Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #259: June 3, 2021

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

  • A COVID-19 vaccine initiative in Colorado
  • A bill to prohibit proof of vaccination requirements in Michigan
  • Vaccine distribution
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Travel restrictions
  • Federal responses 
  • 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.

Since our last edition

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

Colorado (Democratic trifecta): On June 2, Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced an incentive program for Colorado vaccine recipients between the ages of 12 and 17. Each week, for five weeks, five eligible individuals who receive a vaccine will be randomly selected to win $50,000 towards the postsecondary education of their choice.

Illinois (Democratic trifecta): On June 2, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed a law allowing businesses that serve alcohol to provide a free drink to patrons with proof of vaccination. The law also extends pickup and delivery allowances for businesses selling cocktails.

Michigan (divided government): On Wednesday, June 2, the Michigan House of Representatives voted 62-47 to pass a bill that prohibits state agencies and state-funded entities—including universities—from requiring people to show proof of vaccination to receive services. Four Democrats joined with all Republicans to pass the bill, which now goes to the Senate. 

New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): On June 2, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced the state would be shutting down its mass vaccination sites between June 18 and July 23. The approximately 1,800 community vaccination sites in New Jersey will continue to operate. Closure date details can be found here.

New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): On June 2, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced all counties in the state were at the least restrictive, “Turquoise,” COVID-19 regulation level. This lets counties allow higher maximum capacities in certain businesses and higher gathering limits.

Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): On June 2, Gov. Dan McKee (D) announced the state would be hosting its first public drive-through vaccination clinic. The clinic will provide Pfizer vaccines to individuals age 12 or older on Saturday, June 5, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Fidelity Investments parking garage located at 100 Salem Street in Smithfield.

Vaccine distribution

We last looked at vaccine distribution in the June 1 edition of the newsletter. As of June 2, the states with the highest vaccination rates as a percentage of total population (including children) were:

The states with the lowest rates were:

School closures and reopenings

Read more: School responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during the 2020-2021 academic year

We last looked at school closures and reopenings on May 27. Since then, no states changed school reopening guidelines.


  • Two states (Del., Hawaii) and Washington, D.C. had state-ordered regional school closures, required closures for certain grade levels, or allowed hybrid instruction only.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 403,664 students (0.80% of students nationwide)
  • Thirteen states had state-ordered in-person instruction.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 15,432,755 students (30.51% of students nationwide)
  • One state (Ariz.) had state-ordered in-person instruction for certain grades.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 1,123,137 students (2.22% of students nationwide)
  • Thirty-four states left decisions to schools or districts.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 33,628,303 students (66.48% of students nationwide)

Travel restrictions

Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020


  • Since the start of the pandemic, governors or state agencies in 27 states and the District of Columbia issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 24 of those orders have been rescinded. 
    • Since May 27, no states have ended or modified their travel restrictions.  

Federal responses

Read more: Political responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • On June 2, President Joe Biden (D) declared June a “National Month of Action,” part of an effort to reach his goal of having 70% of U.S. adults vaccinated by July 4. Biden pointed to a range of private company vaccination incentives, including free beer from Anheuser-Busch and free flights from United Airlines.
  • On May 26, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved the Celebrity Edge to be the first cruise ship in the United States to operate with paying customers since March 2020. The Celebrity Cruises ship will set sail from Florida on June 26 with a fully vaccinated crew. Guests over the age of 16 will be required to have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

This time last year: Thursday, June 4, 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.

Thursday, June 4, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) allowed the statewide stay-at-home order to expire. Wolf first issued the order, which applied to seven counties, on March 24. A subsequent order expanded that number to 26 counties. On April 1, the stay-at-home order applied to all 67 counties. 
  • Election changes:
    • A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit halted a district court order that all eligible Texas voters be allowed to cast absentee ballots throughout the pandemic in order to avoid transmission of COVID-19.
    • The Chancery Court for Tennessee’s Twentieth Judicial District ruled that Tennessee’s absentee voting law, which limits eligibility to those meeting certain criteria, “during the unique circumstances of the pandemic, constitutes an unreasonable burden on the fundamental right to vote guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution.” The court ordered the state to extend absentee voting eligibility to all Tennessee voters during the course of the pandemic.
    • Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed SB631 into law, permitting any registered voter to cast an absentee ballot in any 2020 election, subject to a notarization requirement.