Since our last edition
What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.
- California (Democratic trifecta): The state lifted the Greater Sacramento region’s stay-at-home order on Jan. 12, marking the first time a regional stay-at-home order has ended in California. The region’s stay-at-home order began on Dec. 10. Three of the state’s five regions still have active stay-at-home orders. Counties in the Greater Sacramento region are now subject to the state’s color-coded risk level restrictions. For more information on restrictions in each county, click here.
- Idaho (Republican trifecta): Gov. Brad Little (R) announced the state is starting its next phase of vaccine distribution. Little said teachers, school staff, and first responders would be prioritized between Jan. 13-31. The first phase included frontline healthcare workers and nursing home staff and residents. Individuals age 65 and older will be able to access the vaccine starting February 1.
- Louisiana (divided government): Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) extended the state’s modified Phase 2 reopening until Feb. 10. The modified phase limits restaurants, retailers, gyms, personal care businesses, and movie theaters to 50% capacity. Bars must close indoor service if their parish has a positivity rate greater than 5%. Bars that are permitted to open are limited to 25% capacity. All indoor and outdoor gatherings are limited to the lesser of 25% capacity or a maximum of 75 people indoors or 150 people outdoors.
- Massachusetts (divided government): On Tuesday, Jan. 12, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that Gillette Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots, would serve as the state’s first mass vaccination site. The site is currently equipped to administer up to 300 vaccines a day to first responders. Baker said that number will increase to 5,000 per day as more individuals become eligible.
- New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): On Jan. 13, Gov Phil Murphy (D) announced the state will begin offering vaccines to individuals age 65 and older “effective almost immediately, within the next day or two.”
- New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) expanded Phase 1b of the state’s vaccination plan to include individuals age 65 and older and immunocompromised individuals. Previously, only individuals 75 and older were eligible.
- Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): On Tuesday, Jan. 12, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced that schools enforcing social distancing and mask-wearing will not have to quarantine students who were potentially exposed to the virus but are not showing symptoms. The new policy does not apply to students who were potentially exposed during after-school activities, including sports. Previously, schools were required to enforce a two-week quarantine for students potentially exposed to COVID-19, whether or not they exhibited symptoms.
- Oregon (Democratic trifecta):
- Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that effective Jan. 15-28, 26 counties will be in the state’s Extreme Risk level, two will be at High Risk, two will be at Moderate Risk, and six will have Lower Risk restrictions. To see restrictions in a specific county or risk level, click here.
- Brown also announced individuals age 65 and older will be included in the next phase of the state’s vaccine distribution plan, starting Jan. 23, along with childcare workers and school staff.
- South Carolina (Republican trifecta): Individuals age 70 or older can begin scheduling appointments to receive a vaccine starting Jan. 13.
- Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Tuesday, Jan. 12, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued an order allowing statewide elected officials to be sworn in remotely, instead of at the Washington state capitol building.
In this section, we feature examples of other federal, state, and local government activity, private industry responses, and lawsuits related to the pandemic.
- On Tuesday, Jan. 12, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced the federal government was changing its vaccine distribution guidelines and recommending states expand the pool of eligible recipients to include everyone 65 and older, including people with underlying health conditions. Additionally, Azar said the federal government would begin shipping second doses to states instead of holding them in reserve. He also announced a new system for allocating vaccines to states. Instead of basing the allocation on the total adult population in a state, the allocation will now be based on the population of people age 65 and older, as well as on how quickly states can administer vaccines.