Looking back at government responses to the coronavirus pandemic, July 6-July 10, 2020

Although the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020, it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout the year, states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, issued mask mandates, and changed election dates.

Here are the policy changes that happened July 6-July 10, 2020. To read more of our past coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, click here

Monday, July 6, 2020

  • Travel restrictions:
    • Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady issued an order requiring travelers entering the city of Chicago from states experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases to self-quarantine for 14 days. At the time, the order applied to travelers from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
  • Election changes:
    • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed a bill extending vote-by-mail eligibility in the fall primary and general elections to all qualified voters.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • The Florida Department of Education ordered that all school boards and charter school governing boards must physically open schools for at least five days per week for all students beginning in August.
    • The Kentucky Department of Education released guidelines on reopening schools in the fall. The document, a complement to interim guidance the Kentucky Department of Public Health issued in June, did not mandate a uniform course of action for reopening schools. Instead, the document was intended as a guide for local districts. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • North Carolina Business Court Judge James L. Gale ruled that bowling alleys could reopen immediately. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) had closed them in March. Cooper filed for a stay until the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court could hear the case.
  • Travel restrictions:
    • Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that Delaware, Kansas, and Oklahoma had been added to the joint travel advisory requiring visitors from those states to quarantine for 14 days upon entering Connecticut, New York, or New Jersey. 
  • Federal government responses:
    • The federal government awarded $1.6 billion to Novavax Inc. for clinical studies of a coronavirus vaccine, and $450 million to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. to manufacture doses of an experimental treatment for COVID-19.
  • Mask requirements:
    • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) issued an executive order requiring everyone over the age of nine to wear a face covering in indoor public places when social distancing isn’t possible.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) released guidance for universities and colleges planning on reopening in the fall. The guidance called for reducing capacity in dining halls and requiring all students to receive testing at the beginning of the year. 
    • Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath released guidance for reopening schools in the fall. The guidance said parents would be able to choose between on-campus and distance learning options. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • Long Island, New York, entered Phase IV of the state’s reopening plan. 
  • Election changes:
    • Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the cancellation of the Republican Party of Texas convention. The convention had been scheduled for July 16 through July 18 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
    • The South Carolina Election Commission announced that return postage for all mailed absentee ballots in the November 3 general election would be prepaid.
    • Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves (R) signed HB1521 into law. The legislation extended the postmark deadline for absentee ballots to Nov. 3 and the receipt deadline to Nov. 10. The legislation also established that an individual under a physician-ordered quarantine, or an individual caring for a dependent under quarantine, due to COVID-19 was eligible to vote by absentee ballot.
    • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) ordered the state board of elections to send absentee/mail-in ballot request forms to all qualified voters in the Nov. 3 general election.
    • United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia Judge Eleanor L. Ross issued an order in Cooper v. Raffensperger, reducing the petition signature requirement for independent and minor-party candidates in Georgia to 70 percent of their original numbers.
  • Mask requirements: 
    • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an executive order requiring individuals to wear face masks outdoors when social distancing is not possible. 
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced Sept. 8 as a target date for reopening schools.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

  1. Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    1. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a proclamation suspending elective surgeries in hospitals in 11 of the state’s 22 trauma service areas. The proclamation was aimed at expanding hospital capacity to deal with a surge in coronavirus cases.
  2. Mask requirements: 
    1. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves issued an executive order requiring individuals in certain counties to wear face masks in public. The order applied to counties with 200 new cases in the past 14 days or with an average of 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the same period.
  3. Election changes:
    1. Texas 80th District Court Judge Larry Weiman rejected requests from both the Republican Party of Texas and Steve Hotze, a Houston Republican, to bar Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner from cancelling the state Republican party convention, originally scheduled for July 16-18.
  4. School closures and reopenings:
    1. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) announced that when K-12 schools reopen, all students, faculty, staff, and visitors would be required to wear masks in buildings and on buses.

Friday, July 10, 2020 

  1. Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    1. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced malls could reopen as part of Phase IV of the state’s reopening plan. Cuomo required malls to implement ventilation protocols with HVAC systems capable of filtering the coronavirus before they reopened. 
    2. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) ordered bars in several counties, including Washoe and Clark, to close effective 11:59 p.m. on July 10. Under the order, restaurants will not be allowed to seat parties larger than six and must close their bar areas.
  2. Mask requirements: 
    1. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) issued a statewide indoor mask mandate. The order applied to people five and older, and included public transportation in addition to places like restaurants and grocery stores. 

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