Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. Today we look at:
- An extended mask mandate in Louisiana
- An extended pandemic sick leave program in Massachusetts
- Vaccine distribution
- School mask requirements
- State proof-of-vaccination requirements and policies
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 Tuesday? Click here.
Since our last edition
What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.
Connecticut (Democratic trifecta): On Sept. 29, Gov. Ned Lamont (D) extended the vaccination requirement deadline for state employees from Oct. 4 to Nov. 4.
Louisiana (divided government): On Sept. 28, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) extended Louisiana’s statewide public indoor mask requirement through Oct. 27.
Massachusetts (divided government): On Sept. 29, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) extended a statewide emergency COVID-19 sick leave program through April 1. The program, which Baker approved in May, allocated $75 million to assist workers dealing with the pandemic, including those forced to quarantine because of the virus.
Nebraska (Republican trifecta): On Sept. 29, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) extended an order pausing certain elective medical procedures to help hospitals manage capacity shortages.
South Carolina (Republican trifecta): On Sept. 28, U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis, who was appointed to the court by former President Barack Obama (D), ruled the state could not enforce its school mask requirement ban because it prevented students with disabilities from attending public schools.
Texas (Republican trifecta): On Sept. 28, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) extended the statewide COVID-19 disaster emergency.
We last looked at vaccine distribution in the Sept. 28 edition of the newsletter. As of Sept. 29, the states with the highest vaccination rates as a percentage of total population (including children) were:
- Vermont (Republican governor): 78%
- Massachusetts (Republican governor): 77%
- Hawaii (Democratic governor): 77%
- Connecticut (Democratic governor): 76%
- Rhode Island (Democratic governor): 75%
The states with the lowest rates were:
- Idaho (Republican governor): 47%
- West Virginia (Republican governor): 48%
- Wyoming (Republican governor): 48%
- Mississippi (Republican governor): 50%
- North Dakota (Republican governor): 51%
School mask requirements
Read more: School responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during the 2021-2022 academic year
We last looked at school mask requirements on Sept. 23. Since then, courts suspended mask requirement bans in South Carolina and Arizona, where a ban was previously set to take effect on Sept. 29. School mask requirements were extended in Massachusetts and Louisiana.
State proof-of-vaccination requirements and policies
Read more: State government policies about proof-of-vaccination (vaccine passport) requirements
State governments have enacted various rules around the use of proof-of-vaccination requirements. In some cases, states have banned state or local governments from requiring that people show proof of vaccination. Other states have assisted in the creation of digital applications—sometimes known as vaccine passports—that allow people to prove their vaccination status and, in some cases, bypass COVID-19 restrictions.
- Twenty states have passed legislation or issued orders prohibiting proof-of-vaccination requirements at some or all levels of government.
- Four states have assisted in the creation of digital vaccination status applications.
Since Sept. 23, no state has banned proof-of-vaccination requirements or rolled out a digital vaccine status application.