Author

Samuel Wonacott

Samuel Wonacott is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at samuel.wonacott@ballotpedia.org.

All of Virginia now operating under Phase One of reopening plan

On May 29, Northern Virginia, as well as Richmond and Accomack County, moved into Phase One of the “Forward Virginia” reopening plan, leaving no part of the state under a stay-at-home order.

The stay-at-home order ended for parts of the state on May 15, but Gov. Ralph Northam (D) delayed Northern Virginia’s entry into Phase One to give the region more time to bring down the number of COVID-19 cases. Northam also delayed the implementation of Phase One for Richmond and Accomack County after leaders requested more time to prepare for reopening.

Phase One eases restrictions on several types of businesses. Non-essential retail, for example, can reopen at 50% capacity, and restaurants and breweries with outdoor seating permits can allow 50% seating capacity outdoors. Gatherings are limited to 10 people.

Beginning May 29, face coverings are required in public indoor settings for people 10 years and older.

Stay-at-home orders have ended in 31 states. Eighteen of those states have Republican governors and 13 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order). Of the 12 states with active stay-at-home orders, one has a Republican governor and 11 have Democratic governors.



Delaware Governor will end travel restrictions June 1

On May 26, Gov. John Carney (D) announced that restrictions on travelers entering Delaware will expire on June 1, the same day the state is scheduled to begin the first phase of its reopening plan. Carney issued the restrictions, which require travelers who enter the state to self-quarantine for 14 days, on March 29 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The restrictions didn’t apply to people traveling through the state.

Carney also announced that both the ban on short-term rental units and the statewide stay-at-home order will expire June 1. Additionally, outdoor events with of up to 250 people will be permitted in special circumstances, so long as organizers submit a plan to the Delaware Division of Small Business at least seven days in advance.

Ballotpedia is tracking restrictions placed on out-of-state travelers by governors and state agencies.



Michigan legislature asks state Supreme Court to take up lawsuit challenging governor’s emergency powers

On Friday, May 22, Republicans in the Michigan Senate and House asked the Michigan Supreme Court to consider a lawsuit filed by House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R) and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) challenging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) emergency declarations issued in response to the coronavirus.

A Michigan Court of Claims Judge ruled against the legislature on Thursday, May 21, but attorneys for the House and Senate asked the state’s highest court to grant the lawsuit an “emergency-bypass review” to avoid a decision from the Court of Appeals.

Gov. Whitmer has issued emergency declarations, including the state’s stay-at-home order, under two laws, one from 1976 and one from 1945. The legislature’s lawsuit challenges the Governor’s authority to issue statewide and indefinite emergency declarations under both laws. The Court of Claims ruled that Gov. Whitmer exceeded her authority under the 1976 law but not the 1945 law, and dismissed the lawsuit.


Illinois state representative tests positive for COVID-19

Illinois state representative Edgar Gonzales Jr. (D) announced in a Facebook post on May 18 that he had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Gonzales was appointed to represent District 21 in January, 2020, to fill the vacancy left by former Rep. Celina Villanueva (D), who was appointed to the Illinois State Senate.

All Illinois legislators were tested prior to returning to work at the State Capitol. Gonzales received his positive test result two days before the General Assembly was set to reconvene. He said he was quarantining at home while he recovered.

Ballotpedia tracks politicians and government officials who have been diagnosed or tested for coronavirus, or become quarantined.

As of May 27, we have tracked:
• Six federal officials diagnosed with coronavirus, and 40 federal officials quarantined
• 32 state officials diagnosed with coronavirus, and 67 state officials quarantined



Travel restrictions on Brazil go into effect Tuesday

The White House on Sunday fast-tracked a proclamation prohibiting travelers from Brazil from entering the United States, moving the date the restrictions take effect from Thursday, May 28, to Tuesday, May 26 at midnight.

The proclamation prohibits foreign travelers who have been in Brazil in the last 14 days prior to trying to enter the United States.

The restrictions were enacted to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. According to the proclamation, signed by President Donald Trump on May 24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that “the Federative Republic of Brazil is experiencing widespread, ongoing person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2.” The ban does not apply to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents of the U.S.

The proclamation was set to remain in effect until ended by the President.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the United States has placed restrictions on travelers from a number of countries, including Mexico and Canada. Last week, the The Department of Homeland Security announced it was extending a ban on inessential travel from Canada and Mexico through June 22.

In addition to travel restrictions placed on foreign countries by the federal government, Ballotpedia is tracking restrictions placed on out-of-state travelers by governors and state agencies.



Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann tests positive for COVID-19

On May, 21, 2020, Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann announced she tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Lehrmann made the announcement on Twitter, noting that her husband had also tested positive.
Justices on the Texas Supreme Court are working remotely during the pandemic.
Lehrmann is the first statewide Texas official known to have tested positive for the virus.
Ballotpedia tracks politicians and government officials who have been diagnosed or tested for coronavirus, or become quarantined.
As of May 22, we have tracked:
• Six federal officials diagnosed with coronavirus, and 40 federal officials quarantined
• 31 state officials diagnosed with coronavirus, and 67 state officials quarantined


U.S. extends travel restrictions on Canada and Mexico through June 22

On Tuesday, May 19, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced the U.S. would extend travel restrictions in place at the Canadian and Mexican borders another 30 days to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

The restrictions, initially put in place in late March in coordination with both countries, closed the borders to nonessential travel. Essential travel, including for trade and commerce, was still allowed, but traveling for tourism or recreation was prohibited. The restrictions were first extended on April 20.

In addition to travel restrictions placed on foreign countries by the federal government, Ballotpedia is tracking restrictions placed on out-of-state travelers by governors and state agencies.

Additional Reading



Governor Mike Dunleavy (R) extends Alaska travel restrictions

On Friday, May 15, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) extended the state’s restrictions on out-of-state visitors and residents returning to Alaska through June 2. The Health Mandate requires all people entering Alaska to complete a travel declaration form and self-quarantine for 14 days.

Although the mandate does not apply to individuals working in industries that support critical infrastructure, businesses outside of Alaska whose employees enter the state to support critical infrastructure are required to submit a plan to health authorities for minimizing the spread of the coronavirus.

The travel restrictions went into effect on March 25 and were originally set to expire on April 21. On April 21, Gov. Dunleavy extended the restrictions through May 19.

Ballotpedia is tracking states that have implemented at least one travel restriction through executive orders issued by governors or state agencies. To date, 20 states have placed restrictions on out-of-state travelers.



Sen. Lamar Alexander to self-quarantine after staff member tests positive for coronavirus

On Sunday, May 10, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) announced he would self-quarantine for 14 days after a member of his staff tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Instead of returning to D.C., Alexander will work remotely from Tennessee. He chairs the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

Ballotpedia tracks politicians and government officials who have been diagnosed or tested for coronavirus, or become quarantined.

As of May 12, we have tracked:
• Six federal officials diagnosed with coronavirus, and 39 federal officials quarantined
• Thirty state officials diagnosed with coronavirus, and 67 state officials quarantined
To see a history of these announcements, click here.



Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker to self-quarantine after staff member tests positive for coronavirus

On May, 11, 2020, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced that he and members of his office would self-quarantine after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 last week. All senior members of Pritzker’s staff have tested negative for the virus. Pritzker received a test Sunday, May 10, which also came back negative.
Ballotpedia tracks politicians and government officials who have been diagnosed or tested for coronavirus, or become quarantined.
As of May 11, we have tracked:
• Six federal officials diagnosed with coronavirus, and 38 federal officials quarantined
• Thirty state officials diagnosed with coronavirus, and 67 state officials quarantined


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