TagCoronavirus

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

A look back at government responses to the coronavirus pandemic, April 20-24, 2020

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

Here are the policy changes that happened April 20-24, 2020. This list is not comprehensive. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Monday, April 20, 2020:

School closures:

  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the rest of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through May 1.
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the rest of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through May 1.

Election changes:

  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Judge Terrence Berg issued an order reducing the petition signature requirements for primary candidates in Michigan to 50 percent of their statutory requirements. Berg also extended the filing deadline from April 21 to May 8, and directed election officials to develop procedures allowing for the collection and submission of electronic petition signatures.

Federal government responses:

  • Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced that travel restrictions with Canada and Mexico would be extended another 30 days. The restrictions, implemented in agreement with Canada and Mexico in late March, prohibited nonessential travel.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Travel restrictions

  • Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) extended the 14-day quarantine requirement for international and out-of-state travelers through May 19.

School closures:

  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the rest of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.
  • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the rest of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through May 1.
  • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the rest of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.

Federal government responses:

  • The U.S. Senate passed the $484 billion Paycheck Protection and Health Care Act. The package included renewed funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and funding for hospitals and testing. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

School closures:

  • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) announced that he would rescind the statewide school closure order on May 7, but that individual districts would be allowed to decide whether to reopen for in-person instruction.
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the rest of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.
  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the rest of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.

Election changes:

  • The Republican Party of Wisconsin postponed its state convention, originally scheduled to take place in May, to July 10-11.
  • Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R) signed HB3005 into law, canceling in-person Election Day voting, in-person early voting, and in-person voter registration in the June 30 election.

Federal government responses:

  • President Donald Trump (R) signed an executive order temporarily suspending the issuance of new green cards. The order only covered applicants residing outside of the country at the time Trump issued the order.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

School closures:

  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the rest of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through May 1.
  • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.

Federal government responses:

  • The U.S. House passed the $484 billion Paycheck Protection and Health Care Act 388-5. The bill increased funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), as well as for hospitals and testing.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Stay-at-home orders:

  • Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) ended the statewide stay-at-home order, becoming the first state to do so. The new order allowed several types of nonessential businesses to reopen with restrictions, including barbershops, tattoo parlors, and nail salons. 

School closures:

  • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through May 15.
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) announced that schools would not reopen for in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were closed through May 15.

Election changes:

  • Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear (D) issued an executive order directing all voters to utilize absentee voting by mail for the June 23 primary election if they are able to do so.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) issued Executive Order No. 202.23, requiring that all eligible voters in the June 23 election be sent absentee ballot applications.

Federal government responses:

  • President Donald Trump (R) signed the $484 billion Paycheck Protection and Health Care Act passed by Congress earlier in the week. The law included renewed funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and funding for hospitals and testing.  

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



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: April 16, 2021 #Edition #227

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. Today we look at:

  • New Hampshire’s expiring mask mandate
  • Changes in vaccine eligibility in Massachusetts
  • COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year 

We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements to curfews to vaccine-related policies. We will keep you abreast of major developments—especially those affecting your daily life. Want to know what we covered yesterday? Click here.

The next 72 hours

What is changing in the next 72 hours?

  • New Hampshire (Republican trifecta): 
    • Everyone 16 and older, including residents of other states, will be eligible for a coronavirus vaccine starting April 19.
    • All K-12 public schools must offer full-time, in-person instruction by April 19. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) said parents will still have the option of requesting remote learning.
    • On Thursday, April 15, Sununu announced he would end the statewide mask mandate Friday, April 16. 
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): 
    • All residents 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination starting April 19.
    • Oregon public schools have to open for hybrid or full-time in-person instruction for grades 6-12 by April 19. Gov. Kate Brown (D) issued the requirement on March 12. Previously, elementary schools had to reopen no later than March 29 for hybrid or full-time in-person instruction.
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): Public schools have to offer all K-12 students at least 30% in-person instruction every week by April 19. Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed the proclamation March 15. Previously, elementary schools had to provide students at least two partial days of in-person instruction by April 5.

Since our last edition

What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.

  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, April 15, the Indiana Senate voted 36-8 to override Gov. Eric Holcomb’s (R) veto of House Bill 1123, hours after the House voted 59-26 to do the same. The bill now becomes law. House Bill 1123 allows the legislature to call a special session during an emergency. Holcomb said he vetoed the bill because the Indiana Constitution gives the governor the sole authority to convene special sessions of the legislature.  

This time last year: Friday, April 17, 2020

The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020. But it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout March and April, many states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. Each week, we’ll look back at some of the defining policy responses of the early coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s what happened this time last year. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Friday, April 17, 2020:

  • School closures:
    • The Hawaii Department of Education closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.
    • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.
    • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.
    • Maryland Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon extended the statewide school closure from April 24 through May 15.
    • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through May 4.
  • Election changes:
    • The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued an order extending the candidate filing deadlines for district and county races to May 5, 2020, and June 2, 2020, respectively. The high court reduced candidate petition signature requirements to 50 percent of their statutory level. The court also authorized candidates to collect petition signatures electronically.
    • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) postponed the state’s presidential preference primary from June 2 to Aug. 11, 2020.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: April 15, 2021

Documenting America's Path to Recovery

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): 
    • Gov. Jay Inslee (D) will move Cowlitz, Pierce, and Whitman counties back to Phase 2 of reopening on Friday, April 16. Currently, all counties in the state are in Phase 3 of reopening. On April 9, Inslee announced that counties would be moved backward if they failed two metrics on new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Previously, a county only needed to fail one metric to move backward in reopening. Under Phase 2, the indoor capacity limit for restaurants, worship services, gyms, and retail stores is 25%. The Department of Health evaluates counties on their metrics every three weeks.
    • Residents 16 and older are eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on April 15.

Since our last edition

What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.

  • California (Democratic trifecta):  
    • Indoor venues can reopen for events beginning April 15. Capacity limits are based on the county’s color tier and whether the event has testing and vaccination requirements.
    • All residents age 16 and older are eligible for vaccination starting April 15.
  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, April 15, the Indiana House of Representatives voted 59-26 to override Gov. Eric Holcomb’s (R) veto of House Bill 1123. The bill would allow the legislature to call a special session during a state of emergency. Holcomb vetoed the bill on April 9, saying the Indiana Constitution gives the governor the sole authority to convene a special session. The House first passed the bill 64-33 on April 5, and the Senate passed it 37-10 the same day. It now goes to the Senate for a veto override vote.  
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced spectators will be allowed at horse and auto races at 20% capacity starting April 22.

Vaccine eligibility

Note: This section may not reflect the most recent stories in today’s The next 24 hours and Since our last edition sections above. This section details eligibility for different age groups in each state. 

We last looked at vaccine eligibility in our April 13 newsletter. As of April 14, at least one county in each state allowed vaccinations for the following age groups:

  • Ages 16+: 44 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Ages 30+: One state
  • Ages 40+: One state
  • Ages 55+: Two states
  • Ages 60+: One state
  • Ages 65+: One state

For more details on vaccine distribution, including the eligibility of grocery store workers, food service employees, and people with underlying conditions, click here.

In some states, vaccine eligibility can vary by county. The data above details the loosest restrictions in each state. For example, if one county in a state allows vaccines for anyone 55 or older, the state is marked as 55+, even if every other county limits vaccinations to people 65 or older. To see what states allow eligibility for groups in specific counties, check out the New York Times article here.

School closures and reopenings

    Read more: School responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during the 2020-2021 academic year

  • Two states (Del., Hawaii) and Washington, D.C. had state-ordered regional school closures, required closures for certain grade levels, or allowed hybrid instruction only.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 403,664 students (0.80% of students nationwide)
  • Eight states (Ark., Fla., Iowa, N.C., N.H., N.M., Texas, W.Va.) had state-ordered in-person instruction.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 11,521,986 students (22.78% of students nationwide)
  • Four states (Ariz., Ore., Wash., Mass.) had state-ordered in-person instruction for certain grades.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 3,768,309 students (7.45% of students nationwide)
  • Thirty-six states left decisions to schools or districts.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 34,893,900 students (68.98% of students nationwide)

Travel restrictions

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

Overview:

  • Since the start of the pandemic, governors or state agencies in 27 states and the District of Columbia issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 21 of those orders have been rescinded. 
    • Since April 8, one state has modified its travel restrictions. 

Details:

  • Vermont – On April 9, Gov. Phil Scott (R) updated the state’s travel restrictions to no longer require a 14-day quarantine for out-of-state visitors and returning residents. Travelers must test negative for COVID-19 in their home state three days before arriving in Vermont. Travelers who stay overnight at hotels, campsites, or short-term rentals must complete a certificate of compliance to demonstrate they’ve tested negative or been fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated people and people who have recovered from COVID-19 within the last three months do not need to test negative.

Federal responses

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

  • On April 9, pharmaceutical company Pfizer and biotechnology company BioNTech requested the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amend its emergency use authorization to allow children ages 12 to 15 to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. The original emergency use authorization restricted the vaccine to those 16 and older.
  • On April 13, the FDA and CDC recommended all state and local vaccine providers stop administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, effective immediately. At the time of the announcement, the federal government was expected to stop distributing Johnson & Johnson vaccines through federally run vaccination sites. The recommendation came after six recipients in the United States developed blood clots within two weeks of vaccination. All six recipients were women between the ages of 18 and 48. One recipient died, and three are still hospitalized. About seven million people have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • On April 14, members of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices postponed making a decision about whether to reinstate the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after saying it needed more information.

This time last year: Thursday, April 16, 2020

The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020. But it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout March and April, many states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. Each week, we’ll look back at some of the defining policy responses of the early coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s what happened this time last year. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Thursday, April 16, 2020:

  • School closures:
    • New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through May 1.
    • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced schools would be closed until at least May 15. Before the announcement, schools had been under an indefinite closure since March 18.
    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 15 and extended the statewide school closure.
    • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through April 23.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The White House released the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, offering guidance to state and local officials on a three-phase approach to reopening their economies.


Eight states have enacted laws limiting governors’ emergency powers since the start of the pandemic

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, governors and state agencies in all 50 states relied on emergency power authority to enact stay-at-home orders, mask mandates, and other restrictions on businesses and individuals. Since March 2020, 10 bills in eight states have been signed into law that are aimed at increasing legislative oversight of governors’ emergency powers. These laws were enacted in Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Utah.

Additionally, voters in Pennsylvania will have a chance on May 18, 2021, to approve a measure the Pennsylvania State Legislature certified for the ballot that would limit the governor’s emergency powers.

Laws limiting the governor’s emergency powers have been enacted in five states where one party controls the governorship and both branches of the state legislature—Arkansas (Republican trifecta), Colorado (Democratic trifecta), New York (Democratic trifecta), Ohio (Republican trifecta), and Utah (Republican trifecta). Laws limiting the governor’s authority have been enacted in three states with divided governments. In Kansas, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, the governorship is controlled by a Democrat, while Republicans hold majorities in the state legislature’s chambers.

The laws generally allow legislators to terminate emergency declarations and orders or restrict a governor’s authority to regulate city and county-level public health decisions.

• In Kansas, Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signed Senate Bill 50 into law on March 24, 2021. Under the law, anyone burdened by an executive order, school board policy, or county health directive can file a lawsuit, and courts must respond to the lawsuit within 72 hours to determine if the order or policy is narrowly tailored to the emergency. The law also expanded the Legislative Coordinating Council from seven to eight members and empowered it to override gubernatorial executive orders. On Thursday, April 1, the Legislative Coordinating Council voted 5-2 (with one absence) to end Kelly’s statewide mask mandate.

• In Ohio, Republican majorities in the General Assembly voted on March 24 to override Governor Mike DeWine’s (R) veto of Senate Bill 22, which placed a 90-day limit on states of emergency and authorized lawmakers to pass resolutions to terminate a state of emergency after 30 days.

• In Kentucky, Republican majorities in the General Assembly voted to override Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) vetoes of Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 2. The bills limit the governor’s emergency orders to 30 days unless extended by the legislature and grant legislative committees more oversight of the governor’s emergency administrative regulations. However, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd temporarily blocked parts of both bills from taking effect on March 3, after Beshear filed a lawsuit arguing the bills would undermine public health measures meant to protect people in Kentucky from the coronavirus pandemic. Those injunctions remain in effect.

As of April 2020, legislatures in 33 states can vote to terminate a governor’s emergency declarations. Legislatures in Alaska, Kansas, Michigan, and Minnesota are required to vote on extending or terminating a governor’s emergency declarations.

To read more about laws limiting governors’ emergency powers, click below.

Changes to state emergency power laws in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020-2021

Additional reading:



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: April 13, 2021

Documenting America's Path to Recovery

Since our last edition

What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.

  • Multistate news: On April 13, the FDA and CDC recommended all state and local vaccine providers stop administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, effective immediately. The federal government is expected to stop distributing Johnson & Johnson vaccines through federally run vaccination sites. The recommendation came after six recipients in the United States developed blood clots within two weeks of vaccination. The CDC’s outside advisory committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday to investigate the link between the vaccine and the blood clot cases. As of the time of this writing, at least 20 states have suspended the administration of the vaccine.  
  • Kentucky (divided government): Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced the state will lift capacity restrictions and social distancing requirements on most businesses once 2.5 million residents are vaccinated. Once the number is reached, capacity restrictions will be lifted for businesses and venues where fewer than 1,000 people gather. The 12 a.m. curfew on restaurants and bars will also end. Mass gatherings and events with more than 1,000 people will still be restricted. The public mask requirement will remain in effect.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta):
    • Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced graduation and commencement ceremonies will be permitted with capacity restrictions starting May 1. To read the state’s full guidance, click here.
    • Cuomo also announced the state is allocating 35,000 vaccines for college students. 21,000 of those vaccines are reserved for State University of New York system students, and 14,000 are reserved for students at private institutions.
    • On April 8, a state appellate court issued an order requiring about 90 restaurants and bars suing the state to comply with Cuomo’s 11 p.m. curfew order for food and drink establishments. On Feb. 27, state Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walker issued a preliminary injunction temporarily allowing the 90 bars and restaurants suing the state to stay open past 11 p.m. every night. 
  • North Dakota (Republican trifecta): On Monday, April 12, the North Dakota House of Representatives voted 67-24 to accept Senate changes to House Bill 1323, which prohibits statewide mask mandates. The House originally passed the bill 50-44 on Feb. 22. The Senate passed the bill 30-17 on April 7, but amended it to prohibit only state officials, including the governor, elected state officials, and the state health officer, from issuing a mask mandate. It left cities, counties, school districts, and businesses free to require masks. The bill now goes to Gov. Doug Burgum (R). 
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): All residents 16 and older are eligible for vaccination starting April 13. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) made the announcement on April 12. 
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Monday, April 12, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced that he was moving Cowlitz County, Pierce County, and Whitman County back to Phase 2 of reopening on Friday, April 16. Currently, all counties are in Phase 3 of reopening. On April 9, Inslee announced that counties would be moved backward if they failed two metrics on new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Previously, a county only needed to fail one metric to move backward in reopening. Under Phase 2, the indoor capacity limit for restaurants, worship services, gyms, and retail stores is 25%. Counties are evaluated on their metrics every three weeks. 

Vaccine eligibility

Note: This section may not reflect the most recent stories in today’s The next 24 hours and Since our last edition sections above. This section details eligibility for different age groups in each state. 

We last looked at vaccine eligibility in our April 8 newsletter. As of April 12, at least one county in each state allowed vaccinations for the following age groups:

  • Ages 16+: 43 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Ages 30+: One state
  • Ages 40+: One state
  • Ages 55+: Two states
  • Ages 60+: One state
  • Ages 65+: Two states

For more details on vaccine distribution, including the eligibility of grocery store workers, food service employees, and people with underlying conditions, click here.

In some states, vaccine eligibility can vary by county. The data above details the loosest restrictions in each state. For example, if one county in a state allows vaccines for anyone 55 or older, the state is marked as 55+, even if every other county limits vaccinations to people 65 or older. To see what states allow eligibility for groups in specific counties, check out the New York Times article here.

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 1,760 lawsuits in 50 states dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 528 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since April 6, we have added eight lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional 11 court orders and/or settlements. 

Details:

  • Tandon v. Newsom: On April 9, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down California’s prohibition against religious gatherings of people from more than three households. In an unsigned decision, the court found that “California treats some comparable secular activities more favorably than at-home religious exercise.” The Supreme Court also ruled the state had not explained “why it could not safely permit at-home worshipers to gather in larger numbers while using precautions used in secular activities.” Citing its earlier decision lifting New York’s attendance limits on places of worship, the court said California “has not shown that ‘public health would be imperiled’ by employing less restrictive measures.” Although the decision was unsigned, Chief Justice John Roberts said he would have denied the application. Associate Justice Elena Kagan wrote a dissent, joined by Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Kagan wrote, “California limits religious gatherings in homes to three households. If the State also limits all secular gatherings in homes to three households, it has complied with the First Amendment. And the State does exactly that[.]”

State mask requirements

We last looked at face coverings in the April 6 edition of the newsletter. Since then, Utah and Alabama have let statewide public face-covering requirements expire.

In total, 39 states issued statewide mask mandates during the coronavirus pandemic. Twelve of those 39 states have ended statewide requirements, including two states with Democratic governors and 10 states with Republican governors.

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia

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

  • Federal
    • Three federal officials have died of COVID-19.
    • Sixty-five members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty-one federal officials have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Ten state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • Two hundred twenty-five state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Eighty-six state-level incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least five local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 42 local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 26 local incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Since April 6, one state senator and one state representative have self-quarantined due to COVID-19.

Details:

  • On April 12, Pennsylvania state Rep. Bryan Cutler (R) announced he would self-quarantine at his home after being exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On April 13, Michigan state Sen. Lana Theis (R) announced she would self-quarantine after she was exposed to COVID-19.

This time last year: Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020. But it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout March and April, many states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. Each week, we’ll look back at some of the defining policy responses of the early coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s what happened this time last year. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020:

  • School closures:
    • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through April 17.
    • Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through May 1.
  • Election changes:
    • Judge Bradley B. Cavedo of Virginia’s 13th Judicial Circuit extended the deadline for the Republican Party of Virginia to select its nominee for the 7th Congressional District election from June 9 to July 28, 2020.
    • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) issued Proclamation Number 46 JBE2020, postponing the state’s presidential preference primary election to July 11, 2020.
    • The Democratic Party of Indiana announced it would cancel its in-person state convention, which had been scheduled for June 13, 2020. Instead, the party opted to conduct convention business virtually and by mail.
  • Federal government responses:
    • President Donald Trump (R) announced the U.S. was suspending funding to the World Health Organization, pending a review of the group’s actions in response to the coronavirus.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: April 12, 2021

Documenting America's Path to Recovery

Since our last edition

What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.

  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): 
    • Gov. David Ige (D) extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order through June 8. The updated order did not include the Recovery Navigator phases chart. Hawaii has officially remained at the yellow Act With Care level since the framework was released in May 2020. Gov. Ige has allowed counties to set looser or stricter rules with his approval over the last year, depending on county-level data. 
    • Oahu residents age 50 and older are eligible for vaccinations starting April 12. 
  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): On Friday, April 9, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) vetoed House Bill 1123, which would allow the legislature to call a special session during a state of emergency. Holcomb said he vetoed the bill because the Indiana Constitution gives the governor the sole authority to convene special sessions. The House passed the bill 64-33 on April 5, and the Senate passed the bill 37-10 the same day. The legislature can override Holcomb’s veto with simple majorities in both chambers.  
  • Illinois (Democratic trifecta): All residents age 16 and older are eligible for vaccinations starting April 12. Previously, everyone 65 and older was eligible for vaccination.
  • Maryland (divided government): All providers are permitted to offer vaccines to residents 16 and older starting April 12. Previously, residents 16 and older could only get vaccinated at mass vaccination sites.
  • Utah (Republican trifecta): House Bill 294 took effect April 10, ending the statewide mask mandate. It also set conditions for ending other restrictions based on case rates, percentage of occupied hospital beds, and vaccine supply. The law eliminates all restrictions on July 1, even if none of the conditions have been met. Gov. Spencer Cox (R) signed the bill into law on March 24. 
  • Vermont (divided government): 
    • All residents 30 and older are eligible for vaccination starting April 12. Previously, residents 40 and older were eligible.
    • The state’s phased reopening plan started April 9 with an easing of the statewide travel restrictions. Additionally, businesses in Group A, which includes outdoor businesses, retail operations, and low or no contact professional services, are no longer required to follow sector-specific guidance. Instead, those businesses must follow universal guidance, which includes keeping employees home if they are sick and requiring that all employees wear masks. 
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Friday, April 9, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) changed the guidelines that determine if a county moves back to a more restrictive phase in the state’s reopening plan. Previously, counties could be moved backward if they failed one of two metrics on new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Now, counties must fail both criteria to be moved back. Large and small counties have different requirements for new cases and hospitalizations. Currently, all counties are in Phase 3 of reopening. 

This time last year: Monday, April 13, 2020

The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020. But it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout March and April, many states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. Each week, we’ll look back at some of the defining policy responses of the early coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s what happened this time last year. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Monday, April 13, 2020:

  • Travel restrictions
    • The Pennsylvania Department of Health recommended that out-of-state travelers, especially those from areas with high rates of infection or community spread, self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • School closures:
    • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear 13 cases by teleconference in May. The court announced it would broadcast live audio of the proceedings to the public for the first time in history.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: April 9, 2021

Documenting America's Path to Recovery

The next 72 hours

What is changing in the next 72 hours?

  • Illinois (Democratic trifecta): All residents age 16 and older will be eligible for vaccinations starting April 12. Currently, everyone 65 and older is eligible for vaccination.
  • Maryland (divided government): All providers will be permitted to offer vaccines to residents 16 and older starting April 12. Currently, residents 16 and older can only get vaccinated at mass vaccination sites.
  • Utah (Republican trifecta): House Bill 294 will take effect April 10, ending the statewide mask mandate. It also sets conditions for ending other restrictions based on case rates, percentage of occupied hospital beds, and vaccine supply. The law eliminates all restrictions on July 1, even if none of the conditions have been met. Gov. Spencer Cox (R) signed the bill into law on March 24. 
  • Vermont (divided government): 
    • All residents 30 and older will be eligible for vaccination starting April 12. Currently, residents 40 and older are eligible.
    • The state’s phased reopening plan will begin April 9 with an easing of the statewide travel restrictions. Additionally, businesses in Group A, which includes outdoor businesses, retail operations, and low or no contact professional services, will no longer be required to follow sector-specific guidance. Instead, those businesses must follow universal guidance, which includes keeping employees home if they are sick and requiring that all employees wear masks. 

Since our last edition

What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.

  • Alabama (Republican trifecta): Gov. Kay Ivey (R) issued a Safer Apart order that takes effect April 9 and runs through May 5. It replaces the Safer at Home order, which was extended and modified several times since it was implemented on April 30, 2020. The Safer Apart order lifts most restrictions on businesses and individuals, including the statewide mask requirement. The order recommends people continue mitigation practices like wearing masks in public and social distancing. The mask order took effect July 16, 2020. For more information on the Safer Apart order, click here.
  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, April 8, the Indiana state Senate voted 36-10 to pass Senate Bill 263, which says “The state, a political subdivision, or an officer or employee of the state or a political subdivision may not restrict the right of the people to worship or to worship in person during a disaster emergency.” The bill does allow governments to require houses of worship to comply with generally applicable laws that are no more restrictive than those other organizations and businesses are required to follow. Senate Bill 263 passed the House 74-20 on April 6 and now goes to Gov. Eric Holcolmb (R) to sign or veto. 
  • Michigan (divided government): On Friday, April 9, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) asked people in the state to refrain from eating indoors for two weeks to reduce the number of coronavirus cases. Whitmer also asked schools to pause youth sports and implement remote learning instruction for two weeks.
  • New Hampshire (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, April 8, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) announced that all people, including residents of other states, will be eligible for a coronavirus vaccine on April 19.  

This time last year: Friday, April 10, 2020

The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020. But it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout March and April, many states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. Each week, we’ll look back at some of the defining policy responses of the early coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s what happened this time last year. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Friday, April 10, 2020:

  • Election changes:
    • Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) signed B23-0733 into law, directing the District’s election officials to send absentee ballot applications to all registered voters in advance of the June 2, 2020, primary election.
    • New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner (D) and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald (R) told election officials that any voter in the Sept. 8, 2020, primary or Nov. 3, 2020, general election could request an absentee ballot based on concerns related to COVID-19.
    • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) issued Executive Order No. 39 FY 19/20, postponing the statewide primary election from June 9 to July 14.
  • Federal government responses:
    • President Donald Trump (R) announced he was forming a new council to discuss the process of reopening the U.S. economy. The President called the group the Opening Our Country Council and said a list of members would be announced on April 14.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: April 8, 2021

Documenting America's Path to Recovery

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • Alabama (Republican trifecta): Gov. Kay Ivey (R) issued a Safer Apart order that takes effect April 9 and runs through May 5. It replaces the Safer at Home order, which has been extended and modified several times since it first took effect on April 30, 2020. The Safer Apart order will lift most restrictions on businesses and individuals, including the statewide mask requirement. The mask order took effect July 16, 2020. The order recommends people continue mitigation practices like wearing masks in public and social distancing. For more information on the Safer Apart order, click here.
  • Vermont (divided government): The state’s phased reopening plan will begin April 9 with an easing of the statewide travel restrictions. Additionally, businesses in Group A, which includes outdoor businesses, retail operations, and low or no contact professional services, will no longer be required to follow sector-specific guidance. Instead, those businesses must follow universal guidance, which includes keeping employees home if they are sick and requiring that all employees wear masks. 

Since our last edition

What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.

  • Idaho (Republican trifecta): Gov. Brad Little (R) signed an executive order prohibiting any state government entities from requiring COVID-19 vaccination proof for citizens to access public services or facilities. 
  • North Dakota (Republican trifecta): On April 7, the North Dakota Senate voted 30-17 to pass House Bill 1323, which would prohibit statewide mask mandates. The Senate added an amendment allowing local governments, businesses, and schools to require masks. If the House votes to accept the change, it will go to Gov. Doug Burgum (R) to sign. The House first passed the bill 50-44 on Feb. 22.

Vaccine eligibility

Note: This section may not reflect the most recent stories in today’s The next 24 hours and Since our last edition sections above. This section details eligibility for different age groups in each state. 

We last looked at vaccine eligibility in yesterday’s newsletter. As of April 7, at least one county in each state allowed vaccinations for the following age groups:

  • Ages 16+: 42 states
  • Ages 40+: One state
  • Ages 50+ or 55+: Three states
  • Ages 60+ or 65+: Four states and Washington, D.C.

For more details on vaccine distribution, including the eligibility of grocery store workers, food service employees, and people with underlying conditions, click here.

In some states, vaccine eligibility can vary by county. The data above details the loosest restrictions in each state. For example, if one county in a state allows vaccines for anyone 55 or older, the state is marked as 55+, even if every other county limits vaccinations to people 65 or older. To see what states allow eligibility for groups in specific counties, check out the New York Times article here.

School closures and reopenings

    Read more: School responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during the 2020-2021 academic year

  • Two states (Del., Hawaii) and Washington, D.C. had state-ordered regional school closures, required closures for certain grade levels, or allowed hybrid instruction only.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 403,664 students (0.80% of students nationwide)
  • Eight states (Ark., Fla., Iowa, N.C., N.H., N.M., Texas, W.Va.) had state-ordered in-person instruction.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 11,521,986 students (22.78% of students nationwide)
  • Four states (Ariz., Ore., Wash., Mass.) had state-ordered in-person instruction for certain grades.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 3,768,309 students (7.45% of students nationwide)
  • Thirty-six states left decisions to schools or districts.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 34,893,900 students (68.98% of students nationwide)

Travel restrictions

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

Overview:

  • Since the start of the pandemic, governors or state agencies in 27 states and the District of Columbia issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 21 of those orders have been rescinded.
    • Since April 1, two states have modified their travel restrictions. 

Details:

  • New Jersey – On April 5, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced updated travel guidance reflecting the most recent CDC recommendations. The new guidance says fully vaccinated individuals do not need to test negative or quarantine after interstate travel. 
  • Washington – On April 6, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) updated his travel proclamation to clarify that all types of travel, including domestic and international, should follow CDC guidelines.

Federal responses

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

  • On April 1, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Moderna to include up to 15 vaccine doses per vial. The previous limit was 10 doses per vial.
  • On April 2, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its domestic travel guidance for fully vaccinated individuals. The CDC guidelines say “people who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the United States” and do not need to get tested or self-quarantine. The CDC recommends fully vaccinated travelers wear a mask, practice social distancing, and frequently wash their hands.
  • On April 6, President Joe Biden (D) set an April 19 deadline for states to make all adult Americans eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine. Biden’s previous deadline for full vaccine access was May 1.
  • On April 6, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters there would not be a federal vaccine database or mandate to obtain a vaccination credential.

This time last year: Thursday, April 9, 2020

The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020. But it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout March and April, many states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. Each week, we’ll look back at some of the defining policy responses of the early coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s what happened this time last year. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Thursday, April 9, 2020:

  • Travel restrictions
    • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) ordered all people traveling to Arizona from areas of the country with widespread COVID-19 cases to self-quarantine for 14 days. The order specifically mentioned Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey as areas with significant community spread. 
  • School closures:
    • Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through May 1.
    • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools had been closed indefinitely from March 16.
  • Election changes:
    • Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) postponed Georgia’s statewide and presidential primaries to June 9, 2020, and its primary runoff to August 11. The state had previously postponed its presidential primary to May 19, the original date of its statewide primary.


A look back at government responses to the coronavirus pandemic, April 13-17, 2020

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

Here are the policy changes that happened April 13-17, 2020. This list is not comprehensive. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Monday, April 13, 2020:

  • Travel restrictions
    • The Pennsylvania Department of Health recommended that out-of-state travelers, especially those from areas with high rates of infection or community spread, self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • School closures:
    • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Supreme Court of the United States announced it would hear 13 cases by teleconference in May. The court announced it would broadcast live audio of the proceedings to the public for the first time in history.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

  • School closures:
    • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through April 17.
    • Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through May 1.
  • Election changes:
    • Judge Bradley B. Cavedo, of Virginia’s 13th Judicial Circuit, extended the deadline for the Republican Party of Virginia to select its nominee for the 7th Congressional District election to July 28, 2020.
    • Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) issued Proclamation Number 46 JBE2020, postponing the state’s presidential preference primary election to July 11, 2020.
    • The Democratic Party of Indiana announced that it would cancel its in-person state convention, which had been scheduled to take place on June 13, 2020. Instead, the party opted to conduct convention business virtually and by mail.
  • Federal government responses:
    • Trump announced that the U.S. was suspending funding to the World Health Organization pending a review of the group’s actions in response to the coronavirus.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

  • Travel restrictions
    • Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) issued an order requiring out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days. The restriction was included in Little’s extension of the stay-at-home order that went into effect March 25 and was set to expire on April 15. The travel restriction exempted essential workers. 
  • School closures:
    • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) recommended that schools close for the remainder of the academic year. Schools in the state were previously ordered closed from March 20 through April 24.
  • Election changes:
    • Susan Swecker, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, announced that the party would conduct its state convention, scheduled to take place on June 20, 2020, remotely on that day.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

  • School closures:
    • New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through May 1.
    • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that schools would be closed until at least May 15. Before the announcement, schools had been under an indefinite closure since March 18.
    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 15, extending the statewide school closure.
    • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through April 23.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The White House released the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, offering guidance to state and local officials on a three-phase approach to reopening their economies.

Friday, April 17, 2020

  • School closures:
    • The Hawaii Department of Education closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.
    • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.
    • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.
    • Maryland Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon extended the statewide school closure from April 24 through May 15.
    • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through May 4.
  • Election changes:
    • The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued an order extending the candidate filing deadlines for district and county races to May 5, 2020, and June 2, 2020, respectively. The high court reduced candidate petition signatures requirements to 50 percent of their statutory requirements. The court also authorized candidates to collect petition signatures electronically.
    • Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (D) issued an executive order postponing the state’s presidential preference primary to August 11, 2020.

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



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: April 6, 2021

Documenting America's Path to Recovery

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • Georgia (Republican trifecta): Gov. Brian Kemp (R) will ease restrictions on businesses and individuals starting April 7. Under the new order, there will no longer be a ban on gatherings or any social distance requirements in businesses like bars, movie theaters, or gyms. Additionally, Kemp’s order prohibits law enforcement from closing businesses and organizations that do not comply with COVID-19 restrictions.

Since our last edition

What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.

  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) ended the statewide mask mandate on April 6. Holcomb said local officials could still enact stricter restrictions, and masks will still be required in schools.
  • Kansas (divided government): On April 5, Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signed SB 63, requiring all public school districts to offer full-time, in-person instruction effective immediately. The law applies to grades K-12.
  • Maryland (divided government): Effective April 6, residents 16 and older are eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine at a mass vaccination site. All providers will be permitted to offer vaccines to residents 16 and older on Monday, April 12. 
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): 
    • Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced residents 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination starting April 19. 
    • Murphy also announced updated travel guidance to reflect the most recent CDC recommendations. The new guidance says fully vaccinated individuals do not need to test negative or quarantine after interstate travel. For more information on New Jersey’s travel guidance, click here.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): 
    • Residents 16 and older are eligible for a coronavirus vaccine starting April 6.
    • Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) lifted the 11 p.m. curfew for casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, billiard halls, and gyms on April 5. The 11 p.m. curfew for restaurants and bars and the 12 a.m. curfew for catered events remains in effect.
    • On April 3, the first public performance on Broadway occurred since all 41 theaters closed on March 12, 2020. Dancer Savion Glover and actor Nathan Lane performed one at a time before a socially distanced and masked audience of 150.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Monday, April 5, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) issued a new health order ending the gathering limit on outdoor events and activities if people remain socially distanced. DeWine also consolidated all previous health orders and guidelines into the new order. 
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): On Monday, April 5, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) prohibited government agencies, businesses, and institutions that receive state funding from requiring people to show proof they’ve received a coronavirus vaccine. 
  • Vermont (divided government): On Tuesday, April 6, Gov. Phil Scott (R) released a phased reopening plan. The plan, which begins April 9 with an easing of the statewide travel restrictions, unfolds in three phases, with the aim of ending all coronavirus restrictions and mandates by July. 

Vaccine eligibility

Note: This section may not reflect the most recent stories in today’s The next 24 hours and Since our last edition sections above. This section details eligibility for different age groups in each state. 

We last looked at vaccine eligibility in our April 1 newsletter. As of April 5, at least one county in each state allowed vaccinations for the following age groups:

  • Ages 16+: 35 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Ages 18+: One state
  • Ages 30+: One state
  • Ages 40+: One state
  • Ages 50+ or 55+: Six states
  • Ages 60+ or 65+: Six states

For more details on vaccine distribution, including the eligibility of grocery store workers, food service employees, and people with underlying conditions, click here.

In some states, vaccine eligibility can vary by county. The data above details the loosest restrictions in each state. For example, if one county in a state allows vaccines for anyone 55 or older, the state is marked as 55+, even if every other county limits vaccinations to people 65 or older. To see what states allow eligibility for groups in specific counties, check out the New York Times article here.

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 1,752 lawsuits, in 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 517 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since March 30, we have added 11 lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional five court orders and/or settlements. 

Details:

  • Fabick v. Evers: On March 31, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the state’s COVID-19-related public health emergency orders and mask mandate. The court ruled that while the plain language of state statutes permits the governor to “act with expanded powers to address a particular emergency” for 60 days, “the legislature reserves for itself the power to determine the policies that govern the state’s response to an ongoing problem” after those 60 days. The court also ruled that “when the legislature revokes a state of emergency, a governor may not simply reissue another one on the same basis.” The state supreme court made a similar ruling in May 2020, striking down Gov. Tony Evers’ (D) “Safer at Home” emergency order. The decision does not extend to local governments, which can implement their own virus-related restrictions. Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R) said the ruling “vindicates the Legislature as a co-equal branch of government and will expand freedom and opportunity for the people of Wisconsin.” Evers said, “I’ve worked to keep Wisconsinites healthy and safe, and I’ve trusted the science and public health experts to guide our decision making.” Justice Brian Hagedorn wrote the majority opinion, in which Chief Justice Patience Roggensack and Justices Annette Ziegler and Rebecca Bradley joined. Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, joined by Justices Rebecca Dallet and Jill Karofsky, dissented.

State mask requirements

We last looked at face coverings in the March 30 edition of the newsletter. Since then, four states allowed a statewide public face-covering requirement to expire.

Overview:

Details:

  • Arkansas – Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) lifted the state’s mask requirement on March 30. The requirement first took effect on July 20, 2020. Businesses can still require patrons to wear masks.
  • Indiana – Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) is lifting the state’s mask requirement on April 6. For more information, see Indiana’s Since our last edition entry above.
  • Kansas – On Thursday, April 1, the Legislative Coordinating Council (LLC) voted 5-2 (with one absence) to end Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) statewide mask mandate. The LLC is a committee composed of eight legislators. Kelly signed Senate Bill 40 on March 24, allowing the LLC to vote to end COVID-19 executive orders. The LLC’s decision does not affect local mask mandates. 
  • Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 4-3 on March 31 that Gov. Tony Evers (D) overstepped his authority when he declared several states of emergency since the start of the pandemic without input from the legislature. In the majority opinion, Justice Brian Hagedorn wrote that under the relevant state statute, only a joint resolution from the legislature could extend a state of emergency beyond 60 days. Evers first declared a state of emergency in March 2020. The ruling invalidated Wisconsin’s emergency order, which included the statewide mask mandate. The mask requirement took effect on Aug. 1, 2020.

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia

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

  • Federal
    • Three federal officials have died of COVID-19.
    • Sixty-five members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty-one federal officials have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Ten state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • Two hundred twenty-five state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Eighty-four state-level incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least five local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 42 local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 26 local incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Since March 30, one governor has tested positive for COVID-19.

Details:

  • On Monday, April 5, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) announced he tested positive for COVID-19. 

This time last year: Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020. But it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout March and April, many states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. Each week, we’ll look back at some of the defining policy responses of the early coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s what happened this time last year. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • Executive Order 2020-21 took effect in South Carolina. It directed individuals in the state to stay home except for essential activities and closed nonessential businesses. Gov. Henry McMaster (R) issued the order April 6. South Carolina was the last state to implement a stay-at-home order. Forty-three states issued lockdown or stay-at-home orders. 
  • School closures:
    • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) recommended schools remain closed for the rest of the academic year.
    • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) extended the statewide school closure from April 10 to April 24.