A look back at government responses to the coronavirus pandemic, May 25-29, 2020

Although the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020, it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout that spring, states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, issued mask mandates, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. 

Here are the policy changes that happened May 25-29, 2020. This list is not comprehensive. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Monday, May 25, 2020

  • Election changes:
    • Judge J. Michelle Childs, of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, issued a preliminary injunction barring election officials from enforcing South Carolina’s witness requirement for absentee ballots in the June 9 primary and subsequent runoff elections. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

  • Travel restrictions:
    • Delaware Gov. John Carney Jr. (D) announced that he would end travel restrictions on out-of-state visitors on June 1.
  • Federal government responses:
    • President Donald Trump (R) banned foreign travelers who had been in Brazil in the last 14 days from entering the United States. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

  • Election changes:
    • The Texas state supreme court ruled that a voter’s lack of immunity to COVID-19 does not qualify as a disability under the state’s election laws and, therefore, cannot be cited as an excuse for voting absentee.
    • The Montana Supreme Court voted 5-2 to halt a lower court order that had extended the absentee ballot receipt deadline for the June 2 primary election to June 8.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Department of Defense (DoD) said it would gradually lift limits on deployments, redeployments, and movement of military and civilian personnel within the United States and between countries on a geographic basis. 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

  • Travel restrictions
    • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced she was modifying the quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers to permit some business travel.

Friday, May 29, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • Northern Virginia (NOVA), as well as Richmond and Accomack County, moved into Phase One of the “Forward Virginia” reopening plan, ending the stay-at-home order in that region. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) previously ended the statewide stay-at-home order for all counties except those in the NOVA region on May 15. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) allowed the statewide stay-at-home order to expire. He issued the order on March 20, and extended it on March 31 and April 23. 
  • Travel restrictions
    • Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) announced he was extending the 14-day quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers and residents returning to the state through June 5. According to Dunleavy, travelers who could prove they tested negative for COVID-19 before coming to Alaska could bypass the 14-day quarantine requirement. Dunleavy asked travelers to get tested at least 72 hours before arriving in the state.
    • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) issued an updated travel advisory that asked visitors to follow CDC guidelines, which included social distancing and wearing a face covering. 
  • Mask requirements:
    • Virginia Gov. Northam issued an order requiring people 10 and older to wear a mask when indoors. 

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