Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #254: May 26, 2021

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

  • An order prohibiting state agencies from requiring proof of vaccination in Georgia 
  • Changes in mask requirements in Hawaii
  • 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 yesterday? Click here.

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): The state will offer State Parks Vax Passes to individuals who have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine starting May 27. The passes will allow free access to all state park and forest facilities (including Island Beach State Park) through Dec. 31. Residents have to receive their first dose by July 4 to get a pass. The Department of Environmental Protection will refund fully vaccinated residents who already purchased Annual State Park Passes.

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 the DE Wins! vaccination incentive program for everyone 12+ vaccinated between May 25 and June 29. The program includes twice-weekly cash drawings of $5,000 and other prizes (including a full-ride scholarship to a Delaware state university). On June 30, everyone in the state (including individuals vaccinated before May 25) will be entered to win a $302,000 cash prize.

Georgia (Republican trifecta): On Tuesday, March 25, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) issued an order prohibiting state agencies from requiring employees to prove their COVID-19 vaccination status. 

Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Gov. David Ige (D) ended the outdoor mask requirement for all individuals (vaccinated and unvaccinated) on May 25. Ige said the indoor mask requirement for all people remains unchanged. Ocean sports competitions are now permitted.

Louisiana (divided government): Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced all remaining limits on bars, live music venues, and other state-defined large events and gatherings are ending May 26. Edwards also said the state will stop requiring masks in schools after the 2020-2021 academic year. Local school districts will be able to set their own rules.

New York (Democratic trifecta): 

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced children between the ages of two and five no longer need to wear masks. The state still recommends mask-wearing for children who are able. 
  • Cuomo also said schools will reopen statewide for full-time instruction in September, based on current data. 

This time last year: Wednesday, May 27, 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.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020:

  • Election changes:
    • The Texas 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.