Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #257: June 1, 2021

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

  • Changing coronavirus restrictions in Ohio
  • An order in Oklahoma prohibiting state agencies from requiring masks or vaccines
  • Vaccine distribution
  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies 
  • State-level mask requirements
  • Diagnosed or quarantined public officials
  • 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 Thursday? Click here.

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, June 2, most of the statewide COVID-19 restrictions will end, including restrictions on capacity limits and the mask mandate. Gov. Mike DeWine (R) made the announcement on May 12, and said he would keep in place some restrictions on nursing homes. 

Since our last edition

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

Colorado (Democratic trifecta): 

  • On May 31, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment ended its restrictions on large indoor gatherings, effective June 1. Additionally, the department updated its mask requirement policy to exempt children age 11 and under from wearing masks in certain environments. Previously, children 10 and under were exempt.
  • On May 28, Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced the state would be allocating vaccines to community organizations, including: Saunders Construction, The Fax Partnership, Concorde Career College, and Iglesia Nueva Vida.

Delaware (Democratic trifecta): On May 26, Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Collins J. Seitz announced Delaware courts would resume many in-person proceedings on June 1. The courts are requiring masks and implementing temperature screenings and COVID-19 screening questions.

Georgia (Republican trifecta): On Friday, May 28, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) issued an order eliminating remaining COVID-19 rules on restaurants, bars, conventions, childcare facilities, and live performance venues. Kemp’s order also states that schools cannot use his public health emergency declarations as justification for requiring students to wear face coverings, though his order does not prohibit schools from doing so.

Massachusetts (divided government): Effective Saturday, May 29, all COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and individuals ended, including capacity limits on events and the statewide mask mandate. On Friday, May 28, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) issued an order that will end the COVID-19 state of emergency on June 15.

Michigan (divided government): Effective June 1, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) eased some coronavirus restrictions, including all outdoor capacity limits on stadiums and venues. Restaurants and bars are also permitted to operate at 50% indoor capacity.  

New Hampshire (Republican trifecta): On Friday, May 28, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) extended the statewide coronavirus emergency an additional 14 days. 

New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): New Jersey held a vaccination program over Memorial Day weekend called Shots at the Shore that offered vaccines at various locations at Monmouth County beaches, including the Grande Arcade on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, the Gateway National Recreational Area in Sandy Hook, and the gazebo at Pier Village in Long Branch.

New York (Democratic trifecta): 

  • On Monday, May 31, the midnight curfew on indoor dining facilities and catered events ended for vaccinated and unvaccinated customers and attendees. The curfew for catered events ended May 17 for events where all attendees are fully vaccinated or provide proof of a recent negative test to event organizers, but remained in place for unvaccinated people. 
  • On May 28, 2021, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced a two-week extension of the Vax and Scratch program, which offers free scratch-off lottery tickets to first-dose recipients 18 and older. Cuomo said the grand prize would be $5 million.

Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): On Friday, May 28, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) issued an order prohibiting state agencies from requiring visitors or employees to wear masks or be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the premises. The order exempts state buildings used for medical purposes. 

Pennsylvania (divided government): Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced all mitigation measures except the mask mandate  ended May 31 at 12:01 a.m. Wolf said the mask mandate will end when 70% of residents age 18 and older are fully vaccinated. Localities will still be able to implement stricter measures.

Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Dan McKee (D) announced on May 25 that the Rhode Island State House would reopen to the public on June 1. The building will be open to visitors Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and visitors will be required to sign a log book, wear masks in public areas, and have their temperatures taken.

Vaccine distribution

We last looked at vaccine distribution in the May 27 edition of the newsletter. As of May 28, the states with the highest vaccination rates as a percentage of total population (including children) were:

The states with the lowest rates were:

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 1,804 lawsuits, in 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 541 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since May 25, we have added four lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked one additional court order. 


  • Neve v. Birkhead: On April 16, former Durham County, North Carolina, Sheriff’s Department deputy Christopher Neve sued Sheriff Clarence Birkhead, alleging Birkhead had wrongly terminated him for not being vaccinated against COVID-19. Neve filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina seeking a declaration that the department’s mandatory vaccine requirement is unconstitutional, and asking to be reinstated with back pay. Neve alleges Birkhead had denied “each employee’s statutorily guaranteed right to decide for him or herself whether to accept or refuse administration of the COVID-19 vaccines,” a violation of due process. Department representative AnnMarie Breen had no comment on the case. The case has been assigned to Judge Loretta Copeland Biggs, an appointee of President Barack Obama (D).

State mask requirements

We last looked at face coverings in the May 25 edition of the newsletter. Since then, New Jersey and Massachusetts ended their statewide mask mandates for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Additionally, we re-classified Virginia’s May 15 mask rule change and Delaware’s May 21 mask rule change as expired mask mandates.

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 thirty-three state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Eighty-six 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 43 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 May 25, no candidates or officeholders have been diagnosed with, died from, or quarantined because of COVID-19.

This time last year: Monday, June 1, and Tuesday, June 2, 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, June 1, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) ended the statewide stay-at-home order, allowing bars, restaurants, and retailers to reopen with restrictions. Whitmer first enacted the order on March 23, and extended it on April 25 and May 7.
  • Travel restrictions:
    • Delaware Gov. John Carney Jr. (D) ended the quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers.
  • Election changes:
    • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) issued an executive order extending the absentee ballot receipt deadline for the June 2, 2020, primary to 5:00 p.m. on June 9 (with a postmark deadline of June 2) in Allegheny, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties.
  • Federal government responses:
    • Energy Secretary Dan Brouilette announced the department would enter the first phase of its reopening plan June 8, allowing some mission-critical personnel to return to work at facilities in Washington and Maryland.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020:

  • No stories for Tuesday, June 2.