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Coronavirus weekly updates: July 2, 2020

Ballotpedia, The Encyclopedia of American Politics: Coronavirus Weekly Updates
From March 18 to June 10, Coronavirus Daily Update provided a daily summary of major changes due to the coronavirus pandemic in politics, government, and elections. Now, we cover those same stories in a weekly format sent out on Thursday afternoons.

Today, you will find updates on the following topics, with comparisons to our previous edition released on June 25:

  • Stay-at-home orders
  • Federal responses
  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies
  • Election changes
  • Ballot measure changes
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Travel restrictions
  • State legislation
  • State legislative sessions
  • State courts
  • Prison policies
  • Eviction and foreclosure policies
  • Diagnosed or quarantined public officials

We're tracking states' reopenings — subscribe to Documenting America's Path to Recovery to learn more
For daily news on state reopening plans and which industries and activities are permitted across the country, subscribe to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery.

State stay-at-home orders

Read more: States with lockdown and stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

As of July 2, stay-at-home orders have ended in 41 states. Nineteen of those states have Republican governors and 22 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order).

The two states with active stay-at-home orders have Democratic governors. They are (with expiration date):

  • New Mexico (July 15)
  • California (no set expiration date)

Details:

  • New Mexico – On July 1, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office announced the health order was extended on June 30 through July 15. The order was initially set to expire on June 30

1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

Read more: 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

The United States held midterm elections as scheduled during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. More than 50 million people perished from the disease worldwide, including about 675,000 in the U.S., making it one of the deadliest pandemics in recorded history. Each week, we’ll look back at a story from the 1918 elections to see how America met the challenges of holding elections during a national health emergency.

On Nov. 5, 1918, the Toledo News – Bee reported that while orders closing businesses were beginning to lift, saloons and entertainment would remain closed on Election Day.  Officials believed lack of crowding on election night would slow the spread of the influenza.

“The gradual abatement of the flu and the gradual resumption of business thru the suspension of the influenza quarantine are moving along together…

“On Thursday the closing order is lifted from everything except schools, which open Monday morning, and except for ‘airing’ houses for movies and theaters some time between shows.

“The order of Mayor [Cornell] Schreiber and Health Commissioner Waggoner, to close all eating places between 8 and 11 on Tuesday night will be obeyed generally.

“There will be no places of amusement or entertainment open, and consequently no great reason for election night crowds, officials say, a fact which they believe will give further aid to the elimination of the flu through nonassemblage.”

Click here to read the original article, courtesy of the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing’s Influenza Encyclopedia.

Federal responses

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

  • On July 1, the U.S. Department of the Interior released public health guidance for the Independence Day celebrations on the National Mall on July 4. The Department recommends people who are not members of the same household keep six feet apart and asks people to wear masks. The Department is providing 300,000 cloth masks at the event.
  • On June 30, the Treasury Department and the IRS announced that the tax deadline would not be extended beyond July 15. The deadline was postponed from April 15 to July 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • On June 29, the Defense Department announced it had lifted travel restrictions on military installations in ten more states, allowing service members to resume recreational travel and change-of-station moves. Restrictions were also lifted on troops in Guam, Puerto Rico, and South Korea.

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 320 lawsuits, across 45 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 121 of those lawsuits.
    • Since June 25, we have added 42 lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional 28 court orders and/or settlements.
  • Ballotpedia has separately followed another 119 lawsuits, in 36 states, dealing with election issues during the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 59 of those lawsuits.

Here are three recently tracked lawsuits that have either garnered significant national media attention or involve major advocacy groups.

  • Flores v. Barr: On June 26, Judge Dolly Gee of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to transfer migrant children held at ICE Family Residential Centers (FRCs) to their families or sponsors by July 17. The order is the result of a complaint filed on March 26, in which plaintiffs, representing detained minors in a longstanding class action, alleged that continued detention of the minors “in congregate detention facilities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and public health national emergency” violated the Flores settlement. The Flores settlement is a 1997 court-supervised stipulated settlement agreement which governs the detention conditions and treatment of noncitizen migrant children held in federal custody. Gee’s order is limited to minors held at FRCs for more than 20 days. It provides that removal “shall be undertaken with all deliberate speed.” The order goes on to state that before removal, “ICE shall urgently enforce its existing COVID-19 protocols,” including social distancing, masking, and enhanced testing at all detention centers. On April 24, Gee ordered the federal government to “continue to make every effort to promptly and safely release” the minors, an order ICE appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on June 23. Gee was appointed to the court by President Barack Obama (D).
  • In re: American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations: On June 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied an emergency petition filed by the AFL-CIO. The labor union had sought a court order (a writ of mandamus) to compel the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard for Infectious Diseases (ETS) to protect working people from occupational exposure to COVID-19. On March 6, the union petitioned Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia to issue the ETS, but Scalia did not act on the petition, prompting the AFL-CIO to take the matter before the D.C. Circuit. The union cited a federal law requiring the issuance of an ETS when “employees are exposed to grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or from new hazards.” The D.C. Circuit refused to compel action, saying OSHA is “entitled to considerable deference” and the agency had “reasonably determined that an ETS is not necessary at this time.” Judges Karen Henderson, an appointee of George H.W. Bush (R), Robert Wilkins, an appointee of Barack Obama (D), and Neomi Rao, an appointee of Donald J. Trump (R), made the per curiam decision. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued a statement the day of the decision, saying, “the court’s action today fell woefully short of fulfilling its duty to ensure that the Occupational Safety and Health Act is enforced.”
  • League of Independent Fitness Facilities and Trainers, Inc. v. Whitmer: On June 24, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted an emergency stay in favor of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), barring indoor gyms from reopening due to continued risks associated with COVID-19. Whitmer had appealed Judge Paul Maloney’s June 19 preliminary injunction, which barred enforcement of Executive Order 2020-110, Section 12(b). The executive order closed “indoor gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, sports facilities, exercise facilities, exercise studios, and the like” in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. While Maloney prevented the order from taking effect, saying  Whitmer had offered “nothing in support of the restriction” nor “any set of facts on which the gym restriction has a rational relation to public health.” The Sixth Circuit ruled Whitmer used “rational speculation” that “heavy breathing and sweating in an enclosed space containing many shared surfaces creates conditions likely to spread the virus.” The Sixth Circuit found that the “public interest weighs in favor of a stay” of Maloney’s injunction. The unanimous three-judge panel, comprised Judges Julia Gibbons and Deborah Cook, both appointed by George W. Bush (R), and Chad Readler, who was appointed by Donald Trump (R). Following the Sixth Circuit’s ruling, Whitmer’s office said: “In the fight against a global pandemic, courts must give governors broad latitude to make quick, difficult decisions.” An attorney for the plaintiffs said they were exploring their options regarding an appeal.

Election changes

Read more: Changes to election dates, procedures, and administration in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Twenty states have postponed state-level primary or special elections.
    • No new states have postponed elections since June 25.
  • Eighteen states have modified their candidate filing requirements.
    • No new states have made modifications since June 25.
  • Thirty-six states have made modifications to their voting procedures.
    • One new state has made modifications since June 25.
  • Political parties in 19 states have made modifications to party events on a statewide basis.
    • No state parties have made modifications to party events since June 25.

Details:

  • New Mexico – On June 26, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed SB4 into law, authorizing county clerks to automatically mail absentee ballot applications to registered, mailable voters in the Nov. 3 general election.
  • Texas – On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to reinstate a district court order that had expanded absentee voting eligibility in Texas. An appeals court stayed the district court’s order, a decision that was allowed to stand as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision not to intervene.

Ballot measure changes

Read more: Changes to ballot measure campaigns, procedures, and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • At least 15 lawsuits were filed in 12 states seeking court orders suspending or changing signature requirements and deadlines.
  • Rulings or settlements have been issued in 14 cases.
    • Last week, at least one appeal was filed, and two rulings were issued in cases previously appealed.
  • Ballotpedia has tracked 25 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  • Seven states and D.C. changed ballot measure procedures through executive orders or legislative action.
  • At least three initiative campaigns initially targeting 2020 reported they would shift their focus to 2022.

Details:

School closures

Read more: School closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • In March and April, 48 states closed schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. Those states accounted for 99.4% of the nation’s 50.6 million public school students. Montana and Wyoming did not require in-person instruction for the year. Montana schools were allowed to reopen on May 7 and Wyoming schools were allowed to reopen on May 15.
  • Seven states (Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Wyoming) have reopened their campuses for students and staff.
    • Two new states have reopened campuses since June 25.
  • Ten states have released reopening guidance and also announced a scheduled reopening.
    • Five new states have done so since June 25.
  • Three states have announced schools will reopen in the fall but have not released reopening guidance.
    • One new state has made a reopening announcement since June 25.
  • Officials in 13 other states have released guidance for reopening schools to in-person instruction, but have not indicated when or whether they plan to do so.

The map below details states that have released guidance for school reopenings, announced the future reopening of schools to in-person instruction, or have allowed schools to reopen to in-person instruction. States are categorized in the following manner.

  • No announcements – Ballotpedia has not identified a key state official that has made an announcement about reopening schools or released reopening guidance.
  • Reopening guidance released – A key state official has released reopening guidance for schools but not made a statement on when schools would reopen.
  • Reopening announcement made – A key state official has announced when schools would reopen but there had not been any reopening guidance released.
  • Guidance and announcement – Reopening guidance for schools has been released and a key government official has announced when schools would reopen.
  • Schools allowed to reopen – Schools in the state are currently allowed to reopen.
  • Local decision – State officials are delegating reopening decisions to local officials.

Details:

  • Alabama – On June 26, Superintendent of Education Eric Mackey released reopening guidance for schools. The guidance allows local school officials to determine face-covering requirements and physical distancing protocols.
  • Connecticut – On June 25, Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona said his department was proposing all schools reopen to students in the fall.
  • Hawaii – The Department of Education announced public schools would begin reopening starting Aug. 4.
  • Indiana – Schools in the state were allowed to reopen beginning July 1. The reopening was announced on June 5.
  • Iowa – The Iowa Department of Education announced schools would be allowed to reopen beginning July 1. Officials announced there would be no requirement for students or staff to wear face coverings, undergo health checks, or social distance.
  • Michigan – On June 30, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) released the “MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap,” a set of guidelines local districts can use to draft their own reopening plans for the fall. The guidelines, which include both requirements and recommendations, are tiered to the phases in the state’s broader reopening plan. The state is currently in Phase 4 of its reopening plan. Full details on requirements and recommendations by reopening phase can be accessed here.
  • New Jersey – On June 26, the New Jersey Department of Education released a 104-page reopening plan that includes social distancing guidelines and a face-covering requirement for teachers and staff. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said schools would reopen to in-person instruction this fall.
  • Ohio – On July 2, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) released guidelines for reopening schools in the state. The guidelines include a requirement that all staff wear masks and a recommendation that students in third grade or higher wear masks.
  • Utah – On June 29, Gov. Gary Herbert (R) approved a Utah State Board of Education plan for reopening schools in the fall. The Board is requiring all public schools to create and post a reopening plan online by August 1.
  • Wyoming – On July 1, the Wyoming Department of Education released guidance for reopening schools in the state. The state’s 48 school districts are responsible for developing reopening plans in accordance with the guidance and submitting those plans for state approval. Each plan must account for three scenarios: traditional learning, hybrid learning (a mix of in-person and distance learning), and distance-only learning. Schools were allowed to reopen facilities on May 15.

Travel restrictions

Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Governors or state agencies in 24 states issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 12 of those orders have been rescinded.
    • Since June 25, no new states have implemented travel restrictions.  Eight states altered their existing travel restrictions.

Details:

  • Kansas – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment updated its travel-related quarantine guidelines to include South Carolina and Florida. Travelers to Kansas, as well as Kansas residents who have recently traveled to South Carolina and Florida will need to self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York – Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that eight more states had been added to a joint travel advisory requiring out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days. The governors announced the travel advisory June 24 and originally included Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. The list was expanded to include California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, and Tennessee.
  • Maine – Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced she was lifting the quarantine requirement on travelers from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Restrictions remain in place for travelers from Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
  • Massachusetts – Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that visitors to Massachusetts from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, and New Jersey will no longer need to self-quarantine for 14 days. The advisory to self-quarantine remains in effect for visitors from other parts of the country.
  • Rhode Island – Out-of-state visitors and Rhode Island residents traveling to Rhode Island from parts of the country with a positive coronavirus test rate of 5% or higher will need to provide a negative test result or quarantine for 14 days.
  • Vermont – Beginning July 1, out-of-state visitors arriving from low-risk counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, and West Virginia in a personal vehicle will no longer need to quarantine for 14-days after arriving in Vermont. Vermont residents who visit those counties and then return home will also no longer need to quarantine.

State legislation

Read more: Changes to state legislative session dates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Seven state legislatures have suspended their sessions. Six of those have since reconvened.
    • Four legislatures that had suspended their sessions have adjourned since June 25.
  • Thirty-seven legislatures have either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
    • Four legislatures have adjourned since June 25.
  • Five state legislatures are in regular session.
  • One state legislature is in special session.

Details:

  • Delaware – The Delaware legislature adjourned on June 30.
  • Georgia – The Georgia legislature adjourned on June 26.
  • Louisiana – The Louisiana legislature adjourned on June 30.
  • New Hampshire – The New Hampshire legislature adjourned on June 30.

State court changes

Read more: State court closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide.
    • Since June 25, one court has extended restrictions on in-person proceedings and the suspension of jury trials.
  • 16 states suspended in-person proceedings at the local level

Details:

  • Texas – The Texas Supreme Court extended the prohibition on jury trials through Sept. 1. The Southern District of Texas courthouse and the federal courthouse in Galveston County closed on Friday, June 26 through July 10. The Laredo Division of the Southern District of Texas extended an order that closed the courthouse to the public through Aug. 3.

Prison inmate responses

Read more: State and local governments that released prison inmates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Twenty-one states have released inmates at the state level.
    • No states have released inmates at the state level since June 25.
  • 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.

Details:

  • California – On June 29, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that officials had identified 3,500 inmates who could potentially be released from prison. The inmates meet the same criteria as 3,500 other inmates released earlier this year. Each is within 150 days of release and considered medically vulnerable to coronavirus.

Eviction and foreclosure policies

Read more: Changes to rent, mortgage, eviction, and foreclosure policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Twenty-six states have current moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
    • New Hampshire ended one moratorium on evictions.
  • Sixteen states have ended moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • California has current local moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • Seven states did not issue a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures on the state or local level.

Details:

  • California – Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) extended an authorization allowing local governments to stop evictions through Sept. 30.
  • Florida – Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) extended a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through Aug. 1.
  • Nevada – Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed an order that allows residential summary evictions to resume for actions that do not include the non-payment of rent, including violations of controlled substance laws and nuisance, on July 1. Evictions for non-payment of rent will resume Sept. 1. The order allows landlords and lenders to begin eviction actions on commercial tenancies and mortgages beginning July 1.
  • New Hampshire – Gov. Chris Sununu’s (R) moratorium on evictions ended July 1. Sununu said he would use CARES Act funds to help people who were struggling to pay rent or make payments on a mortgage.
  • Oregon – The Oregon Legislature voted to extend the state’s moratorium on commercial and residential evictions Sept. 30. The bill also gives renters until March 31, 2021, to pay back nonpayment balances. Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed the bill on June 30.

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia

Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • Federal
    • Seven members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty federal officials quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Four state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • Forty-three state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Seventy-four state-level incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least two local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 16 local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 26 local incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Since June 25, two state politicians have tested positive for coronavirus.

Details:

  • Florida State Rep. Shevrin Jones (D), who represents District 101, announced on June 30 that he tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Oklahoma State Rep. Cynthia Roe (R), who represents District 42, announced on June 26 that she had tested positive for COVID-19.

Learn more



RNC outraises DNC by two-to-one, Democratic Hill committees outraise Republican counterparts

The Republican National Committee (RNC) outraised the Democratic National Committee (DNC) by more than two-to-one last month, according to June 2020 campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission June 20. This was the second month in a row in which the RNC outraised the DNC.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raised $11.2 million and spent $7.7 million last month, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raised $10.1 million and spent $7.9 million. So far in the 2020 cycle, the NRSC has raised 7.0% more than the DSCC ($119.6 million to $111.5 million). The NRSC’s 7.0% fundraising advantage is down from 8.8% in May and matches its 7.0% advantage in April.

On the House side, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $10.9 million and spent $7.1 million, while the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $10.6 million and spent $7.7 million. So far in the cycle, the DCCC has raised 26.2% more than the NRCC ($190.7 million to $146.5 million). The DCCC’s 26.2% fundraising advantage is down from 27.8% in May and 30.0% in April.

At this point in the 2018 campaign cycle, Democrats led in both Senate and House fundraising, although their advantage in the House was smaller than in this cycle. The DSCC had raised 15.9% more than the NRSC ($81.3 million to $69.3 million), while the DCCC had raised 24.6% more than the NRCC ($162.2 million to $126.7 million).

Last month, the RNC raised $27.2 million and spent $22.0 million to the DNC’s $11.7 million in fundraising and $12.4 million in spending. So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC has raised 72.9% more than the DNC ($372.9 million to $173.7 million). The RNC’s 72.9% fundraising advantage is up from 72.4% in May, but down from 73.9% in April.

At this point in the 2016 campaign cycle (the most recent presidential cycle), the RNC had a smaller 40.4% fundraising advantage over the DNC ($163.4 million to $108.5 million).

So far in the 2020 cycle, the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC have raised 29.3% more than the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC ($639.0 million to $475.9 million). The Republican fundraising advantage is up from 28.9% in May and 28.4% in April.

Additional reading:



Coronavirus Weekly Update: June 25th, 2020

Since March 18, 2020, Coronavirus Daily Update provided a daily summary of major changes due to the coronavirus pandemic in politics, government, and elections. Now, we cover those same stories in a weekly format sent out on Thursday afternoons.

Today, you will find updates on the following topics, with comparisons to our previous edition released on June 18:

  • Stay-at-home orders
  • Federal responses
  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies
  • Election changes
  • Ballot measure changes
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Travel restrictions
  • State legislation
  • State legislative sessions
  • State courts
  • Prison policies
  • Eviction and foreclosure policies
  • Diagnosed or quarantined public officials


For daily news on state reopening plans and which industries and activities are permitted across the country, subscribe to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery.

State stay-at-home orders

Read more: States with lockdown and stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

As of June 25, stay-at-home orders have ended in 39 states. Nineteen of those states have Republican governors and 20 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order).

The four states with active stay-at-home orders have Democratic governors. They are (with expiration date):

  • New York (June 27)
  • New Mexico (June 30)
  • California (no set expiration date)
  • Kentucky (no set expiration date)

The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic

Read more: 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

The United States held midterm elections as scheduled during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. More than 50 million people perished from the disease worldwide, including about 675,000 in the U.S., making it one of the deadliest pandemics in recorded history. Each week, we’ll look back at a story from the 1918 elections to see how America met the challenges of holding elections during a national health emergency.

On Nov. 4, 1918, the Oakland Enquirer reported that health officials assured voters in Oakland, California that voting would be safe, so long as masks were worn:

“The fear that danger lurks in visiting the polls and exercising the right of franchise has been dissipated. [H]ealth authorities have assured the public that as long as masks are worn, and this precaution being compulsory, is certain to be observed, there is perfect safety in going to the various polling booths and carrying on the election tomorrow.” 

Click here to read the original article, courtesy of the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing’s Influenza Encyclopedia.

Federal responses

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

  • On June 24, The Department of Health and Human Services announced it was ending support for 13 federally-managed coronavirus testing sites, and encouraging states to take them over. Five states, including Texas, have drive-in sites.
  • On June 22, President Donald Trump (R), citing economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, signed a proclamation restricting the issuance of some visas that permit immigrants to work in the United States. Visas affected include L-1s, H-1Bs, H-4s, H-2Bs, and J-1s. The restrictions take effect on June 24 and expire on Dec. 31.
  • On June 19, the Department of Defense lifted travel restrictions on additional installations in 46 states and eight host nations, allowing military and civilian personnel to travel to those locations.

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 278 lawsuits in 45 states dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 93 of those lawsuits.
    • Since June 18, we have added an additional 49 lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional 21 court orders and/or settlements.
  • Ballotpedia has separately followed another 116 lawsuits, in 36 states, dealing with election issues during the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 55 of those lawsuits.

Here are 3 lawsuits that have garnered either significant national media attention or involve major advocacy groups:

  • Auracle Homes, LLC v. Lamont: On June 16, a group of eight Connecticut landlords sued Gov. Ned Lamont (D) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, seeking to block two executive orders issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Order 7G, issued on March 19, suspends non-critical court operations. Executive Order 7X, issued on April 10, prohibits landlords from initiating new evictions through July 1, provides an automatic 60-day grace period for April rent, and a 60-day grace period for May rent upon request. It also mandates landlords allow tenants who paid a security deposit in excess of one month’s rent be allowed to use that excess amount toward April, May, or June rent. Attorneys for the landlords argue these orders “illegally deprived them of their constitutional right to private contract, right to due process of law, right to equal protection under the law, and right against having their property taken for public use without just compensation.” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong defended the executive orders, saying they “have been very clearly constitutional and fully legally justified.” The case is assigned to Judge Victor Bolden, who was appointed to the court by President Barack Obama (D).
  • R.V. v. Mnuchin: On June 19, Judge Paul Grimm of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland ruled that a group of children, who are U.S. citizens, and their parents, who are not, had standing to sue the Trump administration over the denial of benefits under the CARES Act. Plaintiffs seek to “challenge the allegedly intentional and discriminatory denial to U.S. citizen children of the benefits of emergency cash assistance distributed … in response to the COVID-19 pandemic solely because one or both of a child’s parents are undocumented immigrants.” Grimm dismissed the government’s argument that, because the children would not directly receive the benefits, the plaintiffs lacked standing to file suit. Instead, Grimm found that each child should be construed as a “qualifying child” under the CARES Act and, “but for the discrimination against them based on their parents’ alienage,” would “have the opportunity to benefit from the economic impact payments.” As such, Grimm found that the court has proper subject-matter jurisdiction over the plaintiffs’ claims, the plaintiffs have standing to sue, and the plaintiffs have adequately alleged an equal protection claim. The government was given until July 10 to file an answer to the plaintiffs’ complaint. Grimm was appointed to the court by President Obama.
  • Pletcher v. Giant Eagle, Inc.: On May 26, the first of 35 lawsuits challenging supermarket chain Giant Eagle’s mandatory face mask policy was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The lawsuits, which Judge Nora Barry Fischer, a George W. Bush (R) appointee, has combined, accuse Giant Eagle of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Pennsylvania Human Relations Act by requiring all customers to wear face coverings while inside stores. The chain instituted the policy to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. But plaintiffs allege their physical and/or mental impairments, including respiratory diseases, anxiety disorders, and past traumas, prohibit their ability to wear face coverings while shopping inside. They argue that barring entry into stores for failure to wear a mask violates the ADA because the law “expressly prohibits, among other things, discrimination on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of . . . services [and] public accommodation.” The plaintiffs also allege Giant Eagle has misinterpreted a state order mandating that businesses require face coverings except where customers “cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition.” Giant Eagle representative Dick Roberts said the “lawsuits have no merit,” and noted the chain offers curbside and delivery service.

Election changes

Read more: Changes to election dates, procedures, and administration in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Twenty states have postponed state-level primary or special elections.
    • No new states have postponed elections since June 18.
  • Eighteen states have modified their candidate filing requirements.
    • One new state has made modifications since June 18.
  • Thirty-five states have made modifications to their voting procedures.
    • No new states have made modifications since June 18.
  • Political parties in 19 states have made modifications to party events on a statewide basis.
    • No state parties have made modifications to party events since June 18.

Details:

  • Maryland – On June 19, the Maryland State Board of Elections and the Green Party of Maryland reached a settlement in Maryland Green Party v. Hogan. Under the terms of the settlement, the petition signature requirement for obtaining party status for the Green and Libertarian parties was reduced from 10,000 to 5,000 signatures. The terms of the settlement applied only to 2020.

Ballot measure changes

Read more: Changes to ballot measure campaigns, procedures, and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • At least 15 lawsuits were filed in 12 states seeking court orders suspending or changing signature requirements and deadlines.
    • No new lawsuits have been filed since June 18.
  • Rulings or settlements have been issued in 14 cases.
    • One ruling has been issued since June 18.
  • Ballotpedia has tracked 25 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
    • Two new petition drive suspensions since June 18.
  • Seven states and D.C. changed ballot measure procedures through executive orders or legislative action.
    • No new changes have been enacted since June 18.
  • At least three initiative campaigns initially targeting 2020 reported they would shift their focus to 2022.

Details:

School closures

Read more: School closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • In March and April, 48 states closed schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. Those states accounted for 99.4% of the nation’s 50.6 million public school students. Montana and Wyoming did not require in-person instruction for the year. Montana schools were allowed to reopen on May 7 and Wyoming schools were allowed to reopen on May 15.
  • Five states (Alabama, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, and Wyoming) have reopened their campuses for students and staff.
    • No new states have reopened campuses since June 18.
  • Ten states have announced schools will reopen in the fall.
    • Three new states have made reopening announcements since June 18.
  • Officials in 13 other states have released guidance for reopening schools to in-person instructions, but have not indicated when or whether they plan to do so.
    • Three new states have released guidance for reopening schools since June 18.

Details:

  • Arkansas – On June 24, Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key released updated guidance for schools. The new guidance recommends that students older than 10 wear face coverings while riding on the bus and that younger students wear face coverings whenever practical.
  • Illinois – On June 23, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) released guidance for reopening schools. The guidance requires face coverings for all students and staff, prohibits gatherings of more than 50 people, and establishes temperature screenings and social distancing protocols.
  • Massachusetts – On June 24, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) released guidance for reopening schools. The guidance requires all staff and students in second grade or higher to wear masks, social distancing of desks in classrooms, and students to eat breakfast and lunch in their classrooms.
  • New Mexico – The Public Education department released rules and guidance for schools reopening in the fall. Public schools must begin the year using a hybrid in-person and online model with classrooms limited to 50% capacity.
  • South Carolina – On June 22, Superintendent of Education Molly Mitchell Spearman released recommendations on reopening schools in the state. The recommendations included required face coverings for all students and staff, social distancing protocols, one-way hallways, staggered arrivals and dismissals, and buses operating at 50 percent capacity.
  • Texas – On June 18, Education Commissioner Mike Morath said the state’s schools would open to students in the fall. Morath said guidance for schools would be released in the future.
  • Wisconsin – On June 22, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released reopening guidance for schools. Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor said schools would reopen to in-person instruction for the fall. The guidance outlined several scenarios for physical distancing, including four-day school weeks, a two-day rotation, an a/b week rotation, and virtual learning.

Travel restrictions

Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Governors or state agencies in 24 states issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 11 of those orders have been rescinded.
    • Since June 18, three states have implemented travel restrictions.

Details:

  • Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York – Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced on June 24 that travelers arriving in their states from states with a high infection rate must quarantine for 14 days. The infection rate is based on a seven-day rolling average of the number of infections per 100,000 residents. As of June 24, the states meeting the threshold are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.
  • Hawaii – Gov. David Ige (D) announced that beginning Aug. 1, out-of-state travelers can bypass the 14-day quarantine requirement if they can present a recent negative COVID-19 test at the airport. Travelers will be unable to get tested upon arrival and will need to quarantine for 14 days without a negative test.

State court changes

Read more: State court closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide
    • Since June 18, three courts have extended restrictions on in-person proceedings and the suspension of jury trials.
    • Two states extended the suspension of jury trials.
    • Arkansas announced it was lifting restrictions on jury trials.
    • New Jersey courts moved into a new phase of reopening
    • Florida extended the term of their COVID Workgroup
  • Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings at the local level

Details:

  • Alaska – The Alaska Supreme Court issued a statewide order on visitor health precautions for people entering court facilities.  Precautions include requiring face masks and screening visitors as they enter the facility. The court also extended jury trials through Sept. 1.
  • Arkansas – The Arkansas Supreme Court will lift the suspension of jury trials on July 1.  The order does not mandate in-person proceedings to resume, but only lifts the previous restrictions.
  • Colorado – The Colorado Supreme Court extended its suspension of jury trials through Aug. 3.
  • Florida – Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady issued an order on June 15 which extended the term of the COVID-19 Workgroup through the end of the year. The Workgroup is charged with recommending ways state courts can return to full operation following the coronavirus pandemic.
  • New Hampshire – The New Hampshire Supreme Court extended restrictions on in-person proceedings and the suspension of jury trials in the Circuit Court, Superior Court, and Supreme Court through July 6. 
  • New Jersey – On June 22, the New Jersey Judiciary moved into phase 2 of reopening.  Under that phase, 10% to 15% of judges and staff are to be onsite. Suspended jury trials, sentencings, guilty pleas, and violations of monitoring and probation for defendants in custody may resume in Phase 2. Most proceedings will continue to be held remotely.
  • Rhode Island – The Rhode Island Supreme Court extended restrictions on in-person proceedings and the suspension of jury trials through Sept. 7.
  • Wyoming – The Wyoming Supreme Court extended restrictions on in-person proceedings and the suspension of jury trials through Aug. 3.

Prison inmate responses

Read more: State and local governments that released prison inmates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Twenty-one states have released inmates at the state level.
    • No states have released inmates at the state level since June 18.
  • 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.

Eviction and foreclosure policies

Read more: Changes to rent, mortgage, eviction, and foreclosure policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Twenty-eight states have current moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
    • Since June 18, Virginia announced an end date to the state’s eviction moratorium.
    • New York ended one moratorium on evictions.
  • Fourteen states have ended moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • California has current local moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • Seven states did not issue a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures on the state or local level.

Details:

  • New York – One of the state’s moratoriums on evictions expired June 20, allowing housing courts to resume eviction proceedings. Another moratorium is set to expire in August for people unable to pay rent due to financial difficulties resulting from the coronavirus.
  • Virginia – Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Lemons issued an order on June 22 that will allow state courts to resume eviction hearings on June 29. A second order allows state courts to immediately resume eviction hearings that are unrelated to nonpayment.

State legislative responses

Read more: State laws in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • To date, 2,269 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
    • We have tracked 189 additional bills since June 18.
  • Of these, 212 significant bills have been enacted into law, about 9.3 percent of the total number that has been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.
    • We have tracked 22 additional significant bills since June 18 (also omitting ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.)

State legislative session changes

Read more: Changes to state legislative session dates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Eleven state legislatures have suspended their sessions. Ten of those have since reconvened. One (Nebraska) has not.
    • Two legislatures that had suspended their sessions have adjourned since June 18.
  • Thirty-three legislatures have either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
    • Four legislatures have adjourned regular or special sessions since June 18.
  • Five state legislatures are in regular session.
  • One state legislature (Utah) is in special session.
    • Two legislatures have adjourned special sessions since June 18.

Details:

  • Minnesota – A special session of the Minnesota Legislature adjourned on June 19.
  • New Mexico – A special session of the New Mexico Legislature adjourned on June 22.
  • Tennessee – The Tennessee Legislature adjourned on June 19.

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia

Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

We have tracked the deaths, diagnoses, and quarantines of political incumbents, candidates, and government officials resulting from COVID-19. At this time, tracked incumbents, candidates, and government officials are limited to those within Ballotpedia’s scope of coverage.

  • Federal
    • Seven members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty federal officials quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Four state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • Forty-one state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Seventy-four state-level incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least two local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 16 local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 26 local incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Since June 18, one state representative tested positive for coronavirus.

Details:

  • S.C. State Rep. and candidate for the U.S. House Nancy Mace (R) announced she tested positive for the virus on June 23.

Learn more



Coronavirus Weekly Update: June 18th, 2020

Since March 18, 2020, Coronavirus Daily Update provided a daily summary of major changes due to the coronavirus pandemic in politics, government, and elections. Now, we cover those same stories in a weekly format sent out on Thursday afternoons.

Today, you will find updates on the following topics, with comparisons to our previous edition released on June 11:

  • Stay-at-home orders
  • Federal responses
  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies
  • Election changes
  • Ballot measure changes
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Travel restrictions
  • State legislation
  • State legislative sessions
  • State courts
  • Prison policies
  • Eviction and foreclosure policies
  • Diagnosed or quarantined public officials

For daily news on state reopening plans and which industries and activities are permitted across the country, subscribe to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery.

State stay-at-home orders

Read more: States with lockdown and stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

As of June 18, stay-at-home orders have ended in 38 states. Nineteen of those states have Republican governors and 19 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order).

The five states with active stay-at-home orders have Democratic governors. They are (with expiration date):

  • New York (June 27)
  • New Mexico (June 30)
  • California (no set expiration date)
  • Kentucky (no set expiration date)
  • Oregon (no set expiration date)

Details:

  • New Hampshire – Gov Chris Sununu’s (R) stay-at-home order expired on June 15 at 11:59 p.m.

The 1918 influenza pandemic

Read more: 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

The United States held midterm elections as scheduled during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. More than 50 million people perished from the disease worldwide, including about 675,000 in the U.S., making it one of the deadliest pandemics in recorded history. Each week, we’ll look back at a story from the 1918 elections to see how America met the challenges of holding elections during a national health emergency.

An Oct. 20, 1918, a Seattle Daily Times article reported that candidates needed to find ways to reach individual people because in-person meetings had been banned. 

“The campaign that Chairman Sam Walker of the Republican state committee’s planning does not call for any public meetings. With the ban on such gatherings still on, Chairman Walker believes that there is little prospect it will be lifted before election day, November 5, a little more than two weeks distant.  So Walker will work out a new scheme to reach the voters.”

Click here to read the original article, courtesy of the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing’s Influenza Encyclopedia.

Federal responses

  • On June 16, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf announced that the U.S. would keep restrictions limiting non-essential travel to or from Mexico and Canada in place through July 21.

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 229 lawsuits, in 44 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 72 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since June 11, we added an additional 25 lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional 31 court orders and/or settlements. 
  • Ballotpedia has separately tracked another 108 lawsuits in 36 states dealing with election issues during the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 50 of those lawsuits.

Noteworthy lawsuits:

  • Don’t Shoot Portland v. Portland: On June 9, Judge Marco A. Hernandez, of the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, issued a temporary restraining order limiting the use of tear gas as a crowd control method in Portland, Oregon. The plaintiffs, a group named Don’t Shoot Portland, alleged the city had violated members’ First and Fourth Amendment rights when law enforcement officials used tear gas to disperse the group’s protest. Hernandez agreed, writing, “[Given] the effects of tear gas,” which is “specifically designed to irritate the respiratory system and to cause people to expel mucus and aspirated saliva,” a principal method of COVID-19 transmission, “Plaintiffs have established a strong likelihood that Defendant engaged in excessive force contrary to the Fourth Amendment.” Hernandez added the plaintiffs had presented “at least a serious question as to whether they have been deprived of their First Amendment rights.” Hernandez said his order did not bar the use of tear gas altogether, but instead limited use “to situations in which the lives or safety of the public or the police are at risk.” As of June 16, the city had not indicated whether it intended to appeal the decision.
  • Illinois Republican Party v. Pritzker: On June 15, the Illinois Republican Party and three local Republican groups sued Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs said their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights had been violated because, “unlike churches, political parties are barred from gathering in groups greater than 10 under the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-38.” Plaintiffs said “[w]hen the state grants access to one set of speakers, it must give equal access and treatment to all speakers of a similar character,” contrasting their treatment to both that of churches and protesters. Plaintiffs asked the court to prevent the state from enforcing Executive Order 2020-38 against political parties. Pritzker’s spokeswoman, Jordan Abudayyeh, said, “[As] the Republicans who attended protests against the public health guidance are well aware, the State has never prevented people from exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Election changes

Read more: Changes to election dates, procedures, and administration in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Twenty states have postponed state-level primary or special elections. 
    • No new states postponed elections since June 11.
  • Seventeen states have modified their candidate filing requirements. 
    • One new state made modifications since June 11.
  • Thirty-five states have made modifications to their voting procedures. 
    • Six new states made modifications since June 11.
  • Political parties in 19 states have made modifications to party events on a statewide basis.
    • No state parties made modifications since June 11.

Details:

  • Alabama – Judge Abdul Kallon, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, issued a preliminary injunction barring election officials from enforcing witness and photo ID requirements for select voters casting absentee ballots in the July 14 runoff elections.
  • Illinois – Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed SB 863 and HB2238 into law, requiring local election officials to deliver vote-by-mail applications to all general election voters who cast ballots in the 2018 general election, the 2019 consolidated election, or the 2020 primary election. 
  • Louisiana – Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed HB751 into law, extending the candidate qualifying deadline for the Nov. 3 election to July 24.
  • Minnesota – As the result of a lawsuit settlement, the absentee ballot postmark deadline in Minnesota for the Aug. 11 primary election was extended to Aug. 11. The receipt deadline for absentee ballots was extended to Aug. 13. The witness requirement for absentee ballots was also suspended.
  • Missouri – Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed SB631 into law, permitting any registered voter to cast an absentee ballot in any 2020 election, subject to a notarization requirement.
  • New York – Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed into law a bill extending the submission deadline for absentee ballots in the June 23 election to June 23.
  • North Carolina – Gov. Roy Cooper (D) signed HB1169 into law, reducing the witness signature requirement on completed absentee ballots from two to one.

Other news: 

  • California – California Judge Perry Parker, of the Sutter County Superior Court, issued a temporary restraining order suspending Executive Order N-67-20, which had authorized counties to consolidate polling places in the Nov. 3 general election, provided they offer three days of early voting.

Ballot measure changes

Read more: Changes to ballot measure campaigns, procedures, and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • At least 15 lawsuits were filed in 12 states seeking court orders suspending or changing signature requirements and deadlines. 
    • No new lawsuits have been filed since June 12.
  • Rulings or settlements have been issued in 13 cases. 
    • One ruling has been issued since June 12.
  • Ballotpedia has tracked 23 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering. 
    • No new petition drives were suspended since June 12.
  • Seven states and D.C. changed ballot measure procedures through executive orders or legislative action. 
    • No new changes have been enacted since June 12.
  • At least two initiative campaigns reported they had enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, but are delaying submitting those signatures in order to appear on their state’s 2022 ballot.

Details:

School closures and reopenings

Read more: School closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • In March and April, 48 states closed schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. Those states accounted for 99.4% of the nation’s 50.6 million public school students. Montana and Wyoming did not require in-person instruction for the year. Montana schools were allowed to reopen on May 7 and Wyoming schools were allowed to reopen on May 15.
  • Five states (Alabama, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, and Wyoming) have reopened their campuses for students and staff. 
  • Seven states have announced schools will reopen in the fall. 
  • Officials in 10 other states have released guidance for reopening schools to in-person instructions, but have not indicated when or whether they plan to do so.

Details:

  • Connecticut – On June 11, Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said he expected schools to reopen for classes in the fall.
  • Vermont – On June 17, the Vermont Agency of Education released a 25-page guidance document for reopening schools. The guidance includes health checks on entry, staggered drop-off and pickup times, and hand sanitizing stations at entrances.
  • Washington – On June 11, Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal released guidance for reopening schools. The guidelines require face coverings for all students and staff and the development of alternate instruction plans for each school. Reykdal said that his expectation was for schools to reopen to in-person instruction in the fall.

Travel restrictions

Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Governors or state agencies in 21 states issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 11 of those orders have been rescinded. 
    • Since June 11, one travel restriction has expired. 

Details:

  • Arkansas – The 14-day quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers expired on June 14.
  • Hawaii – Self-quarantine requirements were lifted for inter-island travelers on June 16. Travelers need to fill out a mandatory Travel and Health Form. The quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers remains.  
  • Oklahoma – There is no longer a quarantine requirement in place for out-of-state travelers. On March 29, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) issued the sixth amendment to Executive Order 2020-07 which required people entering Oklahoma from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Louisiana, and Washington to self-quarantine for two weeks. The quarantine requirement was written into six subsequent executive orders but was last mentioned in the Fifth Amended Executive Order 2020-13, issued April 30. 

State legislative responses

Read more: State laws in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • To date, 2,080 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
  • Of these, 190 significant bills have been enacted into law, about 9 percent of the total number introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business. 

State legislative session changes

Read more: Changes to state legislative session dates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Thirteen state legislatures have suspended their sessions. Twelve of those have since reconvened. One (Nebraska) has not. 
  • Twenty-nine legislatures have either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.  
  • Five state legislatures are in regular session. 
  • Three state legislatures are in special session. 

Details:

  • Colorado – The Colorado Legislature adjourned on June 15. 
  • Iowa – The Iowa Legislature adjourned on June 14. 
  • Minnesota – The Minnesota Legislature convened a special session on June 12. 
  • New Mexico – The New Mexico Legislature convened in special session on June 18.
  • Utah – The Utah legislature convened in special session on June 18. 

State court changes

Read more: State court closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • In-person proceedings were suspended in 34 states.

    • Since June 11, two state supreme courts announced that state courts could resume more operations.
    • Since June 11, Three states allowed courts to move into a new phase of reopening. 
    • Since June 11, one state extended its judicial emergency.
  • Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings at the local level.

Details:

  • California – Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Kevin Brazile issued an order allowing some court operations to resume on June 22. That day, mental health courtrooms, juvenile dependency courtrooms, juvenile delinquency courtrooms, and complex personal and civil injury courtrooms may resume full operations. Probate courtrooms, civil courtrooms (except for small claims and collections), and family law can begin phased reopening on June 22. On June 25, the Appellate Division will resume full operations and arguments. Unlawful Detainer courtrooms can resume law and motion and ex-parte applications on June 29. The Criminal Division will begin a phased reopening on July 6. Nonessential court business remains closed through July 9. 
  • Georgia – Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton issued an order extending the state’s judicial emergency through July 12. Melton laid out a plan to reimpose deadlines, time schedules, and filing requirements imposed on litigants by statute, rules, and regulations beginning July 14. Melton also encouraged courts to continue using and increasing the use of technology to conduct remote proceedings. The order authorizes courts to use their discretion to hold in-person proceedings, except petit and grand jury proceedings, if they comply with public health guidance. Jury trials and grand jury proceedings are still prohibited. 
  • Hawaii – The Hawaii Judiciary announced that state district courts on Oahu would reopen for court business, including proceedings and business with the Traffic Violations Bureau and the Legal Documents Branch, on June 15. Face masks are required for anyone entering a court facility, and courthouses have put social distancing measures in place. Those who have symptoms, have come into contact with someone with coronavirus, or who have traveled within a 14-day period will not be permitted to enter court facilities.  
  • Maine – The Maine Judicial Branch moved into Phase 2 of reopening on June 15. Under this phase, the court may begin handling more matters. Anyone entering the courthouse must wear a mask and sanitize their hands upon entrance and exit. Social distancing measures are expected to be followed, including limiting courtroom gatherings to no more than 10 people, including staff.  Phase 2 is in effect through July 2. The Judicial Branch is expected to move into Phase 3 on July 6, which will remain in effect through July 31. Under that phase, grand juries may resume. Phase 4 is expected to begin Aug. 3 and run through Sept. 4. Jury trials may resume in Phase 5, which is expected to begin on Sept. 7.
  • New Jersey – The New Jersey Supreme Court approved a post-pandemic plan that will allow state courts to move from Phase 1, in which courts remain closed to the public, to Phase 2 beginning June 22. In Phase 2, some proceedings will be able to resume in-person, including five jury trials that began before courthouses were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Under the plan, many proceedings will continue to be conducted remotely.  
  • New York – The New York Unified Court System announced that courts outside of New York City could move into Phase 2 of reopening on June 12. Under this phase, essential family matters can be conducted in-person. Nonessential proceedings, mediation and alternative dispute matters, and “criminal, juvenile delinquency and mental hygiene law proceedings pertaining to a hospitalized adult” will continue to be held virtually.  Face masks and face coverings are required. Other safety measures include social distancing and the regular sanitation of court facilities.

Prison inmate responses

Read more: State and local governments that released prison inmates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Twenty-one states have released inmates at the state level.

    • Since June 11, Oregon issued criteria for the early release of inmates on the state level.
    • Hawaii ended a program for the early release of inmates on the state-level
    • In North Carolina, a judge denied a request to release inmates on 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.
    • Since June 11, Pennsylvania temporarily released inmates on the state-level.  

Details:

  • California – The California Judicial Council voted 17-2 to rescind the coronavirus emergency bail schedule, effective June 20. The emergency bail schedule, adopted April 6, set bail at $0 for almost all misdemeanor and low-level felonies. The Judicial Council suggested courts could keep the emergency schedule or reduced bail schedules where appropriate. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 20,000 defendants accused of lower-level offenses have been released pre-trial. On June 16, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced that inmates in state prisons for nonviolent offenses with less than 180 days left on their sentences are eligible for supervised release effective July 1. 
  • Hawaii – The Hawaii State Supreme Court announced that it ended a program granting early release to inmates held in state jails implemented to slow the spread of coronavirus. The program began in early April when the state Supreme Court ordered state law enforcement authorities to quickly release as many nonviolent offenders from the state’s eight jails as possible. The court also announced it appointed a Special Master to assist prosecutors and public defenders in determining which inmates would be granted early release.  
  • North Carolina – U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan for the Eastern District of North Carolina denied a request from 11 inmates at Butner Federal Prison to compel prison officials to release medically vulnerable inmates and to institute additional safety measures. Flanagan said the plaintiffs did not prove Butner and the Bureau of Prisons treated the inmates with “deliberate indifference” in their effort to slow the spread of coronavirus in the facility. Flanagan said, “The court agrees with petitioners that the public interest is served by preventing unnecessary illness and death and slowing the spread of the virus…Respondents, however, have made reasonable efforts to achieve those goals…Particularly in the absence of substantial evidence showing respondents were deliberately indifferent to the spread of COVID-19, the record at this stage does not present ‘extraordinary circumstances’ justifying judicial intervention in the management of FCC-Butner’s response to the virus.”   
  • Oregon – Governor Kate Brown (D) provided the Oregon Department of Corrections with criteria for the agency to use in creating a list of inmates who may be eligible for early release. Criteria include medically vulnerable inmates, those not serving a sentence for crimes against another person, and those who have served half of their sentences. The Department of Corrections reported that about 100 inmates fit the criteria.  
  • Pennsylvania – Since the beginning of Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) Temporary Program to Reprieve Sentences of Incarceration, 159 inmates have been temporarily released due to the coronavirus pandemic. The program was established in April and is scheduled to end either when Wolf’s Disaster Declaration expires or he decides the coronavirus pandemic has been mitigated. When the program ends, those inmates will return to prison to finish their sentences.      

Eviction and foreclosure policies

Read more: Changes to rent, mortgage, eviction, and foreclosure policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Forty-one states have implemented policies related to evictions or foreclosures on either the state or local level.

    • Since June 11, Michigan extended their eviction moratorium.
    • New Hampshire announced an end date to eviction and foreclosure policies.
    • California delayed the decision to end the state’s eviction moratorium.
    • Massachusetts and Los Angeles, California face legal challenges to eviction and foreclosure policies implemented due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Details:

  • California – The California Judicial Council delayed its decision to end the judiciary’s moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the coronavirus pandemic. The Council was considering ending the halt on evictions and judicial foreclosures in August, ahead of its original timeline. In April, the Judicial Council voted to suspend evictions and foreclosures until 90 days after the expiration of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) state of emergency, which remains in effect. California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said, “After discussions with the Governor, legislative leaders, and Judicial Council members—as well as hearing from residents with many different viewpoints—I have suspended for the time being the vote on the emergency rules dealing with evictions and judicial foreclosures.”

    • The state’s largest landlord organization, The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, filed a federal lawsuit challenging Los Angeles’ eviction policies implemented due to the coronavirus pandemic, including a Los Angeles City Council measure which halted rent increases for more than 600,000 apartments covered by the city’s rent stabilization program. The group alleges the policies violate its 5th Amendment rights against their property being taken by the government without just compensation.
  • Massachusetts – Two landlords petitioned Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court challenging the state’s moratorium on evictions during the coronavirus pandemic. In April, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed a law that halted most nonessential housing removals through Aug. 18 or 45 days after the expiration of his state of emergency. Baker could choose to extend the moratorium for 90 days, so long as it is not more than 45 days past the expiration of the state of emergency. The plaintiffs allege the moratorium left them unable to recoup financial losses. They also alleged the law violates both Massachusetts and the U.S. Constitution as it infringes on their rights to access state courts and enforce contracts.
  • Michigan – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D)  extended the state’s eviction moratorium through June 30.  
  • New Hampshire – Gov. Chris Sununu (R) issued Emergency Order #51, which will end protections granted in Emergency Orders #4 and #24 on July 1. Executive Order #4 prohibited landlords from initiating eviction proceedings and prohibited nonjudicial and judicial foreclosures during the coronavirus pandemic. Executive Order #24 provided exceptions for landlords to begin eviction proceedings for lease or law violations, property damage caused by tenants, or substantial adverse impact on the health and safety of the other person. The order also allowed for eviction proceedings to be started in cases where a tenant abandons their rental unit or space.

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia

Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

We have tracked the deaths, diagnoses, and quarantines of political incumbents, candidates, and government officials resulting from COVID-19. At this time, tracked incumbents, candidates, and government officials are limited to those within Ballotpedia’s scope of coverage.

  • Federal

    • Seven members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty federal officials quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State

    • Four state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • Thirty-five state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Sixty-seven state-level incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local

    • At least two local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least twelve local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 23 local incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Since June 11, one member of Congress tested positive for coronavirus, and one member of Congress tested negative for coronavirus. One state-level officeholder tested positive for the virus.

Federal officeholders or candidates who tested positive for coronavirus

  • Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.)

Federal officeholders or candidates who tested negative for coronavirus

  • Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Tx.)

State officeholders or candidates who tested positive for coronavirus

  • Attorney General of Illinois Kwame Raoul (D)


Checks and Balances: June 2020

The Checks and Balances Letter delivers news and information from Ballotpedia’s Administrative State Project, including pivotal actions at the federal and state levels related to the separation of powers, due process and the rule of law.

This edition:

In this month’s edition of Checks and Balances, we review the potential implications of the coronavirus pandemic for the repeal of agency rules under the Congressional Review Act; President Donald Trump’s (R) executive order concerning procedural rights in administrative adjudication; a new quorum at the Federal Election Commission; and an order from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration that highlights the role of federal agency in preemption decisions.

At the state level, we review a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision that struck down the state’s stay-at-home order, litigation across the country challenging executive orders that limit religious gatherings in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and a lawsuit in Maine that questions whether voters can overturn state agency orders. 

We also highlight a review of administrative law scholar Richard Epstein’s new book The Dubious Morality of Modern Administrative Law as well as new findings from Ballotpedia’s survey of all 50 state constitutions and administrative procedure acts regarding the executive power to remove agency officials. As always, we wrap up with our Regulatory Tally, which features information about the 192 proposed rules and 236 final rules added to the Federal Register in May and OIRA’s regulatory review activity.

(more…)



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #34: June 12, 2020

Ballotpedia, The Encyclopedia of American Politics
Each day, we:

  • Track the status of reopening in all 50 states.

  • Compare the status of one industry or activity across the country.

  • Provide in-depth summaries of the latest reopening plans.

  • Give you the latest stories on other reopening plans and ideas.

Want to know what happened yesterday? Click here.


The next three days

What is reopening in the next three days? Which stay-at-home orders will expire? 

June 13, 2020

  • Idaho (Republican trifecta): Idaho will move into the fourth phase of reopening on June 13. Phase Four will permit all businesses to open, including nightclubs and large sporting venues. It will allow gatherings of more than 50 people. Visits to jails and nursing homes will be able to resume.

June 15, 2020

  • Arkansas (Republican trifecta): The state will enter into Phase Two of its reopening plan. Phase Two will allow open businesses with a capacity limit to increase that limit, although they will not be allowed to operate at full capacity.

  • Delaware (Democratic trifecta): The state will enter into Phase Two of its reopening plan. Restaurants, retail stores, and malls will increase in capacity from 30% to 60%. Personal care services and gyms will remain at 30% occupancy

  • Kentucky (divided government): Center-based child-care programs and day camps will be allowed to reopen on June 15, subject to capacity restrictions.

  • New Hampshire (divided government): Gov. Chris Sununu (R) announced that the state’s stay-at-home order will expire on June 15 at 11:59 p.m. This will also end the 10-person gathering size limit. Sununu said he would not set a new limit on gathering sizes. On June 15, 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 that day, 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.

  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): The state will move into Stage 2 of its reopening plan on June 15. Outdoor dining and retail can reopen at 50% capacity on June 15. Public and private pools and personal care services such as hair salons can reopen on June 22. Youth summer programs may resume on July 6. Places of worship may reopen indoor services if they comply with the state’s guidelines on mass gatherings. Gyms and fitness (limited capacity), limited in-person government services, museums, libraries, and child daycare centers may also resume in Stage Two, though no dates for reopening have been set. On June 10, Asbury Park’s City Council voted to reopen indoor dining and bars at 25% capacity or up to 50 people on June 15. Under the state reopening plan, indoor dining is not permitted until Stage 3. There is no set date for when the state will move into Stage 3. In a June 12 tweet, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said, “We’ve tried to work with the governing body of Asbury Park to resolve the issue of indoor dining. Because they haven’t done so, @NewJerseyOAG will bring a lawsuit today against the city government of Asbury Park. Our rules are based on one principle – ensuring public health.”

  • New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced that breweries could reopen for outdoor service on June 12 and indoor service at 50% capacity on June 15. Parties are limited to six people and must be spaced for social distancing. Bar and counter service remain closed.

  • Vermont (divided government): Effective June 15, out-of-state travelers to Vermont will need to complete either a 14-day quarantine or a 7-day quarantine followed by a negative COVID-19 test result.


Since our last edition

Have any states opened? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here. For our last edition, click here.

  • Georgia (Republican trifecta): Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced that spectator sports, live performance venues, and conventions could reopen beginning July 1.

  • Maryland (divided government): Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced additional reopenings as part of Phase 2 of his reopening plan. Beginning June 12 at 5:00 p.m, the following are permitted to reopen: indoor dining (50% capacity) and outdoor amusements such as go-karts and miniature golf. Beginning June 19 at 5:00 p.m., the following are permitted to reopen: indoor fitness activities (50% capacity), casinos, arcades, and malls with safety protocols. On June 10, Hogan encouraged local school systems to hold outdoor graduation ceremonies with appropriate capacity and social distancing measures.  Maryland State Superintendent Karen Salmon announced on June 10 that school systems could bring small groups of 10-15 students and staff into school buildings. Child care providers could reopen June 10 so long as they follow Maryland Department of Health protocols.

  • Missouri (Republican trifecta): Gov. Mike Parson (R) announced the state will enter the second phase of reopening starting June 16. Phase Two will completely lift statewide restrictions and health orders. Local officials will still be able to implement regulations. Parson also extended Missouri’s state of emergency through Dec. 30, 2020.

  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Five regions—North County, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, Finger Lakes, and Central New York—moved into Phase III of the state’s reopening plan on June 12. The following businesses and activities are permitted to resume: in-restaurant dining (50% capacity), and personal care services such as tattoo parlors (50% capacity).

  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On June 11, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced that Dr. Amy Acton would step down as director of the Ohio Department of Health and become DeWine’s chief health advisor. DeWine also announced best practices for places of worship, including seating families six feet apart and asking parishioners to wear masks. DeWine said they are guidelines and not mandates.

  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced she was pausing all county applications to reopen for one week due to increased numbers of coronavirus infections. The pause included Multnomah County’s application to move into Phase One.

  • Pennsylvania (divided government): Twelve more counties moved into the green phase of the state’s reopening plan. Gov. Tom Wolf (R) announced eight more yellow-phase counties would enter the green phase on June 19. The green phase allows most businesses and functions to reopen under state restrictions, including salons, barbershops, spas, casinos, theaters, malls, and gyms. It also allows gatherings of up to 250 people.

  • South Carolina (Republican trifecta): Gov. Henry McMaster (R) issued an executive order allowing bowling alleys to reopen and lifting capacity limits on retailers. The order also declared a new state of emergency.

  • Utah (Republican trifecta): Gov. Gary Herbert (R) issued an executive order moving Kane County to the green phase of the reopening plan. The green phase is the fourth phase of Utah’s reopening plan and includes the fewest restrictions on businesses and individuals. Herbert also moved the cities of Bluff and Mexican Hat to the yellow (third) phase. Salt Lake City is the last city in Utah in the orange (second) phase of reopening. On June 11, Herbert wrote on Twitter that he would be keeping most of the state in the yellow phase because of a spike in COVID-19 cases.

  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): Northern Virginia, the city of Richmond, and Accomack County entered Phase 2 of the reopening plan on June 12. All of Virginia is now in Phase 2, which permits restaurants to operate at 50% capacity and the limit on social gatherings to increase to 50. Outdoor movie theaters and performing arts venues are allowed to reopen with restrictions.

  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Jay Inslee (D) released guidance for card rooms to reopen in Phase 2 of the reopening plan. The guidance states that capacity in the card room designated area of each facility is capped at 25% or 40 individuals. Facilities must also conduct temperature checks at points of entry.


Update on stay-at-home orders

Forty-three states issued orders directing residents to stay home except for essential activities and the closure or curtailment of businesses each state deemed nonessential. Seven states did not.

As of June 12, stay-at-home orders have ended in 37 states. Eighteen of those states have Republican governors and 19 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order).

Of the six states with active stay-at-home orders, five have Democratic governors and one has a Republican governor. They are (with expiration date):

  • New Hampshire (June 15, Republican governor)

  • New York (June 27, Democratic governor)

  • New Mexico (June 30, Democratic governor)

  • California (no set expiration date, Democratic governor)

  • Kentucky (no set expiration date, Democratic governor)

  • Oregon (no set expiration date, Democratic governor)

Here’s which stay-at-home orders have expired.


Tracking industries: Tattoo parlors

All 50 states are reopening in some way. Here, we give the status of one industry or activity across the states. Many states have specifically indicated whether tattoo parlors may open, often alongside salons and barbershops. Today’s question: in which states may you get a tattoo?

Tattoo parlors are currently not allowed to reopen in California, Connecticut, Maine, and New Jersey.




This is an in-depth summary of one of the latest reopening plans. Is there a plan you’d like us to feature? Reply to this email and let us know. Click a state below to read a previous Featured Plan.


Alabama

Florida

Maryland

Nevada

Oklahoma

Vermont

Arizona

Georgia

Massachusetts

New Hampshire

Oregon

Virginia

Arkansas

Idaho

Michigan

New Jersey

Pennsylvania

Washington

California

Illinois

Minnesota

New Mexico

South Carolina

Colorado

Indiana

Missouri

New York

Tennessee

Delaware

Maine

Montana

Ohio

Texas


On April 30, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) outlined a phased reopening plan. On May 26, Lamont released additional details on three phases in a report “assembled with input from our state agencies and departments, legislators, and subject matter experts from the Reopen CT Advisory Group.”

Phase 1 began on May 20. Lamont established the following criteria for entering Phase 1:

  1. 14-day decline of hospitalizations

  2. Increased testing available

  3. Sufficient contact tracing capacity

  4. Protect high-risk populations

  5. Adequate healthcare capacity

  6. Adequate supply of PPE

  7. Appropriate physical distancing regulations

Connecticut is scheduled to enter Phase 2 on June 17. Lamont said that about 95% of the state’s economy would be running at that time. This phase is scheduled to last at least four weeks.

Individual sectors received a health risk score based on guidance from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Contact proximity, contact length, number of contacts, disinfection ability, and social distancing enforceability factored into each sector’s score, which the governor used in developing reopening phases.

The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) issued sector-specific requirements that reopening businesses must follow. Businesses must also self-certify that they are adhering to safety guidelines before they may reopen.

Lamont’s stay-at-home order closing nonessential businesses said no municipality could issue an order conflicting with the statewide order. It said municipalities could not issue shelter-in-place orders or orders prohibiting travel unless they receive written permission from the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

Context

  • On March 20, Lamont signed a “Stay Safe, Stay Home” executive order closing nonessential businesses effective March 23. When announcing the order, Lamont said people should leave home as little as possible. Lamont extended the order past its original April 22 expiration date, and it expired on May 20.

  • series of other orders restricted gathering sizes. Social gatherings of more than five people were prohibited on March 26. The gathering size limit increased to 10 people on June 1.

  • Lamont also issued an order requiring residents to wear face coverings when in public if they are not maintaining 6 feet of distance from others, effective April 20. The order remains in effect.

  • As of June 11, Connecticut had 44,461 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and 4,146 deaths. For every 100,000 residents, the state had 1,247 cases and 116 deaths. According to The New York Times’ analysis, this was the fifth-highest per capita case rate and third-highest per capita death rate of any state.

  • Connecticut is a Democratic trifecta, with a Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Plan details

Social guidelines

Phases 1-3

  • Face masks at all times

  • Handwashing and social distancing at social gatherings

Phases 1 and 2 

  • 65+ and high risk stay home

Phase 3

  • High risk stay home

Phase 1 reopenings (beginning May 20)

  • Restaurants for outdoor dining (50% capacity limit, tables 6 feet apart, no bar areas, additional guidelines)

  • Retail and malls (50% capacity limit, prevent congregating, additional guidelines)

  • Offices (50% capacity limit, continue work from home where possible, additional guidelines)

  • Hair salons and barbershops (June 1 reopening – 50% capacity limit, by appointment only, additional guidelines)

    • Originally scheduled to open May 20. Lamont delayed reopening these businesses and coordinated with Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) to align their reopening.

  • Museums, zoos (outdoor only, 50% capacity limit, additional guidelines)

  • Additional outdoor recreation—e.g., camping, mountain biking (guidelines)

  • University research programs (guidelines)

Phase 2 (beginning June 17)

Lamont established the following criteria for entering Phase 2:

  • Declining transmission

    • “Less than 100 bed net increase in hospitalizations in last week of phase 1”

  • Testing and contact tracing

    • “100,000 tests a week; connected with >50% of identified contacts within 48 hours”

  • Business & social safeguards

    • “Rules and regulations disseminated two weeks prior to Phase 2 reopening”

  • Protection for critical and at risk individuals

    • “Testing plan for key workers and priority high-risk communities implemented”

  • Healthcare capacity

    • “<20% of beds occupied by COVID-19 patients amongst total peak COVID-19 bed capacity”

June 17 reopenings

  • Outdoor amusement parks (25% capacity limit, additional guidelines)

  • Hotels (guidelines)

  • Indoor dining at restaurants (50% capacity limit, no bar area, tables 6 feet apart, additional guidelines)

  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums (50% capacity limit, additional guidelines)

  • Indoor recreation—e.g., bowling, movie theaters (50% capacity limit, additional guidelines)

  • Libraries (50% capacity limit, additional guidelines)

  • Outdoor events (guidelines)

  • Personal services—e.g., nail salons, tattoo parlors, etc. (50% capacity limit, by appointment only, no services that require face mask removal allowed, additional guidelines)

  • Sports and fitness facilities—e.g., gyms, fitness centers, pools (capacity, player, and audience limits; additional guidelines)

July 6 opening

Phase 3

The May 26 plan update said the following could reopen in Phase 3, at least four weeks after the start of Phase 2.

  • Bars

  • Indoor event spaces/venues

  • Indoor amusements parks/arcades

  • Outdoor events up to 100 people

Reactions

  • Nine Democratic state Senators sent Lamont a letter on May 14 urging him to delay the May 20 start date for reopening. They said, “We are all anxious to reopen Connecticut’s economy and we generally agree with the metrics you laid out in your Reopen CT plan, metrics that have yet to be achieved. While this is first and foremost a public health crisis, we are well aware of the economic impact on families and businesses and the state as a whole. Reopening is essential – but to do it while the first wave of the pandemic is still raging will not lead to a second wave, it will simply add fuel to the first wave, delaying our eventual recovery.”

  • On May 18, Lamont said the state had met established criteria for entering Phase 1 on May 20.

  • State Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R) criticized the delayed reopening date for barbershops and hair salons: “[T]oday’s last-minute delay is not based on science. … It’s a policy decision based on input that should have been sought long before decisions were made. Obviously the governor gave thought to the reopening of salons and barbershops, even going so far as to allow hair dryers after first banning them. So why now make the decision to completely delay the reopening? The rug is being pulled out from under hundreds of employers and job creators across the state. Many salons and barbershop owners have spent thousands of dollars over the last few weeks getting ready for reopening.”

  • Lamont said of the delayed date for barbershops and hair salons, “We’ve been hearing a lot of feedback from many owners and employees, and at this time I think the best approach is that we hit pause on the reopening of hair salons and barbershops, take a step back, and allow some more time as preparations continue to be made.”


NOTD 06-12-20.png


Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of activities by other federal, state, and local governments and influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic. 

  • Orange County, California, lifted its requirement that citizens wear face coverings when in public. Movie theaters, bars, zoos, and gyms are also allowed to reopen.

  • Disneyland Resort announced plans to open Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks on July 17. It plans to reopen the Downtown Disney District on July 9. Reopenings will depend on approval from local governments.

  • The Chicago Riverwalk reopened on June 12 with restrictions. People must wear face coverings. The Riverwalk will be open from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. for recreational activities and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. for concessions. The Riverwalk will be cleaned at 10 a.m. Concessions are available by reservation only. Access points will be limited and guarded by attendants.

  • Three Orthodox Jewish residents and two Catholic priests filed a lawsuit against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), and state Attorney General Letitia James (D) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. The suit asks the court to declare capacity restrictions for places of worship unconstitutional. The suit reads, “Limiting the size of synagogue congregations to ten persons or mandating that the congregants attend ‘drive-in’ services in closed motor vehicles … when numerous secular gatherings and the mass demonstrations now occurring are exempted from any such restrictions, unduly burdens plaintiffs’ sincerely held religious beliefs.” For regions of the state in Phase 2, places of worship must limit capacity to 25%. New York City is in Phase 1, and religious gatherings are limited to 10 people or drive-in services.

  • Shelby County, Tennessee, will move into the third phase of the “Back-to-Business” reopening plan on June 15. While much of Tennessee is reopening according to a plan put together by Gov. Bill Lee (R), six counties, including Shelby, are reopening under plans developed by local health departments.

  • Cedar Fair, which owns Ohio’s Cedar Point and Kings Islandannounced expected reopening dates for the theme parks. Kings Island, located near Cincinnati, will reopen on July 2 for season passholders. The general public will be allowed starting July 12. Cedar Point is planning to reopen on July 9 for season passholders. The park will open to the general public on July 11.

  • Three Massachusetts casinosMGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor, and Plainridge Park, are working to reopen. Encore set an expected date of June 29, with the understanding that it could change. MGM Springfield has not set a date to reopen but announced plans to install Plexiglass to accommodate guests who wish to have more protection.
Click here to learn more.


Coronavirus Weekly Update: June 11th, 2020

Welcome to the first edition of Ballotpedia’s Coronavirus Weekly Update. Since March 18, 2020, Coronavirus Daily Update provided a daily summary of major changes due to the coronavirus pandemic in politics, government, and elections. Starting June 11, we’ll cover those same stories in a weekly format sent out on Thursday afternoons.

Today, you will find updates on the following topics, with comparisons to our previous edition released on June 5:

  • Stay-at-home orders
  • Federal responses
  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies
  • Election changes
  • Ballot measure changes
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Travel restrictions
  • State courts
  • Prison policies
  • Eviction and foreclosure policies
  • State legislative sessions
  • Diagnosed or quarantined public officials

For a free, daily summary of reopening activities and plans, please subscribe to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery.

State stay-at-home orders

Read more: States with lockdown and stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

As of June 11, stay-at-home orders have ended in 37 states. Eighteen of those states have Republican governors and 19 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order). Since the last coronavirus daily update on June 5, one state (New Jersey) ended its stay-at-home order.

Of the six states with active stay-at-home orders, five have Democratic governors and one has a Republican governor. They are (with expiration date):

  • New Hampshire (June 15, Republican governor)
  • New York (June 27, Democratic governor)
  • New Mexico (June 30, Democratic governor)
  • California (no set expiration date, Democratic governor)
  • Kentucky (no set expiration date, Democratic governor)
  • Oregon (no set expiration date, Democratic governor)

Details:

  • New Jersey On June 9, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced he was lifting the stay-at-home order, effective immediately. Murphy issued the order on March 21. It had no set expiration date. New Jersey was the third state to issue a stay-at-home order and the 37th to lift one.

The 1918 influenza pandemic

Read more: 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

The United States held midterm elections as scheduled during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. More than 50 million people perished from the disease worldwide, including about 675,000 in the U.S., making it one of the deadliest pandemics in recorded history. Each week, we’ll look back at a story from the 1918 elections to see how America met the challenges of holding elections during a national health emergency.

A Nov. 7, 1918, Oakland Tribune article reported how voters were required to wear masks.  Those that didn’t were fined $10—the equivalent of $169.79 in 2020

“Heated discussion of election returns is not in violation of law, provided the participant keeps his flu mask properly adjusted; but should he overlook that important matter trouble awaits him. That is the verdict of ten or twelve men fined $10 each after being arrested in the county clerk’s office. Many alibis were offered by the offenders, who maintained that they were seriously handicapped by their masks in arguments over election returns with more fluent talkers. The arm of the law refused to accept any excuses, contending that epidemics could not be checked through the wearing of masks for bibs.” 

Click here to read the original article, courtesy of the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing’s Influenza Encyclopedia.

Federal responses

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

  • On June 9, the Department of Defense announced it was lifting travel restrictions on installations in 38 states, Washington D.C., and five countries (Bahrain, Belgium, Germany, the U.K., and Japan). Service members could travel between those areas without needing permission. Travel restrictions remain in place in 12 states.

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 204 lawsuits in 37 states on government actions undertaken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 41 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since June 5, we tracked 102 new lawsuits. Orders were issued, or settlements reached, in seven lawsuits.  
  • Ballotpedia has separately tracked another 95 lawsuits in 33 states, dealing with election administration. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 43 of those lawsuits.

Here are two noteworthy decisions:

  • Talleywhacker, Inc. d/b/a Arizona Pete’s Country Music Saloon et al v. The Honorable Roy A. Cooper, III – On June 8, Judge Louise Wood Flanagan for the Eastern District of North Carolina denied a temporary restraining order filed on behalf of at least 28 strip clubs in seven counties. The restraining order would have allowed clubs to reopen during litigation. The clubs filed a complaint challenging Cooper’s Executive Order 141, which authorized the state to move into Phase 2 of Cooper’s reopening plan. Under that phase, gyms, bars, or entertainment venues remain closed. Flanagan ruled that the plaintiffs lacked the same urgency to reopen as restaurants. Flanagan wrote: “(Gov. Roy Cooper) has taken intricate steps to craft reopening policies to balance the public health and economic issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, while recognizing the continued severe risks associated with reopening, and where neither the court nor plaintiffs are better positioned to second-guess those determinations, the public interest does not weigh in favor of injunctive relief.”  
  • Martinko et al v. Whitmer On June 5, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman for the Eastern District of Michigan dismissed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) executive orders which directed individuals to stay home unless performing essential activities and placed restrictions on non-essential businesses. Friedman said the U.S. Constitution prevents citizens from suing states in federal court. This means plaintiffs could not sue Whitmer in her role as governor. Friedman also said the case was moot, as the orders in question had been rescinded and that possibilities of Whitmer reimposing restrictions were speculation. Whitmer lifted the stay-at-home order on June 1.  

Election changes

Read more: Changes to election dates, procedures, and administration in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Twenty states have postponed state-level primary or special elections. 
    • No new states have postponed state-level primary or special elections since June 5.
  • Sixteen states have modified their candidate filing requirements. 
    • No new states have modified their requirements since June 5.
  • Twenty-nine states have made modifications to their voting procedures. 
    • No new states have made modifications since June 5.
  • Political parties in 19 states have made changes to party events on a statewide basis.
    • No state parties have made changes since June 5.

Ballot measure changes

Read more: Changes to ballot measure campaigns, procedures, and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • At least 15 lawsuits were filed in 12 states seeking court orders suspending or changing signature requirements and deadlines. 
    • Two new lawsuits have been filed since June 5.
  • Rulings or settlements have been issued in 12 cases. 
    • One ruling has been issued since June 5.
  • Ballotpedia has tracked 23 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering. 
    • No new petition drive suspensions since June 5.
  • Seven states and D.C. changed ballot measure procedures through executive orders or legislative action. 
    • No new changes have been enacted since June 5.
  • At least two initiative campaigns reported they had enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, but are delaying submitting those signatures in order to appear on their state’s 2022 ballot.

Details:

  • Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia D. Stephens granted Fair and Equal Michigan—the campaign behind an initiative to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression—an additional 69 days to collect signatures to qualify for the 2022 ballot. Michigan’s stay-at-home order was in place for 69 days. In Michigan, initiative campaigns have 180 days to collect signatures, with a requirement of 340,047 valid signatures for 2020/22. Judge Stephens did not grant the campaign’s other requests to reduce the signature requirement or to extend the submission deadline of May 27 to make the 2020 ballot, which was the campaign’s initial target.
  • California – The Coalition to Authorize Regulated Sports Wagering, which is backing the California Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands Initiative for the 2022 ballot, sued Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) on June 9. The lawsuit seeks to extend the deadline to file signatures beyond July 20, 2020. In California, campaigns have 180 days to collect signatures. The campaign suspended paid signature gathering in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Idaho – Reclaim Idaho, sponsors of the Idaho Income Tax Increases for Education Funding Initiative, filed a lawsuit on June 6 against Gov. Brad Little (R) seeking a preliminary injunction to grant the campaign 48 more days to gather signatures and temporary permission to use electronic signatures.

School closures

Read more: School closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • In March and April 2020, 48 states closed schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. Those states accounted for 99.4% of the 50.6 million public school students in the country. The two states that did not close schools to in-person instruction for the academic year were Montana and Wyoming. Montana schools were allowed to reopen on May 7 and Wyoming schools were allowed to reopen on May 15.
  • Five states (Alabama, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, and Wyoming) have reopened their campuses for students and staff. 
  • Seven states have announced their intentions to reopen schools in the fall. 
  • Officials in seven other states have released guidance for reopening schools to in-person instructions, but have not indicated when or whether they plan to do so.

Details:

  • California On June 8, the California Department of Education released a 55-page guidance document for reopening schools to public instruction. The guidance includes temperature checks before entering schools or buses, face coverings for staff and students, and physical distancing requirements.
  • Florida – On June 11, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced that he expected schools to reopen at full capacity in August. The Florida Department of Education released guidance for schools including social distancing guidelines, the conversion of common spaces (such as libraries, gyms, and auditoriums) into classroom areas, and disinfection protocols.
  • Indiana – On June 5, Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box released guidelines for schools to consider before reopening. The guidelines include requiring face coverings and social distancing rules. Schools in Indiana are allowed to reopen for in-person instruction beginning July 1.
  • Kansas – On June 10, the Kansas State Board of Education announced that it was expecting to reopen schools in August and that it would deliver guidance to schools in early July.
  • Massachusetts – On June 8, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released preliminary guidance for reopening schools. The memo outlined a face-covering requirement for both teachers and students, desks spaced six feet apart, and classroom size restrictions of 12.
  • Mississippi – On June 10, the Mississippi Department of Education released optional guidance for schools reopening in the fall. It contained recommendations for school districts to choose and implement one of three learning schedules: traditional, hybrid, or online.
  • Missouri – On June 9, Missouri Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven announced fall reopenings for schools would occur at the discretion of county and school board officials.
  • Nevada – On June 9, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed an executive order allowing schools to reopen buildings and athletic facilities effective immediately.
  • North Carolina On June 8, the North Carolina State Board of Education released guidance for reopening schools to in-person instruction. The guidance includes more frequent cleanings, a temperature check for all individuals entering buildings or buses, and physical distancing guidelines.
  • Oregon – On June 10, The Oregon Department of Education released guidelines for schools to reopen for the 2020-2021 school year. Under the plan, individual public and private schools will need to submit an Operational Blueprint for Reentry to their local public health authority before they reopen. 
  • Virginia – On June 9, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced that schools would reopen to in-person instruction for the 2020-2021 school year. The state released guidance for a three-phase reopening. Phase One has remote learning as the dominant teaching strategy, while Phase Two allows in-person instruction for preschool through third grade, and Phase Three allows in-person instruction for all students.

Travel restrictions

Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Governors or state agencies in 21 states issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least nine have been rescinded. 
    • These totals did not change since June 5.

Details:

  • Florida – Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced on June 5 that travelers from Louisiana no longer need to self-quarantine for 14 days. The requirements remained in effect for visitors from Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey.
  • Maine – Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced on June 8 that out-of-state visitors from New Hampshire and Vermont were no longer required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Beginning June 12, visitors from those states can stay in lodging establishments throughout Maine. Mills also announced that effective July 1, visitors from all other states will need to quarantine for 14 days unless they have recently received a negative COVID-19 test. Travelers will need to fill out a Certificate of Compliance at lodging establishments, including hotels and short-term rentals.
  • Vermont – Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced that the quarantine requirement will be lifted for out-of-state travelers from counties across New England with similar COVID-19 caseloads to Vermont starting June 8.

State court changes

Read more: State court closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide.
  • Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings on the local level.
    • One court extended the suspension of jury trials since June 5.

Details:

  • Florida – 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. 

Prison inmate responses

Read more: State and local governments that released prison inmates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Twenty-one states have released inmates at the state level.
  • Twelve states have released inmates at 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.
    • Since June 5, two states have announced the release of inmates on the state-level.
    • In two states, judges denied temporary restraining orders compelling the release of inmates from state facilities.
    • One state reached a settlement to expedite the release of certain inmates.

Details:

  • Connecticut – As part of a settlement from a federal lawsuit, the Connecticut Department of Corrections is required to identify inmates who are 65 years or older who meet specific medical criteria to expedite release consideration.
  • Maine – U.S. District Judge John Woodcock denied a temporary restraining order requested by two inmates at the Mountain View Correctional Facility. Woodcock wrote, “The Court is not prepared — prior to an evidentiary hearing and without a showing that disaster is truly imminent — to substitute its judgment for that of the MDOC and Commissioner Liberty when it comes to administration of their facilities.” The temporary restraining order would have required Maine Department of Corrections officials to review cases of all medically vulnerable inmates for release to allow them the ability to social distance due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Michigan – According to the Prison Policy Initiative, the number of inmates paroled from Michigan state prisons reportedly increased by about 1,000 people per month to curb the spread of coronavirus. The Michigan Department of Corrections reported June 5 that the overall inmate population has been reduced five percent since March 20. 
  • New York – On June 8, the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision reported that 898 inmates had been released due to the coronavirus pandemic. The releases follow a March 28 announcement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) that up to 1,100 people being held in jails and prisons in the state could be released with community supervision.
  • North Carolina – On June 8, Wake County Superior Court Judge Vince M. Rozier Jr. issued a preliminary injunction against prison officials in North Carolina. In his ruling, Rozier stated, “…this Court finds that [the] Defendant’s acted in violation of the Eighth Amendment’s ‘deliberate indifference test’…The Court notes that [the] Defendant failed to provide substantial COVID-19 testing to accompany the crowded and communal social distancing protocols, transferring inmates between facilities without properly protecting those inmates or preventing the spread of COVID-19 in contradiction to CDC guidelines, and providing disparate levels of COVID-19 protection as between different facilities. These actions, at the very least, lie ‘somewhere between the poles of negligence at one end and purpose or knowledge at the other.’” Rozier outlined steps for prison officials to implement “until the substantial risk of COVID-19 has been satisfactorily diminished.” Steps include reopening the application process for homes, facilities, and programs willing to participate as partners in early release for approved inmates, and requiring coronavirus testing before transferring inmates between facilities. 

Eviction and foreclosure policies

Read more: Changes to rent, mortgage, eviction, and foreclosure policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Forty-one states have implemented policies related to evictions or foreclosures on either the state or local level.
    • This total did not change since June 5.

Details:

  • California – The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a measure on June 9 permanently prohibiting landlords from evicting tenants for failing to pay rent due to the coronavirus pandemic. The law only applies to payments missed while the city is actively under the state of emergency Mayor London Breed declared in February.  
  • Maryland – On June 9, Baltimore County announced it was launching a new eviction prevention program using $1 million in federal and state emergency assistance funds. The program will help pay the past-due rent for tenants facing eviction after the expiration of Maryland’s state of emergency and the end of the temporary statewide ban on evictions and foreclosures.  
  • Virginia – On June 8, Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Lemons issued a statewide order pausing evictions and foreclosures through June 28. The order follows a letter Gov. Ralph Northam (D) sent to Lemons requesting that the court suspend eviction proceedings due to the coronavirus pandemic.

State legislative session changes

Read more: Changes to state legislative session dates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Sixteen state legislatures have suspended their sessions. Thirteen of those have since reconvened. 
  • Twenty-eight legislatures have either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year. 
  • Five state legislatures are in regular session. 

Details:

  • Kansas – The Kansas legislature adjourned a special session on June 4 that began on June 3.
  • New Hampshire – The House reconvened June 11, ending its suspension. 

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia in the last week

Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

We have tracked the deaths, diagnoses, and quarantines of political incumbents, candidates, and government officials resulting from COVID-19. At this time, tracked incumbents, candidates, and government officials are limited to those within Ballotpedia’s scope of coverage.

  • Federal

    • Six members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty federal officials quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State

    • Four state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • Thirty-four state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Sixty-seven state-level incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local

    • At least one local incumbent or candidate has died of COVID-19.
    • At least twelve local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 23 local incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Since June 5, one state-level candidate has tested positive for coronavirus. One state officeholder announced he had tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. 

State politicians who tested positive for coronavirus

  • Jon Huntsman (R), candidate for Utah governor, announced on June 10 that he tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
  • Utah Senate President Stuart Adams (R) announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, though he said he never realized he was infected with the novel coronavirus.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: June 10, 2020 #Edition #32

Ballotpedia, The Encyclopedia of American Politics

Each day, we:

  • Track the status of reopening in all 50 states.

  • Compare the status of one industry or activity across the country.

  • Provide in-depth summaries of the latest reopening plans.

  • Give you the latest stories on other reopening plans and ideas.

Want to know what happened yesterday? Click here.


The next two days

What is reopening in the next two days? Which stay-at-home orders will expire?

June 11

  • Kentucky (divided government): The Kentucky Horse Park and Kentucky state park campgrounds will be allowed to reopen starting June 11.

June 12

  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Northern Virginia will enter Phase 2 of the reopening plan Friday, June 12. Much of Virginia entered Phase 2 Friday, June 5. On June 11, cabins and lodges at state parks can reopen to overnight guests. There will be a 24-hour period between check-outs and check-ins to reduce the risk of COVID-19.


Since our last edition

What is open in each state? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here. For our last edition, click here.

  • Massachusetts (divided government): Bars in Massachusetts will reopen as part of Phase 4 of Gov. Charlie Baker’s (R) reopening plan.  Last week, the administration moved bars without food service from Phase 3 to Phase 4 of reopening.  The change came after officials clarified establishments permitted to serve food are categorized as  restaurants, including breweries, wineries, and distilleries, which were allowed to reopen for outdoor dining as part of Phase 2, which began on June 8.  The City of Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh announced on June 9 that the city approved more than 200 requests by restaurants to temporarily expand their outdoor dining service into public spaces.

  • Michigan (divided government): Northern Michigan entered phase 5 of the reopening plan, which allows close contact businesses like tattoo parlors and hair salons to reopen at 25% capacity. Additionally, movie theaters and outdoor performance venues can reopen with restrictions.

  • Minnesota (divided government): Minnesota entered Phase Three of its reopening plan Wednesday, June 10. Restaurants can reopen to indoor dining at 50% capacity. Gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and pools are also permitted to reopen with restrictions.

  • Mississippi (Republican trifecta): The Mississippi Department of Education released optional guidance for schools reopening in the fall. It contained recommendations for school districts to choose and implement one of three learning schedules: traditional, hybrid, or online.

  • Missouri (Republican trifecta): The state announced fall reopenings for schools would occur at the discretion of county and school board officials.

  • Nevada (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed an executive order allowing schools to reopen buildings and athletic facilities effective immediately. Nevada is the fifth state to reopen school buildings after closing due to the coronavirus pandemic this spring.

  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced on June 9 that schools in New Jersey could plan to have up to 500 people at outdoor graduations ceremonies starting July 6. Murphy signed two executive orders on June 9.  One raised the limits on indoor (25% capacity or up to 50 people) and outdoor gatherings (up to 100).  The other allows outdoor recreation and entertainment businesses to reopen immediately, with the exception of amusement parks, water parks, and arcades. Murphy also authorized public pools to reopen on June 22.  State parks, forests, and county and municipal parks can reopen to full capacity.  Public and private social clubs are permitted to reopen outdoor spaces, so long as they comply with state guidelines.

  • New York (Democratic trifecta): The Long Island region entered Phase II of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) reopening plan “NY Forward” on June 10.  It is the ninth out of 10 regions to enter that phase.

  • North Carolina (divided government): On June 9, the North Carolina state Senate voted in favor of House Bill 594. 29 Republicans and seven Democrats voted to approve the bill, and 13 Democrats voted against it.  House Bill 594 will be sent back to the state House for consideration.  If passed, the bill would allow gyms, health clubs, and fitness centers to reopen at 50% capacity and bars to open outdoor service spaces at 50% of the venue’s indoor capacity ahead of Phase 3 of Gov. Roy Cooper’s (D) reopening plan, which is expected to begin June 26.  Under a revised version of the bill, Cooper would be able to re-close those businesses if the number of coronavirus cases should increase if he has agreement from the Council of State.  Cooper vetoed a similar bill, House Bill 536, which would have allowed bars and restaurants to temporarily expand service to outdoor spaces, explaining that the bill would have limited officials’ ability to close establishments should there be another surge in the pandemic.

  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On June 10, the following businesses and activities were permitted to reopen: aquariums, art galleries, country clubs, ice skating rinks, indoor family entertainment centers, indoor sports facilities, laser tag facilities, indoor movie theaters, museums, playgrounds, public recreation centers, roller skating rinks, social clubs, trampoline parks, and zoos.

  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): The state released guidelines for schools to reopen for the 2020-2021 school year. Under the plan, individual public and private schools will need to submit an Operational Blueprint for Reentry to their local public health authority before they reopen.

  • Pennsylvania (divided government): The state legislature passed a resolution directing Gov. Tom Wolf to end Pennsylvania’s emergency declaration and lift all business shutdown orders issued in response to the coronavirus. It passed the state Senate 31-19 and the and the House 121-81, with 12 house democrats supporting the measure. Wolf said he will not lift the orders or approve the resolution. The state also released guidance for outdoor recreation businesses and high school and summer sports.

  • Tennessee (Republican trifecta): Gov. Bill Lee (R) announced that limited visitation to nursing homes and long-term care facilities can resume June 15. Facilities that reopen will need to have tested all residents and staff at least once.

  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced that schools would reopen to in-person instruction for the 2020-2021 school year. The state released guidance for a three-phase reopening. Phase One has remote learning as the dominant teaching strategy, while Phase Two allows in-person instruction for preschool through third grade, and Phase Three allows in-person instruction for all students. Phase One is effective immediately, but the guidelines and comments from the governor did not indicate when schools could move to additional phases.

  • Wisconsin (divided government): Effective June 10, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reopened state campgrounds. Campers must make reservations ahead of time, and will need to bring their own firewood.


Update on stay-at-home orders

Forty-three states issued orders directing residents to stay home except for essential activities and the closure or curtailment of  businesses each state deemed nonessential. Seven states did not.

As of June 10, stay-at-home orders have ended in 37 states. Eighteen of those states have Republican governors and 19 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order).

Of the six states with active stay-at-home orders, five have Democratic governors and one has a Republican governor. They are (with expiration date):

  • New Hampshire (June 15, Republican governor)

  • New York (June 27, Democratic governor)

  • New Mexico (June 30, Democratic governor)

  • California (no set expiration date, Democratic governor)

  • Kentucky (no set expiration date, Democratic governor)

  • Oregon (no set expiration date, Democratic governor)

Here’s which stay-at-home orders have expired.


Tracking industries: Dine-in services at restaurants

All 50 states have reopened in some way. Here, we give the status of one industry or activity across the states. Today’s question: in which states may you go out for a meal? The map below reflects the loosest restriction imposed at least regionally in a state.

Across the country, 41 states allow for full dine-in services at restaurants. In eight states, dine-in services are restricted to outdoor seating areas only. New Jersey is the only state not to allow dine-in services of any kind at restaurants.  Outdoor dining is expected to reopen when the state moves into Phase 2 of Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) reopening plan on June 15.




This is an in-depth summary of one of the latest reopening plans. Is there a plan you’d like us to feature? Reply to this email and let us know. Click a state below to read a previous Featured Plan.


Alabama

Delaware

Maine

Missouri

New Mexico

South Carolina

Washington

Arizona

Florida

Maryland

Montana

New York

Tennessee

Arkansas

Georgia

Massachusetts

Nevada

Ohio

Texas

California

Illinois

Michigan

New Hampshire

Oklahoma

Vermont

Colorado

Indiana

Minnesota

New Jersey

Pennsylvania

Virginia


On May 7, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) released initial details of a three-phase reopening plan, including Phase I reopenings and requirements for moving into Phase I.

Brown said, “Today, thanks to millions of Oregonians following the strict physical distancing orders I put in place, I am happy to say these sacrifices have prevented as many as 70,000 COVID-19 infections, and 1,500 hospitalizations in Oregon. We are on track in meeting the goals that doctors and public health experts have laid out for us.”

Thirtyone of Oregon’s 36 counties met criteria to enter Phase 1 on May 15. As of June 10, 29 counties have entered Phase II. Six counties are in Phase I. Multnomah County, home to Portland, is the only county that has not yet entered Phase I.

Brown established the following criteria for entering Phase I. Most criteria are considered by the county or health region.

1. Declining COVID-19 Prevalence

  • Hospitalizations measured by county declining for 14 days

  • Emergency department visits for COVID-like illness below influenza-like illness baseline measured statewide

2. Minimum Testing Regimen

  • 30 tests per 10k population per week

  • Accessible testing for underserved communities

3. Contact Tracing System

  • 15 tracers per 100k population

  • Able to trace 95% of contacts within 24 hours

  • Cultural and linguistic competence

4. Isolation/Quarantine Facilities

  •  Available room capacity

  •  Response narratives for group living outbreaks

5. Finalized Statewide Sector Guidelines

6. Sufficient Healthcare Capacity

  •  20% hospital bed surge capacity

7. Sufficient PPE supply

  • Required daily inventory reporting to [Oregon Health Authority]

  • 30-day supply required; 14-days for small and rural hospitals

  • Sufficient PPE for first responders in the county

Counties must continue meeting Phase I criteria, plus additional criteria to enter Phase II. Those include:

  • Demonstrating the ability to trace new cases within 24 hours

  • Ability to identify where new cases are coming from at least 70% of the time

  • No significant increase in cases

The minimum length of Phase I is 21 days. Phase III is set to begin once a treatment or vaccine is available.

The Oregon Health Authority has issued industry-specific requirements and recommendations for reopening businesses and activities.

Context

  • On March 23, Brown issued a stay-at-home order requiring individuals to stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing outside the home. The order closed certain businesses and required telework wherever possible. Brown signed an executive order on May 14 establishing the three-phase reopening process and continuing stay-at-home measures. The order contained details for Phase I reopenings, replacing the March 23 order. Brown issued an executive order on June 5 with Phase II reopening details, replacing the May 14 order. Multnomah County remains under stay-at-home guidelines from the May 14 order.

  • As of June 9, Oregon had 4,988 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 and 169 deaths. Oregon’s estimated population as of July 2019 was 4.2 million. For every 100,000 residents, Oregon had 118.3 cases and 4.0 deaths.

  • Oregon is a Democratic trifecta, with a Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Plan details

County/region process

Timeline

Oregon has 36 counties. The following timeline shows when and how many counties have been allowed to enter phases of the plan. Click here to see each county’s status.

  • May 15: 31 counties could enter Phase I.

  • May 22-23: Marion, Polk, and Clackamas counties could enter Phase I of reopening.

  • June 1: Washington County could enter Phase I.

  • June 5-8: 29 counties could enter Phase II.

Health regions

The Oregon Health Authority established seven health regions into which counties are grouped. The following reopening criteria must be met on the health region level as opposed to the county level:

  • Minimum testing regimen

  • Sufficient healthcare capacity

  • Sufficient personal protective equipment supply

Baseline (Pre-Phase I) and statewide reopenings

May 1

  • “Non-emergency medical care, dentist offices and veterinary care are open and operating, provided they meet required safety guidelines.”

May 5

May 15

  • Stand alone retail operations are open provided they meet required safety and physical distancing guidelines.”

  • Child care is open under certain restrictions, with priority placements for children of health care workers, first responders, and frontline workers.”

  • Day camps are open with restrictions, including maximum stable groups of 10 or fewer children.”

  • “For summer school, limited in-person, small group instruction and/or summer programming is allowed, with certain restrictions.”

June 3

  • Zoos, museums, and gardens were allowed to open statewide with certain guidelines.

Individual/social baseline restrictions

  • “Local cultural, civic and faith gatherings are allowed for up to 25 people provided physical distancing can be in place.”

  • “Local social gatherings over 10 people are prohibited and those under 10 people must use physical distancing.”

Phase I

Businesses

  • Restaurants and bars (tables spaced at least 6 feet apart, employees must wear face coverings, end on-site consumption by 10 p.m., additional guidelines)

  • Personal care services, such as barbershops, hair salons, massage therapy, and nail salons (by appointment only, pre-appointment customer health check, physical distancing between clients, face coverings for employees and clients depending on activity, additional guidelines)

  • Gyms and fitness centers (capacity limits, physical distancing and sanitation guidelines, additional guidelines)

  • Shopping centers and malls (capacity limit, additional guidelines)

  • Remote work required to the maximum extent possible

Individual/social

  • Gathering size limit increases from 10 to 25 (local gatherings, no travel)

  • Local travel only

Phase II

Businesses/sites

  • Theaters, movie theaters, places of worship (ensure adequate ventilation, post signage with information on symptoms and physical distancing, additional guidelines)

  • Bowling, arcades, mini-golf, and other indoor or outdoor entertainment (capacity limit, require employees to wear masks, additional guidelines)

  • Restaurants and bars expanded opening (curfew extended to 12 a.m., additional guidelines)

  • Swimming pools (prohibit staff/attendees with COVID symptoms from entering premises, employees must wear face coverings when not in the water, additional guidelines)

  • No-contact recreational sports (prohibit staff/players with COVID symptoms from participating, discourage high-risk individuals from attending, ensure adequate ventilation, cleaning protocols, additional guidelines)

  • Remote work recommended but not required

Individual/social

  • Gathering limit increases to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors (does not apply to sites with other specified capacity limits)

  • Increased travel, commensurate with reopenings

Phase III

As of June 10, the following details were available on Phase III:

“Large gatherings and events are not possible until reliable treatment or prevention is available. As a result, these are canceled or significantly modified through at least September.”

Possible reopenings:

  • “Concerts, conventions, festivals, live-audience sports (tentative & subject to change)”

Further guidance for individuals

  • Vulnerable populations must still stay at home

  • Limited visits to nursing homes, hospitals

  • Limited gatherings

  • Limited travel

  • Increased hygiene, cleaning, and sanitation

  • Stay home when sick

  • Wear face coverings when in public

  • Use of personal protective equipment when in close quarters

Reactions

  • On May 7, state Rep. Mark Owens (R) said, “It’s a good day for Oregon. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. … Small businesses are the backbone of my community, my district, and they’re the backbone of this state. … We need to get them back to normal as soon as possible.”

  • On May 7, state Rep. Daniel Bonham (R) said, “We’ve been proceeding down a path to try and meet some Phase I guidelines and get people back to work … and a little bit of that was modified today. … Goal posts were changed, and areas of the state were not reflected in the guidelines. [I] certainly did not anticipate statements of large group activities not happening prior to the end of September.”



Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of activities by other federal, state, and local governments and influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic. 

  • Officials in New Orleans decided to move the city into the second phase of Louisiana’s reopening plan starting June 13. The rest of the state entered Phase Two on June 6.

  • AMC Entertainment announced plans to reopen almost all its U.S. and U.K. theaters in July.

  • Major League Soccer announced plans to resume its season July 8. Fans may not attend games.

  • Talleywhacker, Inc. d/b/a Arizona Pete’s Country Music Saloon et al v. The Honorable Roy A. Cooper, III – On June 8, Judge Louise Wood Flanagan for the Eastern District of North Carolina, who was appointed to the bench by former President George W. Bush, denied a temporary restraining order filed by at least 28 strip clubs in seven counties.  The restraining order would have allowed strip clubs to reopen during litigation. The strip clubs filed a complaint challenging Gov. Roy Cooper’s (D) Executive Order 141, which authorized the state to move into Phase 2 of Cooper’s reopening plan.  Under that phase, gyms, bars, or entertainment venues are prohibited to reopen. Flanagan ruled that the plaintiffs in the case lacked the same urgency to reopen as restaurants do.  In her ruling, Flanagan wrote, “(Gov. Roy Cooper) has taken intricate steps to craft reopening policies to balance the public health and economic issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, while recognizing the continued severe risks associated with reopening, and where neither the court nor plaintiffs are better positioned to second-guess those determinations, the public interest does not weigh in favor of injunctive relief.”      

Click here to learn more.



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #31: June 9, 2020

Ballotpedia, The Encyclopedia of American Politics
 blank    blankblank   blank

Each day, we:

  • Track the status of reopening in all 50 states.

  • Compare the status of one industry or activity across the country.

  • Provide in-depth summaries of the latest reopening plans.

  • Give you the latest stories on other reopening plans and ideas.

Want to know what happened yesterday? Click here.


The next two days

What is reopening in the next two days? Which stay-at-home orders will expire?

June 10

  • Minnesota (divided government): Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced that gyms can reopen June 10 at 25% capacity. Minnesota will be the 37th state to allow gyms to reopen.

  • New York (Democratic trifecta): The Long Island region is on track to become the ninth of New York’s 10 regions to enter Phase II of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) reopening plan, “NY Forward,” on June 10. The Mid-Hudson region moved into that phase on June 9. Under Phase II, the following businesses and activities are permitted to resume: offices (50% occupancy), real estate, in-store retail (50% occupancy), vehicle sales, leases and rentals, retail rental, repair and cleaning, commercial building management (50% occupancy), and salons and barbershops (50% occupancy). On June 8, Cuomo released plans for in-restaurant dining, which include operating at half capacity and tables spaced six feet apart. In-restaurant dining is slated to resume in Phase III of Cuomo’s reopening plan. Cuomo also announced that in-person special education classes could resume for the summer term.

  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On June 10, the following businesses and activities may resume: aquariums, art galleries, country clubs, ice skating rinks, indoor family entertainment centers, indoor sports facilities, laser tag facilities, indoor movie theaters, museums, playgrounds, public recreation centers, roller skating rinks, social clubs, trampoline parks, and zoos.  Gov. Mike DeWine announced that casinos, amusement parks, and water parks may reopen on June 19. On June 5, Ohio Director of Health Dr. Amy Acton revised a public health order for bars and restaurants to include wedding receptions and banquet halls.  As part of the order, dance halls, billiard tables, and other games were allowed to reopen, provided social distancing and sanitation measures are followed.

June 11

  • Kentucky (divided government): The Kentucky Horse Park and Kentucky state park campgrounds will be allowed to reopen starting June 11.

  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): Effective June 11, cabins and lodges at state parks can reopen to overnight guests. There will be a 24-hour period between check-outs and check-ins to reduce the risk of COVID-19.


Since our last edition

Have any states opened? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here. For our last edition, click here.

  • California (Democratic trifecta): The California Department of Education released a 55-page guidance document for reopening schools to public instruction. The guidance includes temperature checks before entering schools or buses, face coverings for staff and students, and physical distancing requirements.

  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Gov. David Ige (D) announced that passive beach activities (such as sunbathing) are now allowed at all state park beaches. Ige also said camping and lodging at state parks would begin reopening in phases, in compliance with local orders.

  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced out-of-state visitors with proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test would not have to comply with Maine’s 14-day self-quarantine requirement. Mills’ plan also included improving symptom checks at popular tourist destinations (like visitors’ centers and beach parking lot entrances) and funding for local prevention efforts.

  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): On June 9, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that he was lifting the stay-at-home order, effective immediately. Murphy’s stay at home order was issued on March 21 and did not have a set expiration date before being lifted.  New Jersey was the third state to issue a stay-at-home order and the 37th to lift it. Murphy also raised the limit on indoor gatherings to 25% occupancy or up to 50 people, whichever is less. The cap on outdoor gatherings was raised from 25 people to 100 people.  Murphy announced that places of worship could reopen indoor services under the new capacity limits, but parishioners must wear face coverings and be seated six feet apart. The state is expected to move into Phase 2 of Murphy’s reopening plan on June 15.  On June 8, New Jersey’s Health Department issued guidelines for Summer Youth camps, including social distancing and sanitation measures.  Summer youth camps are expected to reopen on July 6.

  • New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Public swimming pools reopened on June 8.  Pools can operate at 50% capacity and social distancing must be enforced.

  • North Carolina (divided government): The state released guidance for reopening schools to in-person instruction. The guidance includes more frequent cleanings, a temperature check for all individuals entering buildings or buses, and physical distancing guidelines.  On June 8, the North Carolina state Senate was expected to vote on House Bill 594, which would allow gyms, health clubs, and fitness centers to reopen. However, the vote was delayed until June 9, so that Senate leaders could add language that would allow bars to reopen in outdoor spaces and allow restaurants to temporarily move dining outside, despite Cooper’s veto. If passed, the bill would be sent to the state House. North Carolina is one of seven states where a three-fifths vote of both chambers is required to override a gubernatorial veto. Republicans control 29 of the 30 seats required to override a veto in the state Senate and 65 of the 72 seats required in the state House.

  • Tennessee (Republican trifecta): The Tennessee Department of Education released guidance for reopening schools in August. The document does not require Tennessee school districts to adopt any particular approach but provides suggestions and best practices for safely reopening, including requiring students and staff to wear masks and setting staggered schedules.


Update on stay-at-home orders

Forty-three states issued orders directing residents to stay home except for essential activities and the closure or curtailment of businesses each state deemed nonessential. Seven states did not.

As of June 9, stay-at-home orders have ended in 37 states. Eighteen of those states have Republican governors and 19 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order).

Of the six states with active stay-at-home orders, five have Democratic governors and one has a Republican governor. They are (with expiration date):

  • New Hampshire (June 15, Republican governor)

  • New York (June 27, Democratic governor)

  • New Mexico (June 30, Democratic governor)

  • California (no set expiration date, Democratic governor)

  • Kentucky (no set expiration date, Democratic governor)

  • Oregon (no set expiration date, Democratic governor)

Here’s which stay-at-home orders have expired.


Tracking industries: Child care facilities

All 50 states are reopening in some way. Here, we give the status of one industry or activity across the states. Today’s question: in which states are child care facilities open? This does not include facilities that are only open to serving what the state defines as essential workers. 



This is an in-depth summary of one of the latest reopening plans. Is there a plan you’d like us to feature? Reply to this email and let us know. Click a state below to read a previous Featured Plan.

Alabama

Georgia

Massachusetts

New Mexico

Texas

Arizona

Illinois

Michigan

Ohio

Virginia

California

Indiana

Montana

Oklahoma

Washington

Colorado

Maine

Nevada

Pennsylvania

New Jersey

Florida

Maryland

New Hampshire

Tennessee

On May 15, Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced that he was changing the statewide “Stay Home/Stay Safe” order and replacing it with a reopening initiative called “Be Smart, Stay Safe.” The initiative encouraged, but did not require, residents to stay at home.

Vermont’s stay-at-home order first went into effect March 24 and was originally scheduled to expire on April 15. On April 10, Scott extended the order through May 15. Vermont was the 19th state to end its stay-at-home order.

Scott said, “Vermonters have stepped up in a time of crisis, following guidance from the beginning to quickly slow the spread and keep our health care system from being overwhelmed. These efforts have saved hundreds and hundreds of lives and given us time to build the testing and tracing capacity we need to contain future outbreaks. The important thing to remember is that the smarter we are about our individual actions, and the more disciplined everyone can be during each step forward, the more steps we’ll be able to take to safely restart Vermont.”

Scott presented four metrics his administration was watching as the state reopened:

  • Syndromic surveillance: The percentage of visits to emergency care with either COVID-19-like illness or flu diagnosis.

  • Viral growth and reproductive rates: Case growth measured by daily, 3-day, 7-day, and effective reproductive rate.

  • Percentage of new positive tests: Percent of tests resulting in a new positive case.

  • ICU and critical care beds: Number of occupied and unoccupied medical-surgical and ICU beds.

Before May 15, Scott had signed several addendums to the stay-at-home order that authorized the authorizing limited resumption of some industries, primarily construction and manufacturing, while the stay-at-home order remained in effect.

Context

  • Between March 13 and March 24, Scott took incremental steps to close or restrict businesses and place limits on gatherings.

  • On March 24, Scott issued a stay-at-home order directing individuals to stay home unless performing critical services. The order was originally scheduled to expire on April 15. On April 10, Scott extended the order through May 15.

  • As of June 8, Vermont had reported 1,075 cases of COVID-19 and 55 deaths. Vermont’s estimated population as of July 2019 was 623,989. For every 100,000 residents, the state had 172.2 cases and 8.8 deaths.

  • Vermont has a divided government. The governor is a Republican, and Democrats have a majority of seats in the House and Senate.

Plan details

April 24

  • Scott issued Addendum 11 to Executive Order 01-20, authorizing up to five workers to perform outdoor and construction work in unoccupied structures. The order also allowed manufacturing to resume with up to five employees and in-person shopping at garden centers and greenhouses to resume with no more than 10 people including customers and staff.

May 1

  • Scott issued Addendum 12 to Executive Order 01-20, authorizing up to 10 workers to perform outdoor and construction work in unoccupied structures. Manufacturing businesses were permitted to operate with up to 10 employees.

May 4

  • Elective medical procedures were permitted to resume.

May 6

  • Scott issued Addendum 13 to Executive Order 01-20, authorizing residents to leave home to participate in outdoor recreation or fitness. Social interaction was limited to 10 people or fewer. Businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government entities that supported or offered outdoor recreation, including parks, trail networks, and golf courses, were permitted to reopen subject to restrictions.

May 15

  • Scott issued Addendum 14 to Executive Order 01-20, authorizing “Be Smart, Stay Safe” to replace the statewide stay-at-home order. The order encouraged, but did not require, public mask use, and permitted lodging operations to reopen with restrictions.

May 22

  • Scott issued Addendum 15 to Executive Order 01-20, authorizing restaurants and bars to offer outdoor seating. The addendum also permitted hair salons and barbershops to reopen by appointment with limits on occupancy effective May 29.

May 29

  • Scott issued Addendum 16 to Executive Order 01-20, authorizing social gatherings of 25 or fewer people effective June 1. Also on that day, close contact businesses like gyms, spas, and tattoo parlors were permitted to reopen with restrictions.

June 5

  • Scott issued Addendum 17 to Executive Order 01-20, authorizing restaurants and bars to offer limited indoor dining beginning June 8, so long as occupancy is limited to 25% of the legal capacity. Addendum 17 also removed the quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers from counties in New York and New England with 400 or fewer COVID-19 cases per million. Lodging occupancy limits were increased to 50% or 25 total guests, whichever is greater.


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Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of activities by other federal, state, and local governments and influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic. 

  • Twin Rivers Casino in Rhode Island reopened on June 8.

  • Disney released guidance for its resort hotels reopening on June 22. Face coverings must be worn by guests older than 2 except when dining or swimming. The guidelines also include increased frequency of cleaning high-traffic areas.

  • Big Horn County, Montana announced a new health order that is more restrictive than Montana’s Phase Two guidelines. It requires all employees of businesses in the county to have their temperatures checked before work and limits dine-in establishments to 50% capacity.

  • Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma announced that the park would reopen on June 19. Safety measures include contactless infrared thermal imaging to screen guest temperatures and requiring everyone to wear face masks (except on water slides and attractions).

Click here to learn more.



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