masks are still required for unvaccinated visitors to nursing homes, prisons, and hospitals, and in certain school settings. Vaccinated and unvaccinated people must still comply with federal law, which requires masking on public transportation and at public transportation hubs like bus stations and airports.
- Delaware (Democratic trifecta): Gov. John Carney (D) announced fully vaccinated individuals will not have to wear masks in most indoor or outdoor public settings starting May 21.
- Indiana (Republican trifecta): On May 17, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced the state will end its participation in federal pandemic unemployment programs on June 19.
- Kentucky (divided government): Gov. Andy Beshear (D) signed an order exempting fully vaccinated people from wearing masks in most indoor settings. Beshear also announced he will end the statewide mask requirement for everyone (including unvaccinated people) on June 11.
- Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced fully vaccinated individuals will not have to wear masks in most indoor public settings starting May 24.
- Maryland (divided government):
- Gov. Larry Hogan (R) ended all statewide COVID-19 restrictions on businesses May 15, including indoor and outdoor capacity limits.
- On May 15, Hogan ended the statewide mask mandate for vaccinated and unvaccinated people. The state still requires masks in schools and hospitals, as well as on public transportation.
- Massachusetts (divided government): On Monday, May 17, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced he will end the statewide mask mandate and all remaining COVID-19 restrictions on May 29. He also said he will end the COVID-19 state of emergency on June 15.
- Michigan (divided government): On Saturday, May 15, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) ended the statewide mask mandate for fully vaccinated people. She also ended the outdoor mask requirement for all people.
- Minnesota (divided government): On Friday, May 14, Gov. Tim Walz (D) extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order an additional 30 days.
- Missouri (Republican trifecta): Gov. Mike Parson (R) directed all state employees to return to pre-coronavirus in-person work settings no later than May 17. All state buildings must reopen to the public during normal business hours.
- New Hampshire (Republican trifecta): Ten of the 11 state-run vaccination sites allow walk-in appointments starting Monday, May 17. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) said each site can dedicate 50 doses a day to walk-ins.
- New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order through June 13.
- New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks in most indoor public settings.
- New York (Democratic trifecta):
- Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is lifting the midnight curfew on bars and restaurants starting May 17 for outdoor dining areas. The 1 a.m. curfew for catered events is also ending May 17 for events where all attendees are fully vaccinated or provide proof of a recent negative test to event organizers.
- Gyms in New York City expanded to 50% capacity May 15.
- North Carolina (divided government): On Friday, May 14, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) ended the statewide mask mandate for vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Masks are still required for all people, regardless of vaccination status, on public transportation and in healthcare settings. Cooper also ended all business capacity restrictions, social distancing requirements, and gathering limits.
- Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Friday, May 14, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) ended the statewide mask mandate for fully vaccinated people, effective immediately.
- Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks in most indoor public settings.
- Pennsylvania (divided government):
- Indoor limits for events and gatherings (like fairs, festivals, and concerts) are expanding to 50% occupancy starting May 17. Outdoor occupancy limits for events and gatherings are also expanding to 75%.
- Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam announced fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks in most indoor public settings, effective immediately. Beam also said the mask order will be fully lifted once 70% of residents over 18 are fully vaccinated.
- Utah (Republican trifecta):
- Virginia (Democratic trifecta):
- Gov. Ralph Northam (D) lifted a series of statewide coronavirus restrictions beginning May 15. The limit on indoor gatherings increased from 50 to 100 people, while the outdoor limit increased from 100 to 250 people. Indoor venues are now permitted to operate at 50% capacity or 1,000 people, while outdoor venues are permitted to operate at 50% capacity with no absolute limit on the number of people allowed in. Additionally, indoor sports venues are permitted to allow up to 250 spectators or 50% capacity, whichever is less. Outdoor venues are permitted to seat 1,000 people or 50% capacity, whichever is less. Restaurants can sell alcohol after midnight.
- On Saturday, May 15, Northam ended the statewide mask mandate for fully vaccinated people. Northam also said all COVID-19 restrictions will end May 28, two weeks earlier than previously announced.
This time last year: Monday, May 18, 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 18, 2020:
- Stay-at-home orders:
- Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) allowed the stay-at-home order to expire. Baker issued the order March 23 and renewed it on March 31 and May 4.