TagCoronavirus coverage

Tag for Ballotpedia stories covering coronavirus. Used for RSS feed email alerts.

Looking back at government responses to the coronavirus pandemic, June 1-5, 2020

Although the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020, it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout the year, states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, issued mask mandates, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. 

Here are the policy changes that happened June 1-5, 2020. This list is not comprehensive. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Monday, June 1, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders
    • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) ended the statewide stay-at-home order, allowing bars, restaurants, and retailers to reopen with restrictions. Whitmer first enacted the order on March 23, and extended it on April 25 and May 7.
  • Travel restrictions:
    • Delaware Gov. John Carney Jr. (D) ended the quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers.
  • Election changes:
    • Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) issued an executive order extending the absentee ballot receipt deadline for the June 2, 2020, primary to 5:00 p.m. on June 9(with a postmark deadline of June 2) in Allegheny, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties.
  • Federal government responses:
    • United States Secretary of Energy Dan Brouilette announced the Department of Energy would enter the first phase of its reopening plan June 8, allowing some mission-critical personnel to return to work at facilities in Washington and Maryland.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

  • Election changes:
    • Maine Governor Janet Mills (D) issued an executive order extending the voter pre-registration deadline in the July 14, 2020, election to July 7.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) allowed the statewide stay-at-home order to expire. He first issued the order, which applied to seven counties, on March 24. A subsequent order expanded that number to 26 counties. On April 1, the stay-at-home order applied to all 67 counties. 
  • Election changes:
    • A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit halted a district court order that all eligible Texas voters be allowed to cast absentee ballots throughout the pandemic in order to avoid transmission of COVID-19.
    • The Chancery Court for Tennessee’s Twentieth Judicial District ruled that Tennessee’s absentee voting law, which limits eligibility to those meeting certain criteria, “during the unique circumstances of the pandemic, constitutes an unreasonable burden on the fundamental right to vote guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution.” The court ordered the state to extend absentee voting eligibility to all Tennessee voters during the course of the pandemic.
    • Missouri Governor 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.

Friday, June 5, 2020

  • Travel restrictions
    • Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced that travelers from Louisiana would no longer need to self-quarantine for 14 days. The requirements remained in effect for visitors from Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey.
    • Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced that he would lift the quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers from counties across New England with similar COVID-19 caseloads to Vermont on June 8. Additionally, on June 8, Vermont residents would be allowed to travel to the non-quarantine counties and return home without quarantining for 14 days.
  • Election changes:
    • Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) signed HB751 into law, extending the candidate qualifying deadline for the November 3, 2020, election to July 24.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it would resume committal services in all but two VA national cemeteries on June 9.

For the most recent coronavirus news, including the latest on vaccines and mask mandates, subscribe to our daily newsletter, Documenting America’s Path to Recovery.



Delaware, Maine, New Jersey end face-covering requirements

Three states ended statewide public mask requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated people between May 21 and May 28.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) ended the statewide indoor mask requirement May 24. Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said businesses could require people to show proof of vaccination, but “the state of Maine is not going to enforce this idea of different policies for vaccinated and unvaccinated people, nor do we expect businesses to do so.” The state recommended unvaccinated people continue masking in indoor public spaces. Vaccinated and unvaccinated people still had to wear masks in schools and childcare centers, on public transportation, and in health care settings.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) lifted the state’s indoor mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated people on May 28. Masks will still be required in state offices open to the public, schools and childcare centers, on public transportation, and in health care settings. The six-foot social distancing requirement ended on the same day. Dance floors and standing service at bars and restaurants will also be permitted.

Delaware Gov. Jay Carney (D) signed an order on May 18 ending the statewide mask requirement, effective May 21. Carney said masks were still required in state offices open to the public, schools and childcare centers, on public transportation, and in health care settings. The order also strongly encouraged unvaccinated individuals to continue wearing masks in indoor businesses and public settings in compliance with CDC guidelines at the time.

Additionally, Hawaii lifted its outdoor mask requirements and New York lifted mask requirements for children ages two through five. Washington amended its existing mask orders to align with the CDC guidance issued May 13, exempting fully vaccinated individuals from most indoor mask requirements. 

Thirty-nine states issued statewide public mask requirements during the pandemic. Seventeen states had statewide mask orders as of May 28, including 13 of the 23 states with Democratic governors and four out of the 27 states with Republican governors. 

Of the 22 states that have fully ended statewide public mask requirements, 12 have Republican governors, and ten have Democratic governors. Nineteen states ended mask requirements through executive order, two (Kansas and Utah) ended mask requirements through legislative action, and one (Wisconsin) ended its mandate through court order.



Thirteen states prohibit proof-of-vaccination requirements

In 13 states, governors have issued orders or signed bills prohibiting some or all levels of government from issuing COVID-19 vaccine identification cards or requiring proof of vaccination as a condition for people to enter premises or receive services.

A proof-of-vaccination requirement can be a private or government requirement that people prove they’ve received a COVID-19 vaccine in order to receive business or government services. Vaccine identification cards or apps, which can be used to verify a person’s vaccine status, are sometimes referred to as vaccine passports.

All 13 states have a Republican governor.

In Alabama, Iowa, Montana, Texas, and Florida, bans on proof-of-vaccination requirements extend to some private businesses.

Governors in eight states—Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas—banned proof-of-vaccination requirements through executive orders. Governors in five states—Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Utah—signed legislation banning proof-of-vaccination requirements.

While several states have prohibited proof-of-vaccination requirements, New York and Hawaii have facilitated the creation of a vaccine status identification system or implemented policies allowing fully vaccinated individuals to bypass some COVID-19 restrictions.

In Hawaii, fully vaccinated individuals can travel between islands without quarantining or presenting a negative COVID-19 test if they can prove they’ve received a COVID-19 vaccine. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) launched the Excelsior Pass, an app that allows people to upload their vaccine status. Users can present the Excelsior App at events like sports games to sit in vaccinated sections that don’t require social distancing.

In Oregon, businesses and venues that verify vaccine status can allow fully vaccinated people to go without masks while indoors.



A look back at government responses to the coronavirus pandemic, May 25-29, 2020

Although the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020, it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout that spring, states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, issued mask mandates, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. 

Here are the policy changes that happened May 25-29, 2020. This list is not comprehensive. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Monday, May 25, 2020

  • Election changes:
    • Judge J. Michelle Childs, of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, issued a preliminary injunction barring election officials from enforcing South Carolina’s witness requirement for absentee ballots in the June 9 primary and subsequent runoff elections. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

  • Travel restrictions:
    • Delaware Gov. John Carney Jr. (D) announced that he would end travel restrictions on out-of-state visitors on June 1.
  • Federal government responses:
    • President Donald Trump (R) banned foreign travelers who had been in Brazil in the last 14 days from entering the United States. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

  • Election changes:
    • The Texas state supreme court ruled that a voter’s lack of immunity to COVID-19 does not qualify as a disability under the state’s election laws and, therefore, cannot be cited as an excuse for voting absentee.
    • The Montana Supreme Court voted 5-2 to halt a lower court order that had extended the absentee ballot receipt deadline for the June 2 primary election to June 8.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Department of Defense (DoD) said it would gradually lift limits on deployments, redeployments, and movement of military and civilian personnel within the United States and between countries on a geographic basis. 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

  • Travel restrictions
    • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced she was modifying the quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers to permit some business travel.

Friday, May 29, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • Northern Virginia (NOVA), as well as Richmond and Accomack County, moved into Phase One of the “Forward Virginia” reopening plan, ending the stay-at-home order in that region. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) previously ended the statewide stay-at-home order for all counties except those in the NOVA region on May 15. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) allowed the statewide stay-at-home order to expire. He issued the order on March 20, and extended it on March 31 and April 23. 
  • Travel restrictions
    • Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) announced he was extending the 14-day quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers and residents returning to the state through June 5. According to Dunleavy, travelers who could prove they tested negative for COVID-19 before coming to Alaska could bypass the 14-day quarantine requirement. Dunleavy asked travelers to get tested at least 72 hours before arriving in the state.
    • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) issued an updated travel advisory that asked visitors to follow CDC guidelines, which included social distancing and wearing a face covering. 
  • Mask requirements:
    • Virginia Gov. Northam issued an order requiring people 10 and older to wear a mask when indoors. 

For the most recent coronavirus news, including the latest on vaccines and mask mandates, subscribe to our daily newsletter, Documenting America’s Path to Recovery



Colorado, Maryland, North Carolina end mask requirements

Three states ended statewide public mask requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated people between May 14 and May 20.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) ended the statewide mask requirement on May 14. Masks are still required for unvaccinated visitors to nursing homes, prisons, and hospitals, and in certain school settings. Vaccinated and unvaccinated people must still comply with federal law, which requires masking on public transportation and at public transportation hubs like bus stations and airports.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) ended the statewide mask mandate on May 15. The state still requires vaccinated and unvaccinated people to wear masks in schools and hospitals, as well as on public transportation.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D) ended the statewide mask mandate for vaccinated and unvaccinated people on May 14. Masks are still required for all people, regardless of vaccination status, on public transportation and in healthcare settings.

Additionally, at least eight more states amended their existing mask orders to align with the CDC guidance issued May 13, exempting fully vaccinated individuals from most indoor mask requirements. Those states are Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

Thirty-nine states issued statewide public mask requirements during the pandemic. Twenty-one states had statewide mask orders at the time of this writing, including 17 of the 23 states with Democratic governors and four out of the 27 states with Republican governors. 

Of those 21 states, six required masks for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Fifteen states exempted fully vaccinated people.

Of the 18 states that have fully ended statewide public mask requirements, 12 have Republican governors, and six have Democratic governors. Fifteen states ended mask requirements through executive order, two (Kansas and Utah) ended mask requirements through legislative action, and one (Wisconsin) ended its mandate through court order.



17 states have announced dates to end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits

On May 4, 2021, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte (R) became the first governor in the U.S. to announce his state would opt out of all federal unemployment benefit programs related to the coronavirus pandemic by June 30. Gianforte said, “Incentives matter, and the vast expansion of federal unemployment benefits is now doing more harm than good. We need to incentivize Montanans to reenter the workforce. Our return-to-work bonus and the return to pre-pandemic unemployment programs will help get more Montanans back to work.”

Since Gianforte’s announcement, at least 16 additional states have also announced plans to end enhanced federal unemployment benefits related to COVID-19. All 17 states that are ending pandemic federal unemployment benefits have Republican trifectas.

The table below summarizes when each state will end federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits:

The American Rescue Plan, signed on March 11, 2021, extended federal unemployment benefit programs related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including the federal government’s $300 per week add-on to state unemployment benefits, through September 6, 2021.

Want daily updates about changes to government policies regarding vaccine eligibility, travel restrictions, and more? Our Documenting America’s Path to Recovery newsletter delivers the latest coronavirus-related updates to our subscribers’ inboxes each weekday. Click here to subscribe.

Additional reading:



A look back at government responses to the coronavirus pandemic, May 18-22, 2020

Although the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020, it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout that spring, states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, issued mask mandates, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. 

Here are the policy changes that happened May 18-22, 2020. This list is not comprehensive. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Monday, May 18, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) allowed the stay-at-home order to expire. He issued the order March 23 and renewed it on March 31 and May 4. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) replaced the state’s stay-at-home order with the “Ohioans Protecting Ohioans Urgent Health Advisory.” The order eased the requirement that most residents stay at home, but kept the 10-person gathering limit in place.
  • Election changes:
    • Judge Samuel Frederick Biery, of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, ordered that all eligible Texas voters be allowed to cast absentee ballots in order to avoid transmission of COVID-19. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a temporary stay against Biery’s order later that day.
    • A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a lower court decision reinstating New York’s Democratic presidential preference primary on June 23.
    • Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) announced that all registered voters in the August 4 primary and November 3 general election would receive mail-in ballot applications automatically.
  • Federal government responses:
    • President Donald Trump (R) issued an executive order directing federal agencies to remove regulatory barriers to economic activity as part of a coronavirus pandemic recovery effort.
    • Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced the U.S. would extend travel restrictions in place at the Canadian and Mexican borders another 30 days. The Department of Homeland Security enacted the restrictions in late March in cooperation with both countries, and extended them for an additional 30 days on April 20. The orders prohibited travel for tourism or recreation but allowed travel for trade and commerce.
    • The White House announced that the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, had awarded a $354 million contract to Phlow Corp., a Virginia-based pharmaceutical company, to manufacture generic medicines and ingredients used to treat COVID-19. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) allowed the statewide stay-at-home order to expire, beginning the first phase of a four-phase reopening plan. The first phase allowed some businesses—like offices and retail stores—to reopen with restrictions. 
  • Election changes:
    • Lamont issued an executive order extending absentee voting eligibility to any registered voter in the August 11 primary if there is no “federally approved and widely available vaccine for prevention of COVID-19” at the time he or she requests an absentee ballot.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

  • Travel restrictions
    • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) ended the requirement that out-of-state travelers quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the state. Abbott first issued the travel restriction on March 26. 
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Department of Defense ended a ban on new recruits who had been hospitalized for COVID-19 at any point in the past. Matthew Donovan, the under secretary of Defense for personnel and readiness, said the military would evaluate recruits who had recovered from the disease on a case-by-case basis.

Friday, May 22, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) replaced the statewide stay-at-home order with a “Safer at Home” order. The order allowed restaurants to open to indoor dining at 50% capacity, but kept bars and playgrounds closed. 

For the most recent coronavirus news, including the latest on vaccines and mask mandates, subscribe to our daily newsletter, Documenting America’s Path to Recovery



At least 7 states amend mask requirements to align with updated CDC guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) amended its mask guidance May 13. The new guidance says fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks in most indoor and outdoor public settings, regardless of the number of people gathered.  

The guidance still recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks and social distance at doctor’s offices, hospitals, and long-term care facilities like nursing homes. Masks are also recommended in congregate settings (like homeless shelters and prisons), when traveling on public transportation (like on planes and buses), and at transportation hubs like airports and bus stations.

At least 7 states amended their existing mask orders to align with CDC guidance and exempt fully vaccinated individuals from most indoor mask requirements, as of May 14 at 1:00 p.m. EST.

  1. Pennsylvania
  2. Kentucky
  3. Nevada
  4. Oregon
  5. Washington
  6. Vermont
  7. West Virginia

Ballotpedia tracked four other changes and announced changes to state mask requirements:

  1. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) fully ended the statewide mask mandate for vaccinated and unvaccinated residents on May 14. 
  2. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced May 13 he would amend the state’s mask requirements to align with CDC guidance starting May 19. 
  3. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced May 13 he would amend the state’s mask requirements to align with the CDC guidance but did not say when he would update the order.
  4. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said he will lift the statewide indoor mask mandate once 70% of adult residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. At the time of the announcement, that figure stood at 65%.

Thirty-nine states issued statewide public mask requirements during the pandemic. Twenty-four states had statewide mask orders at the time of this writing, including 19 of the 23 states with Democratic governors and five out of the 27 states with Republican governors. 

Of those 24 states, 17 required masks for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Seven states exempted fully vaccinated people.

Of the 15 states that have fully ended statewide public mask requirements, 11 have Republican governors, and four have Democratic governors. Twelve states have ended mask requirements through executive order, two (Kansas and Utah) have ended mask requirements through legislative action, and one (Wisconsin) has ended its mandate through court order.

Additional Reading: 



Texas voters will decide amendment prohibiting restrictions on religious gatherings and organizations in November

The Texas State Legislature voted Tuesday to refer its first constitutional amendment to the November ballot. The amendment would add a section to the state constitution prohibiting the state or any political subdivision from issuing or enacting a statute, order, or rule that prohibits or limits religious services, including religious services conducted in churches.

The amendment was proposed in response to the restrictions put in place requiring religious institutions to refrain from meeting in person in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Texas cities and counties issued stay-at-home orders requiring religious gatherings to stream their services. On March 31, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order that included “religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship” in the definition of “essential services.”

Rep. Scott Sanford (R), who voted in favor of the amendment, said, “Churches provide essential spiritual, mental and physical support in a time of crisis. Closing churches not only eliminated these critical ministries and services, but it violated their religious freedom, guaranteed by our laws and Constitution.”

Douglas Laycock, professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, opposes the measure and similar bills considered by the legislature: “There are very few occasions or reasons on which it would ever be necessary to shut down a place of worship, but COVID is one.”

As of May 10, Ballotpedia has identified 10 measures appearing on statewide ballots that were proposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic and coronavirus-related regulations. On May 18, 2021, Pennsylvanians will decide on two constitutional amendments on the governor’s emergency powers, which have been a point of conflict between the Republican-controlled Legislature and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf during the pandemic. The other ballot measures, which will be decided in 2022, concern changes to election procedures, convening state legislatures, and increasing appropriations limits during emergencies.

In Texas, to put a legislatively referred constitutional amendment before voters, a two-thirds (66.67%) supermajority vote is required in both the Texas State Senate and the Texas House of Representatives. This requirement amounts to 100 votes in the House and 21 votes in the Senate.

The amendment was introduced as Senate Joint Resolution 27 on January 25, 2021. On March 25, 2021, the state Senate passed SJR 27 in a vote of 28-2 with one absent. All but two Democratic members voted in favor of the amendment. On May 11, 2021, the House approved the amendment by a vote of 108-33, with nine not voting or absent. In the House, 27 Democrats joined the Republican majority, and 33 Democrats were in the minority.

At the general election on November 3, 2020, Republicans retained control of the House and Senate. They maintained their 83-67 majority in the House and lost one seat in the Senate. The new majority in the Senate following the election was 18-13, which means support from at least three Democrats is needed to pass a constitutional amendment in the Senate.

During the 2021 legislative session, 218 constitutional amendments were filed in the Texas State Legislature. Legislators were permitted to file constitutional amendments through March 12, 2021, unless permission was given to introduce an amendment after the deadline. Democrats filed 92 (42.2%) of the constitutional amendments. Republicans filed 126 (57.8%) of the constitutional amendments. The legislature has until May 31st when it adjourns to refer a measure to the ballot.

Since 1876 when the current constitution was adopted, it has been amended 507 times. Voters approved 91% (154 of 169) and rejected 9% (15 of 169) of the constitutional amendments on ballots between 1995 and 2019.

Additional Reading:



A look back at government responses to the coronavirus pandemic, May 11-15, 2020

Although the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020, it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout that spring, states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, issued mask mandates, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. 

Here are the policy changes that happened May 11-15, 2020. This list is not comprehensive. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Monday, May 11, 2020

  • Election changes:
    • Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (D) issued an executive order reducing petition signature requirements for all candidates by 30%. He also extended the filing deadlines for major-party and unaffiliated candidates by two days, to June 11, 2020, and August 7, 2020, respectively.
  • Federal government responses:
    • In a call with state governors, Vice President Mike Pence (R) said the federal government was recommending that states test all nursing home staff and residents over the next two weeks.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

  • Travel restrictions
    • The requirement in Oklahoma for out-of-state travelers from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Louisiana, and Washington to self-quarantine for 14 days ended with the release of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s (R) Amended Executive Order 2020-13. Amended Executive Order 2020-13 asked out-of-state travelers to adhere to all CDC recommendations.
    • The Kansas Department of Health and Environment mandated that residents who had traveled to Maryland self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Election changes:
    • Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (D) signed HF3429 into law, authorizing general election candidates to submit filing forms and petitions electronically.
    • The Republican Party of Indiana announced that it would cancel its in-person state convention, which had been scheduled to take place on June 20, 2020. Instead, the party opted to conduct convention business virtually and by mail.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm overstepped her authority when she extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 26 on behalf of Gov. Tony Evers (D). The ruling invalidated all statewide coronavirus restrictions.  
  • Election changes:
    • South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster (R) signed into law a bill allowing any eligible South Carolina voter to request an absentee ballot for the state’s June 9, 2020, primary and subsequent runoff elections.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

  • Travel restrictions
    • Arkansas Secretary of Health Nathaniel Smith issued a 14-day quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers who have been in an international location or New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, or New Orleans in the last 14 days.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that it would publicly post CDC data on all nursing homes across the country by the end of May. The data was set to include suspected and confirmed cases and deaths at each facility.

Friday, May 15, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) replaced the statewide stay-at-home order with a new initiative called “Be Smart, Stay Safe.” The new initiative relaxed some restrictions on businesses and allowed up to 25 people to gather outdoors. 
    • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) allowed the statewide stay-at-home order to expire. He first issued the order on April 1 and extended it on April 29. 
    • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) allowed the statewide stay-at-home order to expire on May 15 at 5:00 p.m. He first issued the order on March 30. 
    • Louisiana Gov. John Edwards (D) allowed the statewide stay-at-home order to expire. He first issued the order on March 22. 
    • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) allowed the statewide stay-at-home order to expire. He issued the order on March 30 and extended it through May 15 on April 29.  
  • Travel restrictions
    • Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) announced that out-of-state visitors would no longer need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entering the state. Little said travelers were still encouraged to self-quarantine.
  • Election changes:
    • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) issued Executive Order No. 144, providing for expanded mail-in voting in the July 7, 2020, elections. All registered, active Democratic and Republican voters were set to receive mail-in ballots automatically. Unaffiliated and inactive voters were set to receive mail-in ballot applications automatically.
  • Federal government responses:
    • President Donald Trump (R) announced the creation of Operation Warp Speed, an administration task force meant to help develop a coronavirus vaccine. Moncef Slaoui was named as the task force’s chief scientist, and U.S. Army General Gustave Perna was named as its chief operating officer.
    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued reopening guidelines for businesses and workplaces, including bars and restaurants.
  • Mask requirements:
    • On May 15, 2020, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed a modified emergency public health order requiring individuals to wear face coverings in public. 

For the most recent coronavirus news, including the latest on vaccines and mask mandates, subscribe to our daily newsletter, Documenting America’s Path to Recovery