Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #268: June 17, 2021

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

  • Incentives for people to get a COVID-19 vaccine in California and Maine
  • An ending COVID-19 state of emergency in Ohio
  • 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.

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): The state will shut 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.

Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, June 17, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced he would end the statewide COVID-19 state of emergency on Friday, June 18. He first declared the emergency on March 14, 2020.

Since our last edition

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

California (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced the state is partnering with Six Flags to offer 50,000 free amusement park tickets to residents who receive their first or second dose of a vaccine starting June 16. For more information and a list of all participating healthcare providers, click here.

Florida (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, June 16, the state Clemency Board pardoned all residents who were arrested or fined for violating COVID-19 restrictions around the state. The Board is composed of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), Attorney General Ashley Moody (R), Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis (R), and Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried (D). Fried was the only member of the Board to oppose pardoning COVID-19 restriction violators. 

Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced the Don’t Miss Your Shot: Vaccinationland Sweepstakes. Everyone who has received at least one dose of a vaccine by 11:59 p.m. June 30 can register to win. On July 4, the winner will receive $1 for everyone who receives at least one dose of a vaccine.

Vaccine distribution

We last looked at vaccine distribution in the June 15 edition of the newsletter. As of June 16, 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 June 10. 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 June 10, one state has changed its travel restrictions.


  • Hawaii – Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) ended the requirement that intra-island travelers submit a negative COVID-19 test through the state’s online COVID-19 portal or quarantine upon arrival. Ige also amended the state’s travel restrictions to allow travelers who have been vaccinated in Hawaii to bypass the quarantine or test requirement if they leave and then return to the state. Fully vaccinated travelers who received a vaccine outside of Hawaii must still submit a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in the state.

Federal responses

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

  • On June 17, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it would invest $3.2 billion to help develop antiviral pills for COVID-19.

This time last year: Thursday, June 18, 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 18, 2020:

  • Election changes:
    • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed AB860 into law, requiring county election officials to mail absentee/mail-in ballots to all registered voters in the Nov. 3 general election. Newsom issued an executive order with the same language on May 8, 2020.
  • Mask requirements:
    • Newsom signed an executive order requiring individuals to wear face coverings when outside the home. California was the ninth state to enact a statewide mask requirement.