TagCoronavirus

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

Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: December 11, 2020

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

The next 72 hours

What is changing in the next 72 hours?

  • Minnesota (divided government): The Governor’s office confirmed to reporters that Gov. Tim Walz (D) would make a decision on whether to extend coronavirus restrictions on Monday, Dec. 14.
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced new statewide mitigation measures scheduled to take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 12. Indoor dining will be prohibited, indoor fitness and entertainment operations will have to close, indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people or fewer, and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 50 people or fewer. Outdoor dining and fitness activities will still be allowed, and churches are exempt from the gathering limit. The new restrictions are scheduled to last until 8 a.m. on Jan. 4, 2021.
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): On Thursday, Dec. 10, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced a statewide curfew from midnight to 5 a.m. The curfew is scheduled to take effect on Monday, Dec. 14. Northam also lowered the limit on gatherings from 25 to 10 and restricted outdoor sport spectators to two guests per player and 25 per field for indoor sports. Churches will be exempt from the gathering limits.

Since our last edition

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

  • Alaska (divided government): Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) announced he will extend the state’s coronavirus emergency order no later than Dec. 14. The new order will be effective Dec. 16, 2020, until Jan. 15, 2021.
  • Delaware (Democratic trifecta): Gov. John Carney (D) formally issued an updated mask order that will require individuals to wear a face-covering anytime they are indoors with a member of another household. All businesses that are open to the public will be limited to 30% capacity. Retailers larger than 100,000 square feet will be limited to 20% capacity. Restaurants and bars will have to close nightly for dine-in service at 10 p.m.  Carney also announced a stay-at-home advisory that encourages residents to avoid all non-workplace gatherings with individuals outside of a person’s household. The restrictions will be effective between Dec. 14 and Jan. 11.
  • Michigan (divided government): On Thursday, Dec. 10, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced that small businesses that rely on indoor dining can postpone paying monthly sales, use, and withholding taxes for 31 days without incurring interest or penalties. 
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, Dec. 10, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced he was extending the statewide curfew through Jan. 2, 2021. 
  • Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, Dec. 10, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) issued an updated executive order restricting public gatherings to 50% capacity and limiting youth indoor sporting events to four spectators per player or 50% of the facility’s capacity, whichever is less. The order also extends a requirement that restaurants and bars close to indoor dining by 11 p.m.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: December 10, 2020

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

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) extended the state’s Safer at Home order, including the requirement that people wear a face-covering in public spaces when social distancing with non-household members cannot be kept, until 5 p.m. on Jan. 22, 2021.
  • California (Democratic trifecta): Counties in the Greater Sacramento region will be added to the state’s regional stay-at-home order effective Dec. 10 at 11:59 p.m. The restrictions will last until at least Jan. 1. The Greater Sacramento region will be the third of the state’s five regions to trigger the stay-at-home order.
  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Gov. David Ige (D) announced the state is predicting a $1.4 billion shortfall in the general fund for each of the next four years due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ige said state employees will be furloughed for two days every month, starting Jan. 1, 2021.. The furlough will affect 10,160 executive-branch employees. It will not apply to roughly 4,600 first responders, medical personnel, or other positions that support 24/7 functions.
  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, Dec. 9, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced hospitals must postpone non-emergency elective procedures for three weeks. Holcomb also said new limits on gatherings will begin this weekend based on the state’s color-coded, county-level map of COVID-19 spread. Counties classified as “red,” with the highest level of spread, will be limited to gatherings no larger than 25 people. Counties classified as “orange,” “yellow,” and “blue,” will face limits on gatherings of 50, 100, and 250, respectively. 
  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): on Wednesday, Dec. 9, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) announced she was extending statewide coronavirus restrictions, including the requirement that people wear a face mask when in indoor public spaces, through Dec. 16. 
  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced the state will issue $600 direct payments to certain unemployed and partially unemployed individuals. To qualify, individuals must have exhausted their federal unemployment benefits on or after the week ending Nov. 14. The press release also said individuals who “previously established a COVID-19 related claim, meet the requirements of the program, and have filed certifications for weeks ending December 5, 12, or 19” could also receive payments. For more information, click here.
  • Mississippi (Republican trifecta): Gov. Tate Reeves (R) amended the state’s Safe Recovery Order to limit indoor gatherings to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 50 when social distancing cannot be practiced. He also added 12 counties and removed four from the state’s mask requirement, bringing the total number of counties under the face-covering order to 62.
  • North Dakota (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, Dec. 9, Gov. Doug Burgum (R) announced he was extending coronavirus restrictions, including capacity limits on businesses, through Jan. 8. Burgum also said the statewide mask mandate would be in effect through Jan. 18. 
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Wednesday, Dec. 9, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced he was extending statewide coronavirus restrictions, including the prohibition on indoor dining and the closure of indoor gym activities, through Jan. 4.  

School closures and reopenings

    Read more: School reopenings in the 2020-2021 academic year after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Overview:

  • In March and April, 48 states closed schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. Those states accounted for 99.4% of the nation’s 50.6 million public school students. Montana and Wyoming did not require in-person instruction for the year. Montana schools were allowed to reopen on May 7 and Wyoming schools were allowed to reopen on May 15.
  • Washington, D.C. had a district-ordered school closure
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 85,850 students (0.17% of students nationwide)
  • Eleven states (Calif., Del., Hawaii, Ky., Mich., N.C., N.M., N.Y., Ore., R.I., W.Va.) had state-ordered regional school closures, required closures for certain grade levels, or allowed hybrid instruction only.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 14,450,688 students (28.57% of students nationwide)
  • Four states (Ark., Fla., Iowa, Texas) had state-ordered in-person instruction
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 9,180,918 students (18.15% of students nationwide)
  • Thirty-five states left decisions to schools or districts
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 26,870,403 students (53.12% of students nationwide)

Details:

  • Kentucky – Public and private elementary schools started reopening for in-person instruction on Dec. 7 in non-red zone counties. Middle and high school instruction is fully remote through at least Jan. 4. Gov. Andy Beshear (D) previously ordered all schools to close on Nov. 23.
  • Michigan – On Monday, Dec. 7, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) extended the suspension of in-person instruction at all public and non-public high schools through Dec. 20. 
  • West Virginia – Public and private schools were allowed to reopen from Thanksgiving closures starting Dec. 3. Gov. Jim Justice ordered schools closed from Thanksgiving through Dec. 3 to allow a seven day period between holiday gatherings and in-person instruction. Each Saturday, the Department of Health evaluates transmission rates to determine whether in-person, hybrid, or remote-only instruction is allowed in each county.

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 26 states issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 14 of those orders have been rescinded.
    • Since Dec. 1, no states have implemented or modified travel restrictions. 

Federal responses

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

  • On Dec. 4, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report recommending state and local officials issue rules to require the use of masks in all indoor settings outside of the home.
  • On Dec. 7, President Donald Trump (R) signed an executive order directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to ensure that U.S. citizens have access to COVID-19 vaccines before sharing those vaccines abroad. The order says once there’s enough vaccine to vaccinate all Americans, then the Secretary of Health and Human Services is charged with distributing it to international allies and partners.
  • On Dec. 8, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a report summarizing Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine trials. The report said the data indicated the vaccine is safe and roughly 95% effective. An FDA advisory committee will meet on Dec. 10 to discuss emergency use authorization for the vaccine. Another meeting on Dec. 17 will consider the Moderna vaccine for emergency use authorization.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: December 9, 2020

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

Since our last edition

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

  • Massachusetts (divided government): On Tuesday, Dec. 8, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced the state would return to Phase 3, Step 1 of the reopening plan on Sunday, Dec. 13. Step 1 requires some businesses, like indoor performance venues, to close while limiting capacity to 40% at places like offices, retail shops, and houses of worship. Under Step 1, people planning gatherings with more than 25 people must notify the local health board, and outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people.  
  • North Carolina (divided government): On Tuesday, Dec. 8, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced new coronavirus restrictions, which he called a “Modified Stay at Home Order,” would go into effect Friday, Dec. 11. The order requires most businesses, such as gyms, restaurants, and retail stores, to close nightly at 10 p.m. The order also prohibits the sale of alcohol after 9 p.m. It also imposes a curfew between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 p.m., during which people are required to stay at home. 
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Tuesday, Dec. 8, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced he was extending current COVID-19 restrictions, which include a prohibition on indoor dining and gyms, through Jan. 4. The restrictions also limit outdoor gatherings to five people and prohibit indoor gatherings with people outside of a person’s household unless they have quarantined for a week and received a negative COVID-19 test. 
  • Wyoming (Republican trifecta): New restrictions are effective Dec. 9., including a statewide indoor mask requirement and a 10-person limit on gatherings when social distancing isn’t possible. Bars and restaurants are required to close nightly at 10 p.m.

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of other federal, state, and local government activity, private industry responses, and lawsuits related to the pandemic. 

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a report summarizing Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine trial. The report said the data indicated the vaccine is safe and roughly 95% effective. An FDA advisory committee will meet on Dec. 10 to discuss emergency use authorization for the vaccine. Another meeting on Dec. 17 will consider the Moderna vaccine for emergency use authorization.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: December 8, 2020

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • Wyoming (Republican trifecta): On Monday, Dec. 7, Gov. Mark Gordon (R) announced a statewide indoor mask requirement and a 10-person limit on gatherings when social distancing isn’t possible. Bars and restaurants will be required to close nightly at 10 p.m. each night. The restrictions take effect Wednesday, Dec. 9. 

Since our last edition

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

  • Michigan (Divided government): On Monday, Dec. 7, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) extended restrictions on businesses and the suspension of in-person instruction at high schools through Dec. 20. The restrictions, part of a campaign called “Pause to Save Lives” that was initially scheduled to end on Dec. 7, include the closure of businesses like movie theaters and a prohibition on indoor dining. 
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced hospitals will be required to start increasing their hospital bed capacity with Department of Health assistance. The state is aiming to increase bed capacity by 25%. Cuomo also said hospital capacity will help determine future regional closures. Indoor dining will be limited to 25% capacity in some regions as early as Dec. 11 if hospitalizations continue to rise. If the hospitalization rate continues rising in New York City, indoor dining will be ordered to close in the region.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Monday, Dec. 7, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said he would extend the state’s curfew. He said he’d have more information on Thursday, Dec. 10.

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 1,286 lawsuits in 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 396 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since Dec. 1, we have added 23 lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional 10 court orders and/or settlements. 

Details:

  • Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association v. Gordon: On Dec. 2, Judge Paul L. Maloney of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan declined to block Michigan’s restrictions on indoor dining. A coalition of affected businesses and a hospitality industry group challenged the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) restrictions. The plaintiffs argued that the MDHHS order violated the state and U.S. constitutions. Maloney, a George W. Bush (R) appointee, ruled that Michigan officials had plausible reasons for targeting restaurants over other businesses. MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said, “We are happy that today’s ruling keeps in place measures that will save lives by limiting specific indoor gatherings that greatly increase the risk of COVID-19 spread.” The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association said: “While we are disappointed with today’s ruling . . . we will now transition our efforts to preventing an extension of the MDHHS Order beyond Dec. 8 and call on Director Gordon to provide clear and specific data to justify the sustained closure of restaurants across the state.” 

State mask requirements

We last looked at face coverings in the Dec. 1 edition of the newsletter. Since then, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) announced the statewide indoor mask mandate discussed above. The requirement is not effective until Dec. 9, so it is not yet reflected in the map or table below. 

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
    • One federal official has died of COVID-19.
    • Forty-four members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty-one federal officials have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Four state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • One hundred forty-two state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Eighty-three state-level incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least three local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 32 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 Dec. 1, one U.S. representative, two state representatives, two state senators, one state treasurer, one mayor, and one city councilmember tested positive for COVID-19.

Details:

  • On Dec. 1, Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Dec. 2, South Carolina State Rep. Sandy McGarry (R)  announced she had tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after Thanksgiving.
  • On Dec. 3, the treasurer’s office announced Louisiana State Treasurer John Schroder (R) had been hospitalized due to COVID-19.
  • On Dec. 3, Arkansas state Sen. Ron Caldwell (R) announced he tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Dec. 6, Anchorage Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson announced she had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Dec. 6, President Donald Trump announced that Rudy Giuliani, his personal attorney, had tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Dec. 7, Pennsylvania state Rep. Mike Reese (R) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Dec. 7, Fresno City Councilmember Esmeralda Soria announced she had tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Dec. 7, New York state Sen. George Borrello (R) announced he tested positive for COVID-19.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: December 7, 2020

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

Since our last edition

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

  • California (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) regional stay-at-home order took effect Dec. 5. The order requires regions to implement the stay-at-home restrictions within 24 hours if ICU capacity falls below 15%. Restrictions will last for at least three weeks after they are triggered or until a region’s four-week projected ICU capacity is equal to or greater than 15%. The stay-at-home restrictions are effective in two of the state’s five regions, affecting about 85% of the state’s population. Individuals are required to stay home except for essential activities. Businesses like personal care services (including barbershops), indoor entertainment and recreational facilities, and bars are required to close. Restaurants are limited to takeout and delivery only. 
  • Kentucky (divided government): Public and private elementary schools can start to reopen for in-person instruction on Dec. 7 if their county is not in the red zone. Middle and high school instruction will be fully remote through at least Jan. 4. Gov. Andy Beshear (D) previously ordered all schools to close on Nov. 23.
  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) extended the requirement for all seated food and drink service and indoor and outdoor entertainment venues to close by 9 p.m. every night through Jan. 3, 2021.
  • Massachusetts (divided government): On Dec. 4, Gov. Charlie Baker announced that once a vaccine is approved, the state will receive 59,475 doses in its first shipment. 
  • Nebraska (Republican trifecta): On Dec. 4, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) announced new guidance for long-term care facilities. Facilities can designate friends or family members “essential caregivers” if they provided support to the resident before the pandemic. The designation allows the caregiver to have more access to the resident and supplement facility staff.  
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced an administrative order clarifying that indoor entertainment venues (like movie theaters or performing arts centers) can conduct operations in an adjacent outdoor area under the same capacity limits that apply to their normal indoor operations. All high-school and youth sports were suspended starting Dec. 5 through at least Jan. 2. Starting Dec. 7, outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people. 
  • Tennessee (Republican trifecta): On Dec. 4, Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed an order directing the Tennessee National Guard to provide support for hospitals. The order allows members of the National Guard to assist in COVID-19 diagnostic testing, perform nursing functions, and operate ambulances. 
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Dec. 4, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued an order that adds vaccine carriers to the list of commercial drivers exempt from commercial driver hour regulations. 

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of other federal, state, and local government activity, private industry responses, and lawsuits related to the pandemic. New York City schools are reopening for in-person pre-K through fifth grade instruction on Dec. 7.



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: December 4, 2020

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

The next 72 hours

What is changing in the next 72 hours?

  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced all high-school and youth sports will be banned starting Dec. 5 through at least Jan. 2. Starting Dec. 7, outdoor gatherings will be limited to 25 people. Murphy is expected to announce additional restrictions on Dec. 4.
  • Kentucky (divided government): Public and private elementary schools are scheduled to reopen starting Dec. 7 if their county is not in the red zone. Middle and high school instruction will be fully remote through at least Jan. 4.

Since our last edition

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

  • California (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced a regional stay-at-home order, effective Dec. 5. A region must implement the stay-at-home restrictions within 24 hours if ICU capacity falls below 15%. Restrictions will last for at least three weeks after they are triggered or until a region’s four-week projected ICU capacity is equal to or greater than 15%. Newsom said four of the state’s five regions are expected to fall under the stay-at-home restrictions within days. Individuals will be required to stay home except for essential activities. Businesses like personal care services (including barbershops), indoor entertainment and recreational facilities, and bars will be required to close. Restaurants will be limited to takeout and delivery only. Hotels are prohibited from accepting reservations from non-essential, out-of-state travelers unless their stay will equal or exceed the 14-day quarantine period. 
  • Delaware (Democratic trifecta): Gov. John Carney (D) said he will issue an updated mask order that requires individuals to wear a face-covering anytime they are indoors with a member of another household. He also announced a stay-at-home advisory that encourages residents to avoid all non-workplace gatherings with individuals outside of a person’s household between Dec. 14 and Jan. 11. Carney also recommended schools pause in-person learning for the same period. 
  • Massachusetts (divided government): In its weekly report on COVID-19 transmission rates released Thursday, Dec. 3, the Department of Public Health announced that 16 new towns and cities had been moved to the highest risk level. Those communities will be required to return to Phase 3, Step 1, of the state’s reopening plan. As of Dec. 3, 97 communities are classified as at the highest risk for transmitting the coronavirus.  
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, Dec. 3, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced he had vetoed Senate Bill 311, which would have limited the Department of Health’s authority to issue quarantine orders to individuals who had not been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19. 
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, Dec. 3, COVID-19 hospitalizations in North Texas exceeded Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) threshold that would trigger new restrictions on businesses. Restaurants and gyms will have to reduce capacity to 50%, and bars whose sales of alcohol make up more than 51% of revenue will need to close.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: December 3, 2020

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

Since our last edition

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

  • Arizona (Republican trifecta): Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced an additional $60 million for increasing staffing at hospitals. Ducey also signed an order allowing restaurants to temporarily expand their outdoor dining premises with local approval. 
  • Colorado (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced the state is initiating $375 one-time stimulus payments to anyone who was eligible to receive between $25 and $500 in weekly unemployment insurance benefits between March 15 and Oct. 24.
  • Florida (Republican trifecta): On Dec. 2, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced that nursing home residents would be the first to receive a coronavirus vaccine, followed by healthcare workers and people over 65. DeSantis also said he would not mandate residents get vaccinated.
  • Nebraska (Republican trifecta): On Dec. 2, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) announced that up to 100,000 doses of the first coronavirus vaccines were scheduled to arrive in the state between Dec. 13-19, conditional on final FDA approval. 
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced the state’s risk tiers had been updated to include 25 counties at Extreme Risk, five at High Risk, two at Moderate Risk, and four at Lower Risk, effective Dec. 3-27. 
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Dec. 2, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued an order clarifying that religious organizations can hold outdoor gatherings with up to 200 people, so long as social distancing is followed and participants wear face coverings.   
  • Wisconsin (divided government): On Dec. 3, Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced restaurants and small businesses would receive up to $45 million in aid through the We’re All in for Restaurants program. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporations, which administer the program, will use tax records to identify businesses eligible for the grants. 

School closures and reopenings

    Read more: School reopenings in the 2020-2021 academic year after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

The current status of school reopenings is as follows:

  • Washington, D.C., Kentucky, and West Virginia had state- or district-ordered school closures.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 1,043,722 students (2.06% of students nationwide)
  • Nine states (Calif., Del., Hawaii, Mich., N.C., N.M., N.Y., Ore., R.I.) had state-ordered regional school closures, required closures for certain grade levels, or allowed hybrid instruction only.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 13,492,816 students (26.67% of students nationwide)
  • Four states (Ark., Fla., Iowa, Texas) had state-ordered in-person instruction
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 9,180,918 students (18.15% of students nationwide)
  • Thirty-five states left decisions to schools or districts.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 26,870,403 students (53.12% of students nationwide)

Details: 

  • Rhode Island – Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) is requiring high schools to limit in-person instruction through Dec. 13. 
  • West Virginia – Gov. Jim Justice’s (R) order requiring schools to close for in-person instruction expires Dec. 3. It began on Thanksgiving.

Federal responses

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

  • On Nov. 30, biotechnology company Moderna announced it had applied for emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is expected to meet Dec. 17 to review the application, a week after it is set to review a similar vaccine pharmaceutical company Pfizer developed.
  • On Dec. 1, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an independent panel within the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), voted 13-1 to recommend that healthcare workers and nursing home staff and residents be the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Director Robert Redfield accepted the Committee’s recommendations, making them official CDC policy.
  • On Dec. 2, The CDC issued guidance recommending that Americans forego traveling for Christmas.


State legislation

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

Overview: 

  • To date, 3,644 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
    • We have tracked 66 additional bills since Nov. 12.
  • Of these, 530 significant bills have been enacted into law, 14.5 percent of the total number that has been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business. 
    • We have tracked two additional significant bills since Nov. 12 (also omitting ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business).


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

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced the state’s risk tiers had been updated to include 25 counties at Extreme Risk, five at High Risk, two at Moderate Risk, and four at Lower Risk, effective Dec. 3-27. Brown also released a proposed state budget for 2021-2023 that projects $25.9 billion in General & Lottery Funds revenue and $25.6 billion in spending.

Since our last edition

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

  • Florida (Republican trifecta): On Tuesday, Dec. 2, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced the U.S. Department of Labor had awarded the state a $28 million Disaster Recovery Dislocated Worker grant to support Floridians impacted by the pandemic. 
  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Starting Dec. 2, all intercounty and out-of-state travelers arriving in Kaua‘i have to self-quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether they submit a negative test result. 
  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): On Tuesday, Dec. 2, Gov. Eric Holcomb issued an executive order extending the public health emergency related to the coronavirus through the end of December. 
  • Mississippi (Republican trifecta): Gov. Tate Reeves added 13 counties to the state’s mask mandate, bringing the total number of counties with face-covering requirements to 54. 
  • New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): The state is reopening from its Nov. 16-30 reset under a phased, county-by-county plan starting Dec. 2. At the time of the framework’s announcement, 32 of the state’s 33 counties were in the red phase, which prohibits indoor dining, limits gatherings to five people, and limits religious services to 25% capacity.


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

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Starting Dec. 2, all intercounty and out-of-state travelers arriving in Kaua‘i will have to self-quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether they can submit a negative test result. 
  • New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced the state will begin reopening from its Nov. 16-30 reset under a phased, county-by-county plan starting Dec. 2. At the time of the announcement, 32 of the state’s 33 counties were in the red phase, which prohibits indoor dining, limits gatherings to five people, and limits religious services to 25% capacity.

Since our last edition

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

  • Georgia (Republican trifecta): On Tuesday, Dec. 1, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) extended the state of emergency through January 8, 2021, and waived restrictions to allow nurses and pharmacists to administer COVID-19 vaccines.  
  • Nebraska (Republican trifecta): On Monday, Nov. 30, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) extended the state’s coronavirus restrictions, including mask and social distancing requirements in certain businesses, through December. 
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced all high-school and youth sports will be banned starting Dec. 5 through at least Jan. 2. Starting Dec. 7, outdoor gatherings will be limited to 25 people.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced the state is adding hospital capacity to its color-coded zone mitigation system. Cuomo said he will reimplement PAUSE restrictions if hospital capacity is overwhelmed.  
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): On Nov. 30, Health Secretary Rachel Levine announced people as young as 13 years old can now use the state’s exposure notification app with parental permission.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced the state is allocating $50 million in federal funding to help replace lost business revenue resulting from the state’s pause. Businesses can apply to receive up to $50,000, depending on their estimated lost revenue. Raimondo said an additional $50 million from the federal government will go to unemployment checks. Residents on unemployment will receive an additional $200 for every week the state stays under Rhode Island on Pause restrictions. 
  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): On Monday, Nov. 30, Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced he had asked hospitals to reevaluate the surge plans they created as part of the state’s reopening plan and consider reducing the number of elective surgeries being performed. 

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 1,263 lawsuits, in all 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 386 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since Nov 24, we have added one lawsuit to our database. We have tracked no additional court orders and/or settlements. 

Noteworthy lawsuit:

  • Russo v. University of Delaware: On Nov. 18, a former student sued the University of Delaware, seeking partial tuition reimbursement for campus closures related to COVID-19. In her complaint, filed in the Superior Court of Delaware, Hannah Russo alleges she and her fellow classmates are entitled to refunds on a pro-rata basis for the spring 2020 term. Russo’s attorneys allege the university’s cancellation of “in-person classes and changing all classes to an online/remote format, closing most campus buildings, and requiring all students who could leave campus to do so” constituted a breach of contract. Neither party has commented on the suit to the press. The case is currently assigned to Judge Paul R. Wallace.

State mask requirements

We last looked at face coverings in the Nov. 24 edition of the newsletter. Since then, no new states have adopted a statewide public mask mandate or let a face-covering requirement expire.

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 26 states issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 14 of those orders have been rescinded.
    • Since Nov. 24, two states have modified their travel restrictions. 

Details:

  • New Jersey – On Nov. 25, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced he was replacing the state’s travel advisory list with a general request that all travelers from outside of New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware self-quarantine for 14 days. 
  • Hawaii – On Nov. 27, Gov. David Ige (D) announced he had approved a request from Kaua’i Mayor Derek Kawakami to require all out-of-state and inter-island travelers to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, even if they have had a negative COVID-19 test. 

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
    • One federal official has died of COVID-19.
    • Forty-three members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty-one federal officials have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Four state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • One hundred thirty-seven state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Eighty-three state-level incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least three local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 30 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 Nov. 24, three U.S. representatives, one representative-elect, five state representatives, one state senator, one state senator-elect, two governors, two mayors, and one city councilmember tested positive for COVID-19. One U.S. representative entered a self-quarantine. 

Details:

  • On Nov. 24, Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 23, Pennsylvania state Rep. Doyle Heffley (R) announced on Facebook he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 24, Michigan state Rep. Kyra Bolden (D) announced she had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 25, Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R) tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 25, Arizona state Rep. Andres Cano (D) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 25, Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nev.) announced she had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 25, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) announced he would self-quarantine after his wife tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 25, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 27, Arizona state Rep. Arlando Teller (D) was admitted to the hospital because of complications related to COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 27, Representative-elect Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.) announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 27, Las Vegas City Councilmember Victoria Seaman announced she tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 28, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced that he and his husband had tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 28, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett (D) announced he tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 29, Illinois state Rep. Chris Welch (D) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 29, Maine state Senator-elect Richard Bennett (R) announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 30, Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 30, Mayor of Miami-Dade County Daniella Levine Cava announced she had tested positive for COVID-19.



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: November 30, 2020



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