TagCoronavirus

Ballotpedia stories covering coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020.

Coronavirus Daily Update: June 2nd, 2020

As part of Ballotpedia’s coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, we are compiling a daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day. Here is the summary of changes for June 2, 2020.

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 2, stay-at-home orders have ended in 35 states. Eighteen of those states have Republican governors and 17 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order). Of the eight states with active stay-at-home orders, seven have Democratic governors and one has a Republican governor.

The 1918 influenza pandemic

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

The 1918 midterm elections occurred during the 1918 flu pandemic, one of the most severe in history. Each day, 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 November 7, 1918, The Pioneer in Minnesota published an article titled, “Counting of Ballots Tedious Operation.” The article discussed how Bemidji, Minnesota’s precinct counting was a slow process because of the number of candidates and ballots. 

“Bemidji’s precinct count dragged throughout election night and far into the next day. Some of the [precincts] started the count on the state ticket and some on the county. The polls closed at 9 o’clock and the lunch hour also occupied its space of time. It was a slow process on account of the number of candidates and state and county ballots. 

The county precincts commenced to report during the morning following the election and over half the county was in by the evening, with more following today, a hard task being well done…The most distressing incident of the county election was that Editor ‘Bill’ Noonan of the Baudette Region was confined to his room with the Spanish ‘flu.’ Election time and election day is Editor Noonan’s greatest pastime.” 

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

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 98 lawsuits, spanning 34 states, relating to governmental actions undertaken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 34 of those lawsuits.
  • Ballotpedia has separately tracked another 90 lawsuits, spanning 32 states, dealing with the administration of elections in light of the pandemic. Orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 39 of those lawsuits.

Details:

  • Curtin v. Virginia State Board of Elections – On May 29, Judge Rossie Alston, of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, rejected a challenge to Virginia’s temporary expansion of absentee voting eligibility in the state’s May and June elections. The state department of elections had advised local registrars that all voters could cite disability or illness as their reason for requesting absentee ballots, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. The plaintiffs alleged that state officials had exceeded their authority in doing this and that such expansion would increase the number of votes cast unlawfully, thereby diluting the impact of votes cast lawfully. The plaintiffs requested that the court issue a preliminary injunction barring officials from implementing the policy. Alston rejected the motion: “Undermining belief in the purity of the electoral process, whether by inappropriately facilitating the participation of some or by diluting the participation of others, inherently brings us to question the sanctity of the democratic process itself. The bottom-line here is that while the basis of Plaintiffs’ Complaint may be well-founded, the Court is constrained at this time from remedying these constitutional grievances.”

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. 
  • Sixteen states have modified their candidate filing requirements.
  • Twenty-eight states have made modifications to their voting procedures.
  • Political parties in 19 states have made changes to party events on a statewide basis.

Details:

  • PennsylvaniaOn June 1, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) issued an executive order extending the absentee ballot receipt deadline for the June 2 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.

Ballot measure changes

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

Overview:

  • Ballotpedia has tracked 22 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  • Seven states and D.C. changed ballot measure procedures.
  • At least 12 lawsuits were filed in ten different states seeking court orders suspending or changing signature requirements and deadlines. Rulings or settlements have been issued for nine.
  • At least two initiative campaigns reported they had enough signatures but are delaying signature submission so their measures appear on the ballot in 2022 instead of 2020.

School closures

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

Overview:

  • Forty-eight states have closed schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year. Those states account for 99.4% of the 50.6 million public school students in the country. The two states to not close schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year are Montana and Wyoming.
  • All 50 states ordered a statewide school closure in some form.

Details:

  • Ohio – Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced that he intended to reopen schools for in-person instruction this fall. DeWine said that the state is still working to develop health guidelines for schools and that districts would be given the flexibility to determine their start date.

Travel restrictions

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

Overview:

  • Of the 21 executive orders issued by governors or state agencies placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors, at least nine have been rescinded.

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.

Details:

  • New Jersey – The New Jersey Supreme Court extended restrictions on in-person proceedings through June 14.
  • Vermont – Beginning June 1, courts in Vermont expanded operations to allow for more remote hearings and some in-person hearings. Visitors to courthouses will need to wear masks and answer health-related screening questions before coming inside. Jury trials remain on hold until September.

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 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:

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

Details:

  • Florida – Gov. Rick DeSantis (R) extended the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures in the state through July 1.  

State legislative responses

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

Overview: 

  • To date, 1,698 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
  • Of these, 143 significant bills have been enacted into law, about 8.4 percent of the total number that have been 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: 

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


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: June 2, 2020

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.

We’re covering elections for 1,011 offices in 12 states and Washington, D.C. on June 2. Here’s how you can follow the results.

  • View election results on Ballotpedia.
  • Subscribe to The Heart of the Primaries and receive key primary results in your inbox.
  • Register for our free results webinar, happening June 4 at noon eastern.

The next two days

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

June 3

  • New York (Democratic trifecta): On June 1, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that the Capital region is expected to enter Phase 2 of Cuomo’s reopening plan “NY Forward” on June 3. Western New York entered Phase 2 on June 2. Read more about New York’s reopening in today’s Featured Plan.

June 4

  • Michigan (divided government): On June 1, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) issued an executive order allowing retail stores to reopen statewide on June 4. For stores with less than 50,000 square feet of customer floor place, capacity will be limited to 25%. For larger stores, the number of customers cannot exceed four per 1,000 square feet of customer floor space. Whitmer also lifted the state’s stay-at-home order effective immediately and moved the entire state into Phase 4 of its reopening plan. The stay-at-home order had been set to expire on June 12.

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.

  • Colorado (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed an order he called “Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors.” The order allows vulnerable Colorado residents to leave their homes for outside recreation as long as they wear face coverings and practice social distancing. The order also allows short-term rentals, playgrounds, and swimming pools to reopen. Personal care services may begin operating at 50% capacity on June 4 and child care facilities can begin operating at full capacity on that date. The order is set to last until July 1.
  • Louisiana (divided government): On June 1, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced the state would move into Phase 2 of its reopening plan, effective June 5. In Phase 2, the following businesses will be allowed to reopen at 50% capacity: restaurants and coffee shops; shopping malls; gyms and fitness centers; barbershops and nail salons; movie theaters; racetracks (without spectators); museums, zoos, and aquariums; bars and breweries with food permits; massage and spa businesses; tattoo parlors; esthetician services; pool halls, bowling alleys, and skating rinks; event centers and wedding venues; and outdoor playgrounds and play centers. Phase 2 will last at least 21 days. Edwards said he would sign the executive order formalizing the changes before June 4.
  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): Maine entered the second phase of its reopening plan on June 1. The following businesses and activities were allowed to reopen or resume: retail stores; dine-in service at restaurants (outdoor service only in York, Cumberland, and Androscoggin counties); community buildings; day camps and summer recreation programs; state park campgrounds; coastal state parks; community sports; lodging; and tanning salons. The limit on social gatherings was raised from 10 to 50 people.
  • Massachusetts (divided government): On June 1, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) issued an executive order outlining which businesses would be permitted to reopen in phases 2, 3, and 4 of the state’s reopening plan. Although Baker did not fix a date for the start of Phase 2, he authorized businesses to allow employees to return to work in preparation for Phase 2. In Phase 2, the following businesses will be allowed to reopen: retail stores; restaurants; hotels, motels, and other lodging; amateur sports programs; professional sports practice and training programs; personal services; non-athletic instructional classes for youths; driving and flight schools; outdoor historical spaces; funeral homes; warehouses and distribution centers; golf facilities; outdoor recreation facilities; post-secondary schools; day camps; and public libraries.
  • New Hampshire (divided government): As part of Gov. Chris Sununu’s (R) “Stay-at-Home 2.0” order, the following businesses and activities were permitted to resume on June 1: gyms and fitness centers (50% occupancy), personal services such as nail salons (50% occupancy), and some beaches (for transitory activities like walking and running only).
  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): At a press conference on June 1, Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced the state had entered Week 6 of the reopening plan and the outlined next steps. More businesses, like casinos and movie theaters, will reopen on June 5.
  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Gov. David Ige (D) announced the 14-day self-quarantine requirement for inter-island travelers will be lifted starting June 16. Restrictions on out-of-state travel will remain in effect.

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 2, stay-at-home orders have ended in 35 states. Eighteen of those states have Republican governors and 17 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order). Of the eight states with active stay-at-home orders, seven have Democratic governors and one has a Republican governor.

Here’s which stay-at-home orders have expired, and when the rest are scheduled to expire.

 

Tracking regulations: Retail

All 50 states began to reopen in some way. Here, we give the status of one industry or activity across the states. Today’s question: in which states are retail shops open to customers, and in which states are they limited to curbside or delivery service?

Retail shops are open to customers (in at least some regions) in 48 states. New Jersey and Massachusetts allow curbside or delivery only.

  • Massachusetts (divided government): Retail businesses were allowed to reopen with remote ordering and curbside delivery services beginning May 25. Each phase of reopening in Massachusetts is expected to last for three weeks, so the status of retail in the state could change on June 15.
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Retail businesses were allowed to reopen for curbside pickup and delivery services beginning May 18. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has already announced that retail businesses will be allowed to reopen to in-store customers with limited capacity 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.

Previous featured plans

Alabama Florida Maryland New Hampshire South Carolina
Arizona Georgia Massachusetts New Mexico Tennessee
California Illinois Michigan Ohio Texas
Colorado Indiana Montana Oklahoma Virginia
Delaware Maine Nevada Pennsylvania Washington

On April 26, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) unveiled a reopening plan for the state, under which businesses would be allowed to reopen or resume operations on a phased, regional basis. Once a region has recorded 14 days of declining hospitalizations, it can begin reopening. Each phase would last at least two weeks, allowing officials to monitor the effects of reopening on hospitalization and infection rates.

Cuomo said the first phase of reopening would include construction and manufacturing companies with low risks of workplace infection. Subsequent phases would allow more businesses to reopen, with lower-risk businesses given priority.

On May 4, Cuomo released further guidelines on New York’s phased reopening. He identified seven criteria for determining whether a region could begin reopening:

  1. A region must experience a 14-day decline in total net hospitalizations on a three-day rolling average. Alternatively, a region with relatively few COVID-19 cases cannot exceed 15 net new hospitalizations on a three-day rolling average.
  2. A region must experience a 14-day decline in deaths on a three-day rolling average. If a region has relatively few COVID-19 cases, it must see five or fewer new deaths on a three-day rolling average.
  3. A region must have fewer than two new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals per 100,000 residents per day on a three-day rolling average.
  4. A region must have at least 30% of its total hospital beds available.
  5. A region must have at least 30% of its ICU beds available.
  6. A region must have the capacity to run 30 diagnostic tests for every 1,000 residents per month.
  7. A region must have a baseline of 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents.

Cuomo said, “Rather than starting and stopping, you’d rather have a controlled start, so you don’t have to stop, right? And that’s what you learn from the other countries. You reopen too fast, then you have to stop, and nobody wants to have gone through all of this and then start just to stop again. Well, how does that happen? First of all, it’s not going to happen statewide. This state has different regions which are in much different situations than other regions in this state. And rather than wait for the whole state to be ready, reopen on a regional basis. If upstate has to wait for downstate to be ready, they’re going to be waiting a long time.”

For the purposes of the reopening plan, New York is divided into the following regions. As of June 1, all regions but New York City had met all seven of the reopening criteria. To access a map of the state’s regions, click here.

  • Capital Region
  • Central New York
  • Finger Lakes
  • Long Island
  • Mid-Hudson
  • Mohawk Valley
  • New York City
  • North Country
  • Southern Tier
  • Western New York

Context

  • On March 20, Cuomo issued New York’s initial statewide stay-at-home order. It did not have a fixed expiration date. On April 16, he extended the order through May 15. Cuomo subsequently further extended the order in those regions that haven’t met the reopening criteria, first through June 13, and then through June 27.
  • As of June 1, New York had 371,711 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 23,959 related fatalities. New York’s estimated population as of July 2019 was 19.5 million. For every 100,000 residents, the state had 1,910.8 confirmed cases and 123.2 fatalities.
  • New York is a Democratic trifecta, with a Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Plan details

General guidelines for individuals

Individuals are required to wear face coverings when they are in public and within six feet of others. Individuals must also wear face coverings in any public or private transportation carrier or for-hire vehicle.

Effective May 21, religious gatherings of up to 10 people were permitted statewide. Drive-in and parking-lot services were also allowed effective May 21.

Phase 1

The following businesses are allowed to reopen during Phase 1 (click an industry name for detailed guidelines):

The following regions have been cleared for Phase 1:

  • Capital Region (effective May 20)
  • Central New York (effective May 15)
  • Finger Lakes (effective May 15)
  • Long Island (effective May 27)
  • Mid-Hudson (effective May 26)
  • Mohawk Valley (effective May 15)
  • North Country (effective May 15)
  • Southern Tier (effective May 15)
  • Western New York (effective May 19)

Phase 2

The following businesses are allowed to reopen during Phase 2, all at 50% occupancy (click an industry name for detailed guidelines):

The following regions have been cleared for Phase 2:

  • Capital Region (expected to enter Phase 2 on June 3)
  • Central New York (effective May 29)
  • Finger Lakes (effective May 29)
  • Mohawk Valley (effective May 29)
  • North Country (effective May 29)
  • Southern Tier (effective May 29)
  • Western New York (effective June 2)

Phase 3

The state has not released industry-specific guidelines for Phase 3 reopening. No region has been cleared for Phase 3 reopening.

Phase 4

The state has not released industry-specific guidelines for Phase 4 reopening. No region has been cleared for Phase 4 reopening.

New York City

On May 29, Cuomo announced that New York City was expected to enter Phase 1 on June 8.

Reactions

  • Tioga County Legislature Chairwoman Martha Sauerbrey said, “I think it’s a mixed bag of emotions, because I do hear from people who are fearful and cautious, and I know businesses need to open and want to open, but we want them to be careful. There’s no covering up the fact that this has been challenging, so we have to do everything we can to get them back up and running.”
  • Denis Nash, an epidemiologist, said the following at the time of Cuomo’s May 4 reopening announcement: “So, right now, New York has been, I think, pretty successful at reducing community transmission through the stay at home order. By the time it’s lifted, it should be very, very low. And so we’re kind of back to a place where we were early on in the epidemic and then a testing and a contact-tracing strategy becomes more feasible.”
  • On May 29, Nick Langworthy, chairman of the Republican Party of New York, issued a statement opposing Cuomo’s decision not to advance some regions to Phase 2: “It’s time for Andrew Cuomo to stop playing games with people’s livelihoods. The Governor’s capricious, arbitrary and punitive behavior has gone too far. These regions worked incredibly hard to meet the metrics he laid out and changing the goal posts at the 11th hour is unacceptable. We don’t need a group of international so-called experts or a power-hungry governor dictating our freedoms. Enough is enough.”
  • Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin said, “If we’ve got to test 30 per 1,000 residents, that’s 4,800 Rensselaer County residents every single month. Quite honestly, I don’t think the demand is there. I mean, am I supposed to test the same people over and over again? If he requires hospitals to stay 30 percent empty, there’s not a hospital that I know of that will not go bankrupt this year. At our peak in Rensselaer County there were 20 people hospitalized. I currently have six, one in the ICU, and our economy is at a complete standstill.”

Find out more in today’s Number of the Day→

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.

  • On June 1, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) issued an executive order extending the absentee ballot receipt deadline for the June 2 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.
  • The National Park Service announced plans to reopen two national monuments in New Mexico, El Malpais National Monument, and El Morro National Monument. El Malpais could reopen for access to trailheads on June 1, though the Visitor Center will remain closed. El Morro will tentatively reopen in mid-June on a Wednesday through Sunday schedule for trails and camping.
  • Hollywood Studios submitted an industry reopening plan titled “Proposed Health and Safety Guidelines for Motion Picture, Television, and Streaming Productions During the COVID-19 Pandemic” to California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on June 1. The plan includes testing and social distancing measures, as well as special considerations such as avoiding live audiences and on-location filming as much as possible.
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced he intends to reopen schools for in-person instruction this fall. DeWine said the state is still working to develop health guidelines for schools and that districts would be given the flexibility to determine their start date.


Pennsylvania extends absentee ballot receipt deadline to June 9 in six counties; postmark deadline remains June 2

On June 1, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) issued an executive order extending the absentee ballot receipt deadline for the June 2 primary to 5:00 p.m. on June 9 (with a postmark deadline of June 2, 2020) in Allegheny, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. In all other counties, a return deadline of June 2 remains in effect.

Pennsylvania’s primary was originally scheduled to take place on April 28. On March 27, Wolf signed into law legislation postponing the primary to June 2. The law also authorized counties to consolidate polling places without court approval and begin processing mail-in ballots beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.

Pennsylvania is one of 28 states that have modified their absentee/mail-in voting procedures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: June 1, 2020

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 Friday? Click here.



The next two days

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

  • Louisiana (divided government): Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) was scheduled to hold a media briefing at 2:30 p.m. local time, June 1. He is expected to make an announcement on the prospect of further reopenings. We will have more details in Tuesday’s edition. 
  • Massachusetts (divided government): Gov. Charlie Baker (R) is expected to issue an executive order on June 1 outlining which business sectors will be allowed to resume operations in each phase of the state’s reopening. We will have more details in Tuesday’s edition. Baker said a decision on the start date for Phase 2 would come on June 6. 


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.

  • Arkansas (Republican trifecta): The Arkansas Department of Health announced that community and school-sponsored team sports could resume beginning June 1. Bands are allowed to resume marching activities without wind instruments. College athletics are not included in this reopening.

  • Arizona (Republican trifecta): The Department of Education released its 36-page “Roadmap for Reopening Schools.” The document covers four different scenarios: in-person instruction from the beginning of the year, some students distance learning and some students learning in-person at the start of the year, all students distance learning at the start of the year, and intermittent distance learning throughout the year, depending on local conditions.

  • Delaware (Democratic trifecta): The state’s stay-at-home order expired on May 31. The order first took effect on March 24. Delaware was the 16th state to enact a stay-at-home order and was the 31st state to end its stay-at-home order (along with others that ended on May 31).

  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): The state entered the Act with Care phase of reopening. On June 1, Hawaii and Maui counties are opening personal care services (like salons and barbershops) and dine-in services at restaurants. Hawaii County also began opening places of worship. The state’s stay-at-home order expired on May 31, making it the 31st state to end a stay-at-home order (along with others that ended on May 31).
  • Idaho (Republican trifecta): The state moved into its third phase of reopening on May 30. Phase Three allows non-essential travel and gatherings of up to 50 people. Businesses like bars and movie theaters can reopen. Larger venues like nightclubs and stadiums remain closed.
  • Mississippi (Republican trifecta): Gov. Tate Reeves’ (R) Safe Return order took effect on June 1. The order allows all travel to resume. It also permits indoor gatherings of up to 20 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people. If social distancing is possible, indoor gatherings of up to 50 and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 are allowed. Ballparks, theaters, libraries, and museums can also begin opening.
  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): On June 1, outdoor performance venues, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement parks, skating rinks, skate parks, and outdoor playgrounds are allowed to reopen at 50% capacity. Summer school activities, including baseball and softball, are also allowed to resume.
  • Kentucky (divided government): On June 1, the following businesses are allowed to reopen: auctions (33% capacity), auto/dirt track racing, aquatic centers, bowling alleys, fishing tournaments, fitness centers (33% capacity), state park lodges, movie theaters (33% capacity), and the Salato Wildlife Education Center.
  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): On May 31, Gov. Janet Mills (D) issued an executive order easing the original stay-at-home order “to the extent that people may access the increased business and personal activities that are being reopened.” The order says “persons who are over age 60 or who have a medically compromised condition are strongly urged to limit their movement and activities that expose them to persons other than immediate household members, and to avoid large gatherings, especially those occurring indoors or in otherwise confined settings.” The limit on social gatherings increased from 10 to 50 people.
  • Michigan (divided government): On June 1, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced that the state’s stay-at-home order was lifted effective immediately. Whitmer said groups of 100 or less would be allowed to gather outdoors. The order was previously scheduled to expire on June 12. Whitmer also said that retailers would be able to reopen June 4, with bars and restaurants following on June 8.
  • Minnesota (divided government): Restaurants and bars are allowed to offer limited outdoor seating starting, up to 50 people, on June 1. Salons and barbershops are also permitted to reopen on June 1 at 25% capacity.
  • Missouri (Republican trifecta): Casinos are permitted to reopen on June 1.
  • Montana (divided government): Montana started the second phase of reopening on June 1. Phase Two allows restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, casinos, gyms, and pools to operate at 75% capacity if they maintain the physical distancing and sanitation protocols established in Phase One. Other venues like concert halls and bowling alleys can operate with reduced capacity under distancing guidelines. In Phase Two, residents are asked to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people unless social distancing can be maintained. Visitors to the state will not have to self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Nebraska (Republican trifecta): Eighty-nine of Nebraska’s 93 counties entered Phase II of the reopening plan on June 1. Bars and strip clubs were permitted to reopen at 50 percent capacity, with tables spaced six feet apart, and required patrons to maintain six feet of distance from entertainers. Games, such as darts and pool, remain prohibited. Gatherings of up to 25 or 25 percent capacity (excluding staff) for indoor or outdoor attractions, such as arenas, fairgrounds, libraries, or any other confined indoor or outdoor space are allowed in Phase II. For larger venues, attendance is limited to 3,000, even if that number is less than 25 percent occupancy. Weddings and funerals also resumed, but are limited to no more than 25 people or 50 percent occupancy, excluding staff. Parades, carnivals, midways, dances, and beer gardens are prohibited through June 30. People who traveled internationally are encouraged to self-quarantine for 14 days. The new phase allows limited, noncontact sports, such as baseball and softball, to resume practices, with games being allowed to resume on June 18. Basketball, tackle football, soccer, and wrestling remain prohibited.
  • New Hampshire (divided government): On May 29, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) extended his “Stay-at-Home 2.0” order through at least June 15. As part of the extension, Sununu announced that driver’s education classes could restart, and places of worship could reopen on May 29 with limitations. Beginning on June 5, hotels and lodging may reopen with restrictions, and day camps will be allowed to resume on June 22. Gyms and fitness centers will follow, no date has been given for when they can reopen.
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced the state will be ready to enter phase 2 of Murphy’s “The Road Back” plan on June 15. That day, outdoor dining and limited in-person retail may resume. On June 22, limited personal services such as barbershops and salons can resume.
  • New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Secretary of the New Mexico Health Department Kathyleen M. Kunkle issued a new public health order extending the state’s stay-at-home order through June 30. While the order allows some businesses to reopen, it says that “all New Mexicans should be staying in their homes for all but the most essential activities and services.” The following businesses are permitted to reopen on June 1: in-restaurant dining (50 percent capacity), gyms and fitness centers (50 percent capacity), indoor malls (25 percent capacity), personal services such as barbershops and salons (25 percent occupancy), drive-in theaters, and hotels (50 percent capacity). The new order also lifted the requirement that anyone entering New Mexico through an airport self-quarantine for 14 days. Nine state parks were permitted to open for day use on May 30 and five more were allowed to open on June 1.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced on June 1 that New York City was on track to begin reopening on June 8. He also announced that two regions, Western New York and Capital, are expected to move into Phase 2 of his reopening plan in the coming days. On May 31, Cuomo announced that dentists could reopen on June 1.
  • North Dakota (Republican trifecta): On May 29, officials in North Dakota announced that the state moved from “moderate risk” to “low risk” under Gov. Doug Burgum (R)’s “ND Smart Restart” plan. In this stage, “schools and businesses can reopen, and much of normal life can begin to resume. However, some physical distancing measures and limitations on gatherings will still be recommended to prevent transmission from accelerating again.” High-risk individuals are encouraged to limit their time spent in the community. In the “low risk” stage, employers are urged to develop flexible work environments, comply with social distancing measures, increase sanitation measures, and monitor employees for symptoms. Capacity for dine-in service at restaurants and bars is capped at 75 percent occupancy, and gaming and blackjack can resume with social distancing measures. Gatherings are limited to 75 percent occupancy for facilities, with a maximum of 500 people allowed.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): The following businesses and activities can resume on June 1: banquet halls and catering centers (with a maximum of 300 guests and social distancing), and daycare centers (with reduced staff-to-child ratios and handwashing requirements). On May 29, Ohio State Health Director Dr. Amy Acton issued two orders. One order continues the ban on mass gatherings in the state through July 1, and the other lifts restrictions on alcohol sales to non-residents in six counties near the Pennsylvania border: Ashtabula, Belmont, Columbiana, Jefferson, Mahoning, and Trumbull.
  • Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): Oklahoma is moving into Phase 3 of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s (R) “Open Up and Recover Safely” plan on June 1. The following changes go into effect: church and school summer camps may reopen, businesses may resume unrestricted staffing at worksites with social distancing and sanitation measures, and businesses that were operating by appointment only may accept walk-ins. Under Phase 3, visits to hospitals can resume, with limitations such as one representative per patient and social distancing. Visits to senior care facilities are still prohibited.
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced the criteria that counties will need to meet to enter Phase 2 of reopening. Official guidance is not available regarding the industries and activities that will be able to resume in the second phase.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): The state is moving into the second phase of reopening on June 1. Phase Two allows personal service businesses (such as barbershops and salons), gyms, indoor dine-in services, indoor malls, and some outdoor entertainment activities to reopen. It also lifts the state’s travel restrictions and permits gatherings of up to 15 people.
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): Fans can attend outdoor professional sporting events at 25% of a venue’s capacity beginning May 31. Leagues will need to receive approval from the Texas Department of State Health Services before holding events with spectators. Day and overnight youth camps, as well as youth sports, were also permitted to begin operating that day.
  • Vermont (divided government): The limit on social gatherings increased from 10 to 25 on June 1. Several close contact businesses, including fitness centers, nail salons, and tattoo parlors, can reopen at 25% capacity. Libraries, galleries, museums, and theaters reopen at 25% capacity, as well.
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): The state’s stay-at-home order expired on May 31. Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed a new “Safe Start – Stay Healthy’’ proclamation that transitions the reopening plan to a fully county-by-county approach. This gives counties more flexibility to move through the four phases of the reopening plan. Counties that remain in Phase One have the option to apply for and enter a modified Phase One plan, which allows the county to adopt some Phase Two activities. It was the 31st state to end a stay-at-home order (along with others that expired on May 31).

  • Wyoming (Republican trifecta): Beginning June 1, out-of-state travelers can camp overnight at Wyoming state parks.


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 1, stay-at-home orders have ended in 35 states. Eighteen of those states have Republican governors and 17 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order). Of the eight states with active stay-at-home orders, seven have Democratic governors and one has a Republican governor.

Here’s which stay-at-home orders have expired, and when the rest are scheduled to expire.



Tracking regulations: Face covering and mask requirements

All 50 states began to reopen in some way. Here, we give the status of one industry or activity across the states. Today’s question: in which states must someone wear a face covering while out in public?


 

Featured plan: South Carolina's accelerateSC

Featured plan: South Carolina’s accelerateSC

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.

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Arizona Georgia Massachusetts New Mexico Texas
California Illinois Michigan Ohio Virginia
Colorado Indiana Montana Oklahoma Washington
Delaware Maine Nevada Pennsylvania

On April 20, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced “accelerateSC,” which the governor’s office described as “a coordinated economic revitalization plan involving small and large business leaders, healthcare professionals, local government officials, and education professionals.”

The advisory team has five groups with the task of identifying “issues, solutions, and assets necessary for a phased revitalization path for South Carolina’s economy, guided by healthcare and medical data.” AccelerateSC’s final report, released May 28, contains 41 recommendations for the governor. 

The groups and their responsibilities are as follows:

  • Response: “Identify challenges related to workforce capacity, workforce re-entry, critical industries, capital requirements, regulatory issues and supply chain/logistics.”
  • Protection: “Identify protective protocols for practical implementation in workplace and public, testing and contact tracing, supply of personal protective equipment, and long-term mitigation efforts to ensure economic revitalization.”
  • Governance: “Identify challenges faced by state and local governments, educational institutions, emergency services and first responders to proceed with economic revitalization.”
  • Resources: “Identify process and appropriate metrics for disbursing federal funds and to ensure transparency of all disbursed funds in consultation with appropriate stakeholders.”
  • Information: “Create consolidated information portal and associated dissemination methods related to citizens’ inquiries associated with COVID-19.”

Since accelerateSC’s creation, McMaster has allowed businesses to reopen once the Response group released industry-specific safety guidelines. On May 11, McMaster said, “With our increased capacity for testing the people of our state, it is time to responsibly and gradually get these small businesses back up and running”

McMaster’s order closing nonessential businesses to the public allowed businesses to request an evaluation from the state Department of Commerce to determine whether they may continue to operate. 

McMaster’s nonessential business closure order and stay-at-home order said that no local ordinance, rule, or regulation may conflict with the statewide orders.

Context

  • McMaster issued an executive order closing several nonessential businesses to the public effective April 1. In another order, McMaster added retail to the nonessential businesses list effective April 6 (with curbside pickup and delivery allowed for retail). McMaster issued a stay-at-home order effective April 7, directing individuals to limit social interactions, practice social distancing according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, take precautions to avoid COVID-19, and limit movement outside the home except for essential activities. McMaster lifted the stay-at-home order on May 4.
  • As of May 31, South Carolina had 11,861 positive COVID-19 cases and 494 deaths. South Carolina had an estimated population of 5.1 million as of July 2019. For every 100,000 residents, the state had 230.4 COVID-19 cases and 9.6 deaths.
  • South Carolina is a Republican trifecta, with a Republican governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Guidance for individuals
The final accelerateSC report advises individuals to do the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue (that you then discard) or use the inside of your elbow. 
  • Practice social distancing – at least six feet, even when wearing a mask. 
  • Stay home if you’re sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily, and more frequently if you are sick or caring for someone who is sick. 
  • Wear cloth face coverings in public settings, especially while in enclosed spaces where there are other people. 

The report also says, “At-risk populations (seniors, members of our minority communities and those with underlying medical conditions) should be particularly mindful of this guidance and should take special precautions.” 

General business guidance

  • Most businesses “must limit the number of customers allowed to enter and simultaneously occupy the premises so as not to exceed five customers per 1,000 square feet of retail space, or 20% of the occupancy limit as determined by the fire marshal, whichever is less. Businesses must not knowingly allow customers to congregate within six feet of one another, exclusive of family units.”
  • “Businesses must also implement all reasonable steps to comply with sanitation guidelines of the CDC, [South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC)] or any other state and federal public health officials.”

April 20-21
The following were allowed to reopen April 20-21.

  • Public beaches (local officials given authority to decide whether to open)
  • Retail (with social distancing requirements; capacity limited to 20% occupancy or five customers per 1,000 square feet, whichever is less; and following guidance from CDC and DHEC)

May 4

  • Restaurants could reopen for outdoor dining (tables spaced at least 8 feet apart, limit of 8 people per table, additional guidelines here)

Lifted:

  • Stay-at-home order (individuals the CDC deems at risk advised to continue limiting exposure to others)
  • Requirement for short-term rental companies to deny reservations to people from hotspots (areas the CDC identified as having extensive community spread)
  • Requirement for travelers from hotspots to self-quarantine for two weeks

May 8

May 11

  • Restaurants could reopen for dine-in services (limit to 50% fire capacity, tables spaced 6-8 feet apart, additional guidelines here)

May 18
The following could reopen with capacity limits and social distancing efforts:

  • Gyms/fitness centers (guidelines here)
  • Close-contact services—e.g., massage, barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo shops, waxing salons, tanning salons, spas (close-contact business guidelines here, cosmetology guidelines here)
  • Pools (guidance here)

May 22
The following could reopen:

  • Attraction facilities—e.g., zoos, museums, aquariums, amusement park rides, water parks (limit to 50% fire capacity for indoor spaces, keeping attractions that can’t be sanitized between users closed, additional guidelines here

May 31

  • Youth sport could resume practice, with competitive play allowed June 15 (guidelines here)

Additional site-specific guidance
AccelerateSC released guidance for some industries and sites that McMaster did not order closed:

Reactions

  • On May 12, the South Carolina Senate passed a resolution rebuking McMaster for continuing the state of emergency over two months without seeking the legislature’s permission. The resolution passed on a 17-16 vote. All 17 yes votes were from Republicans. Twelve Democrats and four Republicans voted against the resolution.
  • On April 29, state Rep. Gary Clary (R) said, “The governor is trying to gather as much information as he can from the business community, from the medical community, from the research institutions, so we can properly reopen South Carolina and do it in a logical way. … I think he certainly wants to reopen the state, just like I do. But it’s got to be so that we do it in a manner in which everybody’s protected.”
  • On April 29, Republican state Reps. Josiah Magnuson, Jonathon Hill, and Stewart Jones wrote a letter to House Speaker JayJay Lucas (R) asking him to reconvene members of the state House to vote to end McMaster’s renewed state of emergency order. They wrote, “If the ‘essential’ businesses can adopt safe practices to stop the spread of the coronavirus, then the supposedly ‘non-essential’ businesses can do so, as well. Thus, it is possible to immediately reopen all businesses while enforcing social distancing through temporary regulations.”


Find out more in today’s Number of the Day→


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. 

  • Florida officials approved Walt Disney World’s reopening plan last week. The theme park will begin a phased reopening on July 11 with limited capacity along with sanitation and social distancing protocols.
  • Georgia’s departments of education and public health released a 10-page guidance document for the state’s school districts on reopening. The guidance is not legally binding because the state’s 180 school districts operate independently. There are several reopening options, including alternating days and a model that allows for older students to distance learn while younger students receive in-person instruction.
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin Mayor Tom Barrett announced May 29 that the city’s restrictions on restaurants, bars, and gathering spots would remain in place until further notice. 
  • The Los Angeles County Public Health Department in California announced it will allow restaurants and hair salons to open with distancing and infection control protocols. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) office approved the county’s variance request, allowing it to reopen more businesses than the statewide plan currently allows. 
  • On May 28, Charleston Southern University student Jessica Taylor filed a class-action lawsuit in the Charleston County Court of Common Pleas (South Carolina) against the university. Taylor’s complaint alleges that the university, which closed its campus effective March 18, “has not delivered the educational services, facilities, access, and opportunities that Plaintiff and the putative class contracted and paid for.” The complaint seeks “refunds of the amounts Plaintiff and putative class members are owed, prorated to the amount of time that remained in the Spring semester when classes moved online and campus services ceased being provided.” 

Click here to learn more.



Trump executive order aims to protect procedural rights in agency adjudication

President Donald Trump (R) on May 19 issued an executive order aimed at providing regulatory relief to spur economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to targeted regulatory actions, the order also contains provisions that seek to promote economic recovery by safeguarding procedural rights and ensuring fairness in agency adjudication and enforcement.

The order puts forth what it deems a set of “principles of fairness in administrative enforcement and adjudication” and directs agencies to comply with the principles where appropriate as part of their pandemic response efforts. The principles include broad standards of promptness, fairness, and transparency in adjudication and enforcement proceedings as well as more specific procedural due process protections, such as requiring that adjudication be free from government coercion and that agency adjudicators be independent of enforcement staff. These principles build on Trump’s October 2019 Executive Order 13892, which aimed to curb what the order referred to as administrative abuses by requiring agencies to provide the public with fair notice of regulations.

“[President Trump] knows that what will jump-start the economy is not Big Government, but the American people,” said White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator Paul Ray in _The Washington Times_. “That’s why this president is fighting the economic emergency by returning even more liberty to the people.”

Some critics of the order expressed concern that agencies would respond by suspending regulatory enforcement altogether. “That’s the part that gives me the greatest concern, the idea of nonenforcement and telling agencies without any real basis or explanation that more lax enforcement will help us economically,” said Project on Government Oversight senior policy analyst Sean Moulton in _The Hill_.

Agency adjudication aims to resolve a dispute either between a federal agency and a private party or between two private parties. While some administrative law scholars claim that agency adjudication satisfies constitutional due process, others argue that certain adjudication procedures violate due process protections, such as the appearance of partiality in favor of agencies that results from the use of non-independent adjudicators.

Additional reading:



Trump executive order targets regulations waived during pandemic for potential permanent repeal

On May 19, President Trump issued an executive order directing federal agencies to remove regulatory barriers to economic activity as part of a coronavirus pandemic recovery effort.

The order specifically directs agency leaders to determine whether regulations modified or waived during the pandemic should be repealed permanently. It also encourages agencies to use emergency powers to support economic recovery and to find and remove additional regulatory hurdles to job creation. According to news reports, more than 600 regulations could be affected.

Russ Vought, Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, stated, “If a bureaucratic rule needs to be suspended during a time of crisis to help the American people, we should ask ourselves if it makes sense to keep at all.”

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who supports the order, tweeted that “every regulation that was waived during this crisis should remain waived.” Kent Lassman, president of the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute, approved of the order and said, “CEI has identified dozens of regulations that were never needed and now hinder response to, and recovery from, this pandemic. Widespread repeal is necessary and on the way.”

U.S. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), who opposes the order, tweeted that in her view the order puts workers and the environment at risk: “Step one: Remove the Inspectors General who keep an eye on wrongdoing at our federal agencies. Step two: Tell the agencies that it’s open season on measures that keep workers, consumers, and the environment safe.”

An executive order is a formal command handed down from the president to federal agencies within the executive branch. While executive orders are legally binding, they are not laws; they are instructions on how the executive branch ought to enforce the law. These instructions must line up with existing U.S. laws and the U.S. Constitution.

Executive orders are a way that presidents exercise executive control of agencies—one of five pillars key to understanding the main areas of debate about the nature and scope of the administrative state.

Additional reading:

Text of the executive order:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-regulatory-relief-support-economic-recovery/

Link to CEI statement:
https://cei.org/content/new-executive-order-stimulate-recovery-deregulating-builds-ceis-neverneeded-campaign

Link to Public Citizen statement:
https://www.citizen.org/news/trumps-latest-deregulatory-order-is-more-corruption-distracts-from-fighting-the-pandemic/



Coronavirus Daily Update: June 1st, 2020

As part of Ballotpedia’s coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, we are compiling a daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day. Here is the summary of changes for June 1, 2020.

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 1, stay-at-home orders have ended in 35 states. Eighteen of those states have Republican governors and 17 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order). Of the eight states with active stay-at-home orders, seven have Democratic governors and one has a Republican governor.

Details:

  • Delaware – The state’s stay-at-home order expired May 31. The order first took effect on March 24.
  • Michigan – On June 1, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced that the state’s stay-at-home order was lifted effective immediately. Whitmer said groups of 100 or less would be allowed to gather outdoors. The order was previously scheduled to expire on June 12. Whitmer also announced that retailers would be able to reopen June 4, with bars and restaurants following on June 8.
  • New Hampshire – On May 29, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) extended the state’s stay-at-home order through June 15.
  • New MexicoSecretary of the New Mexico Health Department Kathyleen M. Kunkle issued a new public health order that extended the state’s stay-at-home order through June 30, and allowed some businesses to reopen. While the order loosens some restrictions, it stresses that “all New Mexicans should be staying in their homes for all but the most essential activities and services.”
  • Washington – The state’s stay-at-home order expired on May 31.

The 1918 influenza pandemic

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

The 1918 midterm elections occurred during the 1918 flu pandemic, one of the most severe in history. Each day, 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 October 18, 1918, the Deseret Evening News published an article titled, “Social Gatherings Forbidden For Present.” The article was about the ban on social gatherings put in place due to the influenza epidemic, and mentioned how the ban might affect the upcoming midterm elections.

“Fearing that the influenza closing order might interfere with the election Nov. 5, County Clerk Thomas Homer has written to Dr, T.B.Beatty, state health commissioner, suggesting the use of tents for polling places. The clerk calls attention to the fact that ventilation is often poor in the polling places and that the assembling of crowds in such quarters might be serious. Other voters might be kept away from the polls by fear of contracting the disease, he points out.”

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

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 97 lawsuits, spanning 34 states, relating to governmental actions undertaken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 34 of those lawsuits.
  • Ballotpedia has separately tracked another 90 lawsuits, spanning 32 states, dealing with the administration of elections in light of the pandemic. Orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 38 of those lawsuits.

Details:

  • Taylor v. Charleston Southern University – On May 28, Charleston Southern University student Jessica Taylor filed a class-action lawsuit in the Charleston County Court of Common Pleas (South Carolina) against the university. Taylor’s complaint alleges that the university, which closed its campus effective March 18, “has not delivered the educational services, facilities, access, and opportunities that Plaintiff and the putative class contracted and paid for.” The complaint seeks “refunds of the amounts Plaintiff and putative class members are owed, prorated to the amount of time that remained in the Spring semester when classes moved online and campus services ceased being provided.” 

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. 
  • Sixteen states have modified their candidate filing requirements.
  • Twenty-seven states have made modifications to their voting procedures.
  • Political parties in 19 states have made changes to party events on a statewide basis.

Ballot measure changes

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

Overview:

  • Ballotpedia has tracked 22 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  • Seven states and D.C. changed ballot measure procedures.
  • At least 12 lawsuits were filed in ten different states seeking court orders suspending or changing signature requirements and deadlines. Rulings or settlements have been issued for eight.
  • At least two initiative campaigns reported they had enough signatures but are delaying signature submission so their measures appear on the ballot in 2022 instead of 2020.

Details:

  • Nevada – U.S. District Court Judge Miranda Du extended the state’s signature submission deadline for 2020 initiated constitutional amendments from June 24 to August five in a case brought by Fair Maps Nevada, the campaign behind an independent redistricting commission initiative. Judge Du did not grant the petitioners’ request to use electronic signatures citing concerns of fraud and legal precedent on courts changing election rules.
  • California – The San Francisco Community Housing Act Committee announced that it was suspending the campaign to get its local housing initiative on the November ballot.

School closures

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

Overview:

  • Forty-eight states have closed schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year. Those states account for 99.4% of the 50.6 million public school students in the country. The two states to not close schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year are Montana and Wyoming.
  • All 50 states ordered a statewide school closure in some form.

Details:

  • Arizona The Department of Education released its 36-page “Roadmap for Reopening Schools.” The document covers four different scenarios: in-person instruction from the beginning of the year, some students distance learning and some students learning in-person at the start of the year, all students distance learning at the start of the year, and intermittent distance learning throughout the year as dictated by local conditions.
  • Georgia – The departments of education and public health released a 10-page guidance document for the state’s school districts on reopening. The guidance is not legally binding because the state’s 180 school districts operate independently. Several reopening options presented in the guidance include alternating days and a model that allows for older students to distance learn while younger students receive in-person instruction.
  • Oklahoma – The state Board of Education voted 5-2 to allow any instruction on Saturdays to count towards the minimum requirement of 180 days for the entirety of the 2020-2021 school year. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said she did not expect schools to use Saturday school unless necessary, but that the added flexibility would help school districts across the state.

Travel restrictions

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

Overview:

  • Of the 21 executive orders issued by governors or state agencies placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors, at least nine have been rescinded.

Details:

  • Alaska – On May 29, 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 can prove they tested negative for COVID-19 before coming to Alaska can bypass the 14-day quarantine requirement. Dunleavy asked travelers to get tested at least 72 hours before arriving in the state.
  • Delaware – Gov. John Carney (D) lifted the 14-day quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers June 1. 
  • Montana – As part of Phase Two of the state’s reopening plan, the 14-day quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers was lifted June 1. 

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.

Details:

  • Alaska – The Alaska Supreme Court released statewide coronavirus visitor health precautions which apply to all visitors entering court facilities. Precautions include screening and social distancing measures. 
  • Delaware – The Delaware Supreme Court issued the its Reopening Committee’s interim report, and plans for the state’s Justice of the Peace Courts for both criminal and civil locations to help courts in the state plan to resume operations. 
  • Hawaii – The Hawaii Supreme Court extended its suspension of jury trials through June 30. 
  • New Mexico – The New Mexico Supreme Court announced that civil and jury trials may recommence between June 15 and July 15.

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 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:

  • Colorado – The Colorado Department of Corrections announced on May 29 that 290 inmates have been released following a March 25 order from Gov. Jared Polis (D) which authorized the DOC to release people within 180 days of their parole eligibility date.  

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.

Details:

  • Colorado – On May 29, Gov. Jared Polis (D) extended the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through June 15.
  • North Carolina – On May 30, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) issued a new moratorium on evictions and foreclosures in the state through June 20.  Previously, North Carolina’s Supreme Court suspended eviction proceedings in the state through June 1.  After Cooper’s order, the North Carolina Supreme Court issued an order on May 30 staying evictions through June 20.       

State legislative responses

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

Overview: 

  • To date, 1,683 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
  • Of these, 142 significant bills have been enacted into law, 8.4 percent of the total number that have been 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: 

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

Details:

  • Rhode Island: The Rhode Island legislature extended its suspension through June 5.
  • Tennessee: The Tennessee legislature resumed its session effective June 1.

.



Oklahoma moves into Phase 3 of reopening plan today

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

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



Coronavirus Daily Update: May 29th, 2020

As part of Ballotpedia’s coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, we are compiling a daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day. Here is the summary of changes for May 29, 2020.

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 May 29, stay-at-home orders have ended in 30 states. Eighteen of those states have Republican governors and 12 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order). Of the 13 states with active stay-at-home orders, one has a Republican governor and 12 have Democratic governors.

Details:

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended New York’s stay-at-home order until June 27. It will only apply to regions that have not met the state’s criteria to enter Phase One of reopening. New York City is the only region that has not advanced to the first phase, but Cuomo announced the city was on track to begin reopening starting June 8.

The 1918 influenza pandemic

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

The 1918 midterm elections occurred during the 1918 flu pandemic, one of the most severe in history. Each day, 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 October 28, 1918, The Denver Post published an article titled, “New Flu Cases Here Few But Death Rate Still Is Running High.”  The article discussed how the ban on gatherings could affect the upcoming midterm elections.

With records for the last twenty-four hours incomplete, nine deaths attributable to Spanish influenza had been reported Monday morning, indicating that the mortality as a result of the plague continues to run high. The part reports showed only ten new cases. While few doctors send in records over Sunday, the great drop in new cases recorded, presents a hopeful aspect to the critical situation…No date for lifting the closing ban is anticipated by health officers. Whether the ‘opening’ will come before the election of Tuesday, Nov. 5, has raised an unusual and interesting question.”

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.

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 95 lawsuits, spanning 33 states, relating to governmental actions undertaken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 34 of those lawsuits.
  • Ballotpedia has separately tracked another 87 lawsuits, spanning 32 states, dealing with the administration of elections in light of the pandemic. Orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 35 of those lawsuits.

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. 
  • Sixteen states have modified their candidate filing requirements.
  • Twenty-seven states have made modifications to their voting procedures.
  • Political parties in 19 states have made changes to party events on a statewide basis.

Ballot measure changes

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

Overview:

  • Ballotpedia has tracked 22 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  • Seven states and D.C. changed ballot measure procedures.
  • At least 13 lawsuits were filed in ten different states seeking court orders suspending or changing signature requirements and deadlines. Rulings or settlements have been issued for eight.
  • At least two initiative campaigns reported they had enough signatures but are delaying signature submission so their measures appear on the ballot in 2022 instead of 2020.

School closures

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

Overview:

  • Forty-eight states have closed schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year. Those states account for 99.4% of the 50.6 million public school students in the country. The two states to not close schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year are Montana and Wyoming.
  • All 50 states ordered a statewide school closure in some form.

Details:

  • Arizona – Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced that schools would reopen in the fall and that the state would release guidelines to schools on June 1.

Travel restrictions

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

Overview:

  • Of the 20 executive orders issued by governors or state agencies placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors, at least five have been rescinded.

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.

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 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:

  • Colorado – The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado filed a class-action lawsuit against Gov. Jared Polis (D) and the Colorado Department of Corrections seeking an emergency order that would release inmates who are 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:

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

State legislative responses

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

Overview: 

  • To date, 1,645 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
  • Of these, 136 significant bills have been enacted into law, about 8 percent of the total number that has been 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: 

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




Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: May 29, 2020

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?

May 30

  • Idaho (Republican trifecta): Gov. Brad Little (R) announced the state will move into the third phase of reopening starting May 30. Phase Three will allow non-essential travel and gatherings of up to 50 people. Bars will be able to reopen. Movie theaters, which had been scheduled to reopen in Phase 4, will also be permitted to reopen that day.

May 31

  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): Maine’s stay-at-home order is scheduled to expire on May 31. Gov. Janet Mills (D) issued the original stay-at-home order on March 31. She extended it to last through May 31 on April 28.
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced that fans can attend outdoor professional sporting events at 25% of a venue’s capacity. Leagues will need to receive approval from the Texas Department of State Health Services before holding events with spectators. The order does not apply to indoor sporting events. Effective May 29, waterparks can reopen at 25% capacity.

June 1

  • Delaware (Democratic trifecta): The state’s stay-at-home order, short-term rental ban, and out-of-state travel quarantines will be lifted on June 1. The state will begin Phase One of its reopening plan. Businesses reopening in this phase, including restaurants and retailers, will be limited to 30 percent capacity. Residents are required to wear face coverings in public. See the “Featured plan” section below for more details.
  • Georgia (Republican trifecta): Bars, night clubs, professional sports, and amateur sports will be allowed to reopen in the state beginning June 1. Gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed.
  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Hawaii and Maui counties will begin opening personal care services (like salons and barbershops) and dine-in services at restaurants starting June 1. Hawaii County will start opening places of worship on June 1 while Maui County is allowing in-person religious services starting May 29. Oahu County is beginning to reopen some types of businesses starting May 29, including barbershops, salons, and tattoo parlors.
  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): Cass, Lake, and Marion counties will be allowed to enter into the third phase of the state’s reopening plan on June 1. On May 27, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett (D) announced the city would begin a modified third-phase reopening effective June 1. Social gatherings of up to 50 people will be permitted, indoor dining can resume at 50% capacity, malls can expand to 75% capacity, gyms and fitness centers can open at 50% capacity, and personal service businesses (e.g., hair and nail salons) can resume by appointment only.
  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): Outdoor performance venues, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement parks, skating rinks, skate parks, and outdoor playgrounds will be allowed to reopen at 50% capacity on June 1. Summer school activities, including baseball and softball, will also be allowed to resume.
  • Kentucky (divided government): The following businesses will be allowed to reopen on June 1: auctions (33% capacity), auto/dirt track racing, aquatic centers, bowling alleys, fishing tournaments, fitness centers, state park lodges, movie theaters (33% capacity), and the Salato Wildlife Education Center.
  • Minnesota (divided government): Restaurants and bars will be allowed to offer limited outdoor seating on June 1 (outdoor spaces can accommodate no more than 50 people at a time). Salons and barbershops will also be permitted to reopen on June 1 at 25% capacity.
  • Mississippi (Republican trifecta): Gov. Tate Reeves’ (R) Safer At Home order will be replaced by a Safe Return order on June 1. The order will allow all travel to resume. It will also permit indoor gatherings of up to 20 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people. If social distancing is possible, indoor gatherings of up to 50 and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 will be allowed. Ballparks, theaters, libraries, and museums will also begin opening June 1.
  • Montana (divided government): The state will start the second phase of reopening on June 1. Phase Two allows restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, casinos, gyms, and pools to operate at 75% capacity if they maintain the physical distancing and sanitation protocols established in Phase One. Other venues like concert halls and bowling alleys can operate with reduced capacity under distancing guidelines. In Phase Two, residents are asked to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people unless social distancing can be maintained. Visitors to the state will not have to complete a 14-day self-quarantine.
  • Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced the state will enter Phase 3 of its reopening plan on June 1. Under Phase 3, businesses can resume unrestricted staffing at worksites, and businesses that had been required to operate by appointment can start accepting walk-in clients. Summer camps can reopen if they follow safety guidelines. Visitation at nursing homes and long-term care facilities will continue to be prohibited until further notice.
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that Washington County will enter the first phase of reopening on June 1. In Phase 1, gathering sizes are limited to 25, and restaurants and bars can open for dine-in. Retailers, malls, personal service businesses (like hairdressers and salons), and fitness centers can also reopen, contingent on their compliance with state guidelines.
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that 16 more counties will enter the green phase of reopening and the remaining 10 red-phase counties are expected to move to yellow starting June 5. During the yellow phase, theaters and gyms remain closed, but some types of businesses, such as retail, can begin to reopen with restrictions. Bars and restaurants are limited to carry-out and delivery until June 5, when outdoor dining will be allowed in yellow counties. The green phase will allow most businesses and functions to reopen under state restrictions, including salons, barbershops, spas, casinos, theaters, malls, and gyms. Gathering limits will also be lifted in the green phase, but the state will continue to restrict large gatherings of over 250 people and visits to nursing homes and prisons.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced the state will move into the second phase of reopening on June 1. Phase Two will allow personal service businesses (such as barbershops and salons), gyms, indoor dine-in services, indoor malls, and some outdoor entertainment activities to reopen. It will also lift the state’s travel restrictions and allow groups of up to 15 people to gather. Raimondo said Twin River Casino will be able to open later in Phase Two.
  • Vermont (divided government): Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced that the limit on social gatherings will go up from 10 to 25 on June 1. On that day, several close contact businesses, including fitness centers, nail salons, and tattoo parlors, will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity. Libraries, galleries, museums, and theaters will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity, as well.

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.

  • Arizona (Republican trifecta): Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced that schools would reopen in the fall and that the state would release guidelines to schools on June 1. Schools in the state have been closed to in-person instruction since March 15.
  • Illinois (Democratic trifecta): The state’s stay-at-home order expired on May 29, making it the 30th state to end a stay-at-home order. Illinois also started the third phase of its reopening plan, which allows non-essential retailers and manufacturers to begin reopening. Restaurants can also reopen for outdoor dining and gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed.
  • Maryland (divided government): The following businesses and activities are allowed to reopen or resume on May 29: outdoor dining at restaurants and social clubs; outdoor youth sports and outdoor activities at youth day camps; drive-in movie theaters; and other outdoor activities.
  • Michigan (divided government): Nonessential medical, dental, and veterinary procedures are allowed to resume on May 29.
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that childcare centers would be able to reopen on June 15. Murphy also said outdoor, non-contact youth sports can resume starting June 22, and day camps can open on July 6.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) extended New York’s stay-at-home order until June 27. It will only apply to regions that have not met the state’s criteria to enter Phase One of reopening. New York City is the only region that has not advanced to the first phase, but Cuomo announced the city was on track to begin reopening starting June 8. The Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, North Country, and Central New York regions were all cleared to enter Phase Two of reopening on May 29.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): Gov. Mike Dewine (R) announced that assisted living facilities and intermediate care for developmental disabilities can allow outdoor visitations on June 8.
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): On May 29, Northern Virginia, as well as Richmond and Accomack County, moved into Phase One of the “Forward Virginia” reopening plan. Face coverings are also required in public indoor settings statewide for people 10 years and older.
  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced on May 29 that low-contact, outdoor youth sports practices can resume on June 8. Adult sports facilities, such as indoor tennis courts and outdoor basketball courts, can also reopen that day.

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 May 29, stay-at-home orders have ended in 30 states. Eighteen of those states have Republican governors and 12 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court invalidated the stay-at-home order). Of the 13 states with active stay-at-home orders, one has a Republican governor and 12 have Democratic governors.

Here’s which stay-at-home orders have expired, and when the rest are scheduled to expire.

Tracking industries: Hotels

All 50 states began to reopen in some way. Here, we give the status of one industry or activity across the states. Today’s question: in which states may you stay in a hotel?

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.

Previous featured plans

Alabama Georgia Massachusetts New Mexico Texas
Arizona Illinois Michigan Ohio Virginia
California Indiana Montana Oklahoma Washington
Colorado Maine Nevada Pennsylvania
Florida Maryland New Hampshire Tennessee

On May 15, Gov. John Carney (D) released details of Phase 1 of the state’s economic reopening, with general and industry-specific requirements for businesses allowed to reopen June 1. The state’s stay-at-home order expires on May 31.

Carney said the state will follow the White House’s guidance for determining when to begin reopening phases, including hospital capacity measures and a 14-day decline in cases. The governor’s office said it will focus on the following as restrictions are lifted:

As of May 29, the governor’s office had released details for Phase 1.

Local governments in Delaware may impose greater restrictions on businesses and individual activity than state restrictions.

Context

  • Carney modified his state of emergency declaration to order nonessential businesses‘ physical locations to close and individuals to stay home except for essential activities starting on March 24. The stay-at-home modification requires individuals to follow social distancing and sanitation guidelines in shared spaces and during outdoor activity. The orders were set to expire on May 15. Carney extended them until May 31. On May 22, Carney issued a modification effective June 1 allowing Phase 1 businesses to reopen with certain guidelines.
  • On April 25, Carney modified the state of emergency declaration to require individuals and employees to wear face coverings in certain settings. The order remains in effect until further notice.
  • As of May 28, Delaware had 9,171 positive COVID-19 cases and 345 deaths. Delaware’s estimated population as of July 2019 was 973,764. For every 100,000 residents, the state had 941.8 cases and 35.4 deaths.
  • Delaware is a Democratic trifecta, with a Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

General guidelines for businesses and individuals

Guidance for individuals

  • Cloth face coverings must be worn in accordance with the State of Emergency Order.
  • Individuals must regularly wash their hands according to Division of Public Health guidance, and must stay home when sick.
  • At all times, individuals who are not part of a household should maximize physical distance from others and remain six (6) feet apart.
  • All individuals, WHEN IN PUBLIC (e.g., parks, outdoor recreation areas, shopping areas), should maximize physical distance from others. Social settings of more than 10 people, where appropriate distancing may not be practical, must be avoided (e.g. receptions, trade shows).
  • The number of individuals in a particular location will be strictly controlled in order to make sure that safe social distancing is maintained. Some of these limits are addressed for individual industries in the industry guidance, but where it is not otherwise stated, the upper limit is 30% of fire code occupancy (excluding staff).
  • Non-essential travel should be avoided.
  • ALL VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS should continue to shelter in place. Members of households with vulnerable residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents.

Vulnerable individuals are those over the age of 65 or those with underlying health conditions. For a list of conditions, see page 14 of the plan.

General business guidance

  • Employers should close COMMON AREAS where personnel are likely to congregate and interact, or enforce strict social distancing protocols.
  • Employees and customers have a responsibility to self-quarantine if they have a reason to expect that they may be ill or may have come into contact with COVID-19. Employees who are symptomatic must not physically return to work until cleared by DPH or their medical provider.
  • Employers are encouraged to continue to have staff work from home whenever possible. Employees who have been working from home throughout this crisis should continue working from home unless there is a substantive change to business operations in Phase 1 (e.g. a business was closed, but now it’s open).
  • All surfaces touched by customers, including doors, restrooms, and point of sale infrastructure must be disinfected using an EPA-approved disinfectant every 15 minutes to 2 hours.
  • All employees required to go to work should perform a daily health check as prescribed by the Delaware Division of Public Health.
  • All employees should wash hands regularly with soap and water throughout the work day, and in particular after any time they come into contact with a customer. Hand sanitizer should be used to supplement hand washing throughout the day. Employees must also social distance from each other while working. This can be accomplished through spacing or moving workstations, staggering shifts or other means.
  • Businesses must make hand sanitizer or handwashing stations readily available for all employees and customers.
  • Downtime should be given between shifts and after closing for thorough cleanings of an establishment at a minimum after each day.
  • Employers should post signs on how to stop the spread of COVID-19, hand hygiene, and properly wear a cloth face covering.

Phase details

Pre-Phase 1 (May 8-22)

May 8:

  • Retailers were allowed to open for curbside pickup with social distancing

May 15:

May 20:

  • Retailers could open by appointment only (“may accept two appointments per half hour and must adhere to strict social distancing and cleaning guidance from the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”)

May 22:

Phase 1 (June 1)

The following may reopen in Phase 1. In addition to the guidelines provided below, see additional industry-specific requirements here.

  • Arts and Culture (i.e. galleries, museums, libraries): “30% capacity; Face covering required; Strict social distancing”
  • Food and drink establishments: “30% capacity; Face covering required; Strict social distancing; Reservation-only dining; delivery and takeout available; bars closed; no self-service”
  • Retail establishments: “30% of fire code occupancy; Face covering required; Strict social distancing”
  • Malls: “30% of fire code occupancy limit; Face covering required; Strict social distancing; Food and drink facilities must follow food and drink industry guidelines”
  • Exercise facilities: “30% of fire code occupancy limit; Face covering required; Strict social distancing; Classes under 10 people allowed; Thorough cleaning and disinfecting”
  • Barbershops, hair salons, tanning salons: “30% of fire code occupancy limit; Appointment-only; Face covering required; Social distancing when feasible”
  • Realty: “Resume open houses with no more than 10 individuals; Face covering required; Social distancing; Proper disinfecting of property”
  • Casinos: “Create and submit reopening plan to State Lottery and DPH; Thorough cleaning and disinfecting; employee training; 30% of fire code occupancy limit; gaming machines must be kept at least 8 ft. apart”
  • Racetracks: “Create and submit facility specific plan to DPH and Dept. of Ag; No automobile racing in Phase 1; No fans permitted to attend races; Staff must be socially distanced”
  • Parks and recreation: “Remain open or reopen with modifications to ensure social distancing; No gatherings or events; Properly disinfect any equipment”
  • Childcare: “Must be designated as an Emergency Child Care Site; Open for employees of essential and/or reopened businesses”
  • Youth sports: “No-contact sports and physical activities for children may resume; Strict social distancing; Groups limited to 10; Coaches and staff must wear face coverings; No competitions”
  • Places of worship: See additional guidance
  • Sporting facilities (i.e., bowling alleys, martial arts and dance studios, and indoor athletic facilities) may reopen if “they can create a facility specific plan to observe the industry guidance provided herein for exercise facilities.”

Other modified or lifted restrictions on June 1 are:

Find out more in today’s Number of the Day→

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.

  • City department leaders in Austin, Texas, announced certain city services will reopen the week of June 1. Animal Services may begin offering on-site adoption by appointment only on June 1. The Code Department will resume certain in-person services on June 1. Several pools are scheduled to open between June 1 and June 6. The Austin Public Library will begin offering curbside service June 8.
  • San Francisco, California, Mayor London Breed announced details for the city’s continued reopening. Phase 2 is set to begin on June 1 with childcare, botanical gardens, and outdoor museums allowed to open. Two more stages of Phase 2, set to begin on June 15 and July 13, will allow additional reopenings including indoor retail, dining services, and hair salons. Phase 3 is expected to begin mid-August and to include opening bars, gyms, and schools. Phase 4’s date is to be determined. Breed said the city’s stay-at-home order remains in effect indefinitely. Residents are required to wear face coverings when outside the house and within 30 feet of someone.
  • Caymus Vineyards, a winery in Napa Valley, filed a federal complaint against California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and state Public Health Officer Sonia Angell alleging the state’s reopening plan treats some wineries unfairly. Under California’s reopening plan, wineries may only reopen in the current phase if they serve sit-down, dine-in meals. A local ordinance in Napa County restricts food service at wineries.


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