Author

Stephanie MacGillivary

Stephanie MacGillivary is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

New Hampshire’s stay-at-home order to expire on June 15

On June 11, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) announced that New Hampshire’s stay-at-home order will expire on June 15 at 11:59 p.m.

When the order lifts, the following businesses are permitted to reopen: amateur sports, bowling, arcades, laser tag and billiard halls, charitable gaming, gyms and fitness centers (50% capacity), libraries, motorcycle rides, museums and art galleries, outdoor attractions, outdoor race tracks, public, campground and commercial pools, road races, and tourist trains.

Low physical contact amateur sports, such as baseball and softball, are allowed to resume, and indoor recreational facilities can reopen at 50% capacity. Funeral homes may reopen and weddings may resume.

In-restaurant dining capacity can rise if there’s enough floor space to maintain social distancing in six counties—Belknap, Coos, Carrol, Cheshire, Sullivan, and Grafton. In-restaurant dining can resume at 50% capacity in Rockingham, Hillsborough, Merrimack and Strafford counties.

Ballotpedia is tracking how state governments plan to reopen after the coronavirus pandemic.



Hawaii governor extends travel restrictions for international and out-of-state travelers

On June 10, Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) extended the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for those traveling to Hawaii from international or out-of-state locations through the end of July. Beginning June 16, the Hawaii National Guard will check passengers’ temperatures arriving through Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. Each passenger will also need to have their travel verified and are required to sign a mandatory order for self-quarantine.

Governors or state agencies issued 21 executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors in response to the coronavirus pandemic. At least nine have been rescinded.



Florida Supreme Court extends suspension of jury trials through July 17

On June 8, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady issued an order extending the suspension of civil and criminal jury trials through July 17. Jury trials were first suspended on March 13. The court subsequently extended that order, first through April 17, then through May 29, and again through July 2.

Ballotpedia is tracking how state courts are responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide, and 16 states suspended in-person proceedings on the local level.



November 4, 1918 – “Influenza Eliminates Election Service; Calls on Telephone Are Taboo”

On November 4, 1918, The Long Beach Press published an article titled “Influenza Eliminates Election Service; Calls on Telephone Are Taboo.” The article discussed how “The Press” would not announce election returns due to restrictions placed during the influenza pandemic, a first in the paper’s history.

“The Press will not announce election results in any form tomorrow evening. Bulletins will not be posted and advices will not be disseminated by telephone. The Press office will be ‘dark’ tomorrow night, closed because of restrictions imposed on account of the influenza epidemic.

For the first time in its history The Press must forego this election service, which has always been appreciated by the public. No apologies are in order, in view of the conditions stated; but naturally it is regretted that the usual service can not be rendered this year.”

Click here to read the original article, courtesy of Newspapers.com.



Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announces stay-at-home order to end June 4

On June 3, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that he would let the state’s stay-at-home order expire on June 4 at 11:59 p.m. There are currently 10 red-phase counties under the stay-at-home order. Wolf announced on June 3 that those counties could move into the yellow-phase on June 5. When that happens, all counties in Pennsylvania will either be in the yellow-phase or green-phase of Wolf’s reopening plan.

Pennsylvania will be the 36th state to end a stay-at-home order. After it ends, stay-at-home orders will remain in seven states. Six have Democratic governors. One (New Hampshire) has a Republican governor.



Oklahoma moves into Phase 3 of reopening plan today

Oklahoma entered Phase 3 of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s (R) “Open Up and Recover Safely” plan on June 1, 2020. Church and school summer camps may open, businesses may resume unrestricted staffing at worksites with social distancing and sanitation measures, and businesses that were operating by appointment only may accept walk-ins.

Residents are encouraged to minimize time spent in crowds and vulnerable individuals are urged to continue following safer-at-home guidelines. Also under Phase 3, visits to hospitals can resume, with limitations such as one representative per patient and social distancing measures. Visits to senior care facilities are still prohibited.



Federal judge issues order regarding inmate releases at federal prison in Ohio

On May 19, U.S. District Court Judge James Gwin for the Northern District of Ohio ordered the Bureau of Prisons to expedite the release of 837 medically vulnerable inmates in Ohio’s Elkton Federal Correctional Institute through home confinement or compassionate release due to the coronavirus pandemic. In his order, the judge cited “poor progress in transferring the subclass members out of Elkton through the various means referenced in the Court’s preliminary injunction Order.” The ruling follows a class action habeas petition filed by the ACLU of Ohio and the Ohio Justice and Policy Center.

Ballotpedia is tracking how states are releasing inmates in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

So far:
• Twenty-one states have released inmates at the state level.
• Twelve states have released inmates on the local level.
• Eleven states have not released inmates due to coronavirus.
• Two states have prohibited the release of certain inmate populations.
• Four states have temporarily released certain populations of inmates.



New Mexico governor issues modified stay-at-home order, allows most retail to reopen May 16

On May 14, 2020, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced during a news conference that the state’s stay-at-home order would be extended through May 31 but most retailers and places of worship would be allowed to reopen on May 16.

That day, smaller retailers, offices, and call centers can reopen at 25 percent capacity, big box stores and larger retailers may open at 20 percent capacity, and places of worship can reopen at 10 percent capacity. Under the order, everyone in the state is required to wear face masks in public spaces.

Since May 1, the state has been in the preparation phase of the state’s reopening plan.

The new order does not apply to the northwest corner of the state where community spread is still high. Movie theaters, concert halls, in-restaurant dining, indoor malls, salons, and gyms remain closed under the order.

As of May 14, stay-at-home orders have ended in 18 states. Governors ended stay-at-home orders in 17 states—13 Republican governors and five Democratic governors. Wisconsin’s state Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Tony Evers’ (D) administration overstepped its authority in extending that state’s stay-at-home order. Of the 25 states with stay-at-home orders in place, six have Republican governors and 19 have Democratic governors.

Although the names of the orders—shelter-in-place, stay-at-home, stay home, stay safe—vary from state to state, they include at least two common elements: the closure of nonessential businesses and requesting all residents to stay home except for essential trips.



Federal Judge issues order regarding inmate releases at federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut

On May 12, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Shea for the District of Connecticut issued an order directing officials at the federal prison in Danbury to identify inmates with health conditions that make them vulnerable to the coronavirus and to provide a list to the court in about 13 days. The order follows a class action lawsuit filed by nearly 1,000 inmates who claimed that they are being confined in unconstitutionally dangerous conditions.

Judge Shea did not rule on the inmate’s request for the mass transfer of inmates to either home confinement or other institutions and the appointment of a special master to enforce social distancing measures in the institution, but did order an expedited hearing schedule for questions.

Ballotpedia is tracking how states are releasing inmates in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

So far:
• Twenty states have released inmates at the state level.
• Thirteen states have released inmates on the local level.
• Eleven states have not released inmates due to coronavirus.
• Two states have prohibited the release of certain inmate populations.
• Four states have temporarily released certain populations of inmates.



Maryland courts set tentative reopen date

On May 7, Chief Justice for the Maryland Court of Appeals Ellen Barbera announced that courts in the state could begin to reopen on June 8. Barbera told lawmakers during a Maryland State Senate hearing, per an article from, “Even if that day holds, I can assure you, this does not mean that Monday, June 8, will be business as usual for the Maryland judiciary.”

The Chief Justice said that reopening would come in phases and courthouses would require restructuring to incorporate social distancing measures. Since mid-March, when courts were first ordered closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Maryland courts have moved using remote technology, such as video or phone conferences, for some hearings.

Ballotpedia is tracking how state courts are responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

So far, 34 states suspended in-person proceedings statewide, and 16 states suspended in-person proceedings on the local level.


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