Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #262: June 8, 2021

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

  • Changes in coronavirus restrictions in Hawaii and New York
  • A law prohibiting proof-of-vaccination requirements in Texas
  • 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 yesterday? Click here.

Since our last edition

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

Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): 

  • Gov. David Ige (D) announced social gathering limits will expand to 25 people indoors and 75 outdoors when 60% of state residents are fully vaccinated. Restaurants will also be able to expand to 75% capacity.
  • Ige said all social gathering and capacity restrictions will end once 70% of state residents are fully vaccinated.

New York (Democratic trifecta): 

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced most coronavirus restrictions will end once 70% of adults 18 and older receive at least one dose of a vaccine. New York Forward guidance will be optional for businesses like restaurants, retailers, and gyms. Masks will still be required for unvaccinated residents, and restrictions will remain in place for large event venues, correctional facilities, and healthcare facilities. 
  • Cuomo also announced school districts can choose to end the indoor mask requirement. 

Texas (Republican trifecta): On Monday, June 7, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill prohibiting state and local government agencies from issuing COVID-19 documentation that could be used to verify a person’s vaccination status. The bill also prohibits government agencies and businesses from requiring proof of vaccination to receive services or enter the premises. Abbott previously issued an executive order prohibiting state agencies and businesses that receive state funding from requiring proof of vaccination. 

Washington (Democratic trifecta): On June 7, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board announced “Joints for Jabs,” an initiative to encourage adults 21 and older to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Under the initiative, adults who receive at least one dose of a vaccine are eligible to get a free marijuana joint from a state-licensed dispensary. 

Vaccine distribution

We last looked at vaccine distribution in the June 3 edition of the newsletter. As of June 7, 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 June 1, we have added no new lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked no additional court orders and/or settlements. 


  • Noem v. Haaland: On June 2, Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota rejected South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s (R) attempt to hold a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore to commemorate the Fourth of July. Lange, an appointee of President Barack Obama (D), denied Noem’s request for a preliminary injunction after the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) denied the fireworks display. The Interior Department cited the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other environmental, cultural, and safety concerns. Noem alleged DOI’s permit rejection letter was “a patchwork of vague and speculative purported concerns” that violated a memorandum of understanding between the state and the Trump administration. Noem said the 2020 fireworks display “was a rousing success, and not a single COVID-19 case was traced back to it.” Lange wrote that “under governing law, the State is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its claims and has not met the requirements” to prove DOI acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner. Noem said she would appeal the decision: “[w]e will continue fighting to once again return fireworks to Mount Rushmore.”

State mask requirements

We last looked at face coverings in the June 1 edition of the newsletter. Since then, Ohio’s statewide mask mandate ended June 2. 

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 June 1, no candidates or officeholders have been diagnosed with, died from, or quarantined because of COVID-19.

This time last year: Tuesday, June 9, 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.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) ended the state’s stay-at-home order. Murphy first issued the order on March 21. 
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Department of Defense announced it was lifting travel restrictions on installations in 38 states, Washington D.C., and five countries (Bahrain, Belgium, Germany, the U.K., and Japan). Service members could travel between those areas without needing permission. The Department maintained travel restrictions for a dozen states.