TagCoronavirus

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

Reviewing government responses to the coronavirus pandemic from one year ago this week

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

Here are the policy changes that happened June 22-26, 2020. This list is not comprehensive. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Monday, June 22, 2020

  • Federal government responses:
    • President Donald Trump (R) signed a proclamation restricting the issuance of some visas that permit immigrants to work in the United States, citing economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Visas affected included L-1s, H-1Bs, H-4s, H-2Bs, and J-1s. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

  • Travel restrictions:
    • Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that travelers arriving in their states from states with a high infection rate must quarantine for 14 days. The infection rate was based on a seven-day rolling average of the number of infections per 100,000 residents. At the time, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah met that threshold.
    • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) announced that beginning August 1, out-of-state travelers could avoid a 14-day quarantine requirement if they presented a recent negative COVID-19 test.
  • Election changes:
    • The Tennessee Supreme Court declined to stay a lower court order that had extended absentee voting eligibility to all voters during the pandemic.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Department of Health and Human Services ended support for 13 federally-managed testing sites and encouraged states to take them over. The sites were spread across five states.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

  • Election changes:
    • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed HF2486 into law, barring the secretary of state from mailing absentee ballot request forms to all voters without approval from the state legislature. The legislation also barred county officials from decreasing the number of polling places by more than 35 percent during an election.
    • A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit declined to stay a lower court order barring Alabama election officials from enforcing witness and photo ID requirements for select voters casting absentee ballots in the July 14 runoff elections.
  • Mask requirements:
    • A statewide mask mandate requiring individuals to wear face coverings in public took effect in Nevada. Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) issued the order June 24.

Friday, June 26, 2020 

  • Election changes:
    • The United States Supreme Court declined to reinstate a district court order that had expanded absentee voting eligibility in Texas. An appeals court stayed the district court’s order, a decision that was allowed to stand as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision not to intervene.
    • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed SB4 into law, authorizing county clerks to mail absentee ballot applications automatically to registered, mailable voters in the Nov. 3 general election.
  • Mask requirements:
    • Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued a mandate requiring people to wear a face covering in indoor and outdoor public spaces. The order did not require masks outdoors if six feet of space could be maintained between people. Children under two were exempt from the mandate. 

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



Vermont ends statewide face-covering requirement

One state ended statewide public mask requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated people between June 12-17.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott (R) lifted all remaining coronavirus restrictions in the state, including capacity restrictions and mask requirements for unvaccinated individuals on June 14. Masks are still required in health care settings, in long-term care facilities, on public transportation, and at transportation hubs (like bus stations and airports). 

The California Department of Health also exempted fully vaccinated individuals from the statewide mask mandate starting June 15. Fully vaccinated residents still have to wear masks on public transit and in transportation hubs, in indoor childcare and K-12 school settings, in healthcare settings, and in congregate settings (including prisons and homeless shelters). The statewide mask requirement still exists for unvaccinated people in all indoor public settings and businesses. 

In total, 39 states issued statewide public mask requirements during the pandemic. At the time of writing, 12 states had statewide mask orders, including 11 of the 23 states with Democratic governors and one of the 27 states with Republican governors. Of those 12 states, 11 exempted fully vaccinated people.

Of the 27 states that have fully ended statewide public mask requirements, 15 have Republican governors and 12 have Democratic governors. Twenty-four states ended mask requirements through executive order, two (Kansas and Utah) ended mask requirements through legislative action, and one (Wisconsin) ended its mandate through court order.



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #269: June 18, 2021

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

  • The end of federal pandemic unemployment programs in several states
  • Changes in coronavirus restrictions in Michigan
  • COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year 

We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements 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?

Alabama (Republican trifecta): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 19. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) made the announcement May 10.

Arizona (Republican trifecta): In-person visits will resume at correctional facilities beginning June 19. Inmates will be allowed up to three visitors – two adults and one minor. Additionally, attorney visits and in-person volunteer activities will be allowed.

Idaho (Republican trifecta): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 19. Gov. Brad Little (R) made the announcement May 11.

Indiana (Republican trifecta): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 19. Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) made the announcement May 17.

Nebraska (Republican trifecta): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 19. Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) made the announcement May 24.

New Hampshire (Republican trifecta): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 19. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) made the announcement May 13.

North Dakota (Republican trifecta): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 19. Gov. Doug Burgum (R) made the announcement May 10.

West Virginia (Republican trifecta): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 19. Gov. Jim Justice (R) made the announcement May 14.

Wyoming (Republican trifecta): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 19. Gov. Mark Gordon (R) made the announcement May 11.

Since our last edition

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

Illinois (Democratic trifecta): Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced the All in for the Win vaccination incentive program. All residents with at least one dose of a vaccine are automatically entered to win drawings for 43 cash prizes, including three $1 million jackpots and 20 scholarship awards. The drawings will take place between July 8 and Aug. 26. For more information, click here.

Louisiana (divided government): Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced the Shot At A Million vaccination incentive program. The state will have weekly drawings to give away $100,000 cash prizes and $100,000 scholarships. On Aug. 4, the state will select a grand prize winner of $1 million. Residents with at least one dose of a vaccine can enter to win starting June 21. For a drawing schedule and more information, click here.

Michigan (divided government): On Thursday, June 17, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced she would end most remaining statewide coronavirus restrictions, including the mask mandate, on June 22. Whitmer said she would keep in place some restrictions on long-term care facilities and prisons and jails. 

Nevada (Democratic trifecta): On Thursday, June 17, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced “Vax Nevada Days,” an initiative to encourage residents to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The initiative will include a $1 million grand prize, as well as smaller cash prizes ranging from $1,000 to $250,000, and state park passes. 

Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Friday, June 18, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) ended the statewide COVID-19 state of emergency. DeWine first declared an emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic on March 9, 2020.

Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Thursday, June 17, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced a vaccine incentive initiative for military members and veterans. “A Heroes Thanks” will award prizes in a weekly drawing over the span of three weeks, beginning July 20. Prizes will include cash, Amazon gift cards, and state park passes. The initiative will end in the third week with a $250,000 cash prize. 

This time last year: Friday, June 19, 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, June 19, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) approved Multnomah County’s application to reopen, effectively lifting the state’s stay-at-home order. Multnomah, which includes Portland, was the last county subject to Brown’s original stay-at-home order, Executive Order No. 20-12.  
  • Election changes:
    • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) signed H7901 into law, reducing petition signature requirements for both primary and general election congressional candidates in 2020 by half.
    • The Maryland State Board of Elections and the Green Party of Maryland reached a settlement in Maryland Green Party v. Hogan. Under the terms of the settlement, the petition signature requirement for obtaining party status for the Green and Libertarian parties was reduced from 10,000 to 5,000 signatures.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Internal Revenue Service released guidance for retirement plan participants describing how to take advantage of provisions in the CARES Act that related to retirement plans.
    • The Department of Defense (DoD) lifted travel restrictions on additional installations in 46 states and eight host nations, allowing military and civilian personnel to travel to those locations.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #268: June 17, 2021

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

  • Incentives for people to get a COVID-19 vaccine in California and Maine
  • An ending COVID-19 state of emergency in Ohio
  • Vaccine distribution
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Travel restrictions
  • Federal responses
  • COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year 

We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements 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 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): The state will shut down its mass vaccination sites between June 18 and July 23. The approximately 1,800 community vaccination sites in New Jersey will continue to operate. Closure date details can be found here.

Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, June 17, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced he would end the statewide COVID-19 state of emergency on Friday, June 18. He first declared the emergency on March 14, 2020.

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 (D) announced the state is partnering with Six Flags to offer 50,000 free amusement park tickets to residents who receive their first or second dose of a vaccine starting June 16. For more information and a list of all participating healthcare providers, click here.

Florida (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, June 16, the state Clemency Board pardoned all residents who were arrested or fined for violating COVID-19 restrictions around the state. The Board is composed of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), Attorney General Ashley Moody (R), Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis (R), and Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried (D). Fried was the only member of the Board to oppose pardoning COVID-19 restriction violators. 

Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced the Don’t Miss Your Shot: Vaccinationland Sweepstakes. Everyone who has received at least one dose of a vaccine by 11:59 p.m. June 30 can register to win. On July 4, the winner will receive $1 for everyone who receives at least one dose of a vaccine.

Vaccine distribution

We last looked at vaccine distribution in the June 15 edition of the newsletter. As of June 16, the states with the highest vaccination rates as a percentage of total population (including children) were:

The states with the lowest rates were:

School closures and reopenings

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

We last looked at school closures and reopenings on June 10. Since then, no states changed school reopening guidelines.

Nationwide:

  • 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)
  • Thirteen states had state-ordered in-person instruction.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 15,432,755 students (30.51% of students nationwide)
  • One state (Ariz.) had state-ordered in-person instruction for certain grades.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 1,123,137 students (2.22% of students nationwide)
  • Thirty-four states left decisions to schools or districts.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 33,628,303 students (66.48% 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 24 of those orders have been rescinded. 
    • Since June 10, one state has changed its travel restrictions.

Details:

  • Hawaii – Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) ended the requirement that intra-island travelers submit a negative COVID-19 test through the state’s online COVID-19 portal or quarantine upon arrival. Ige also amended the state’s travel restrictions to allow travelers who have been vaccinated in Hawaii to bypass the quarantine or test requirement if they leave and then return to the state. Fully vaccinated travelers who received a vaccine outside of Hawaii must still submit a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in the state.

Federal responses

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

  • On June 17, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it would invest $3.2 billion to help develop antiviral pills for COVID-19.

This time last year: Thursday, June 18, 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, June 18, 2020:

  • Election changes:
    • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed AB860 into law, requiring county election officials to mail absentee/mail-in ballots to all registered voters in the Nov. 3 general election. Newsom issued an executive order with the same language on May 8, 2020.
  • Mask requirements:
    • Newsom signed an executive order requiring individuals to wear face coverings when outside the home. California was the ninth state to enact a statewide mask requirement. 


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #266: June 15, 2021

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

  • Changes in coronavirus restrictions in California
  • An extended coronavirus emergency in Minnesota
  • Vaccine distribution
  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies 
  • State-level mask requirements
  • Diagnosed or quarantined public officials
  • COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year 

We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements 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.

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 (D) is ending the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and lifting most state restrictions on business activity statewide June 15. Social distancing restrictions and all remaining capacity limits are ending. Indoor events with more than 5,000 people have to require proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test from all attendees.
  • Fully vaccinated residents are exempt from the statewide mask mandate starting June 15. Fully vaccinated residents still have to wear masks on public transit (and in transportation hubs like airports), in indoor childcare and K-12 school settings, in healthcare settings, and in congregate settings (including prisons and homeless shelters). Masks are still required for unvaccinated people in all indoor public settings and businesses. 

Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced the state will offer $1,500 payments to workers who stop taking unemployment and start full-time jobs between June 15-30. Eligible workers who start full-time jobs in July will receive $1,000 bonuses. The bonuses will be first-come, first-serve, and there can be up to 7,500 recipients. For more information on eligibility, click here.

Massachusetts (divided government): Effective Tuesday, June 15, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) ended the statewide COVID-19 state of emergency. Baker first declared an emergency in response to the pandemic on March 10, 2020. 

Minnesota (divided government): On Monday, June 14, the Minnesota Executive Council approved Gov. Tim Walz’s (D) request for a 30-day extension of the COVID-19 peacetime emergency. The extension allows Walz to maintain his emergency powers. 

New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced the state will offer $100 cash payments to residents who receive a Johnson & Johnson vaccine or their second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine between June 14-17. To read more about identification and eligibility requirements, click here.

New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced six upstate public transportation providers will offer free seven-day transportation passes for anyone who receives at least one dose of a vaccine between June 15 and July 14. For more information, click here.

Vaccine distribution

We last looked at vaccine distribution in the June 10 edition of the newsletter. As of June 14, the states with the highest vaccination rates as a percentage of total population (including children) were:

The states with the lowest rates were:

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 1,808 lawsuits, in 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 542 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since June 8, we have added four lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked one additional court order and/or settlement. 

Details:

  • Bridges v. Houston Methodist Hospital: On June 12, Judge Lynn Hughes, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, dismissed a lawsuit over Houston Methodist Hospital’s requirement that most employees (i.e., those without a religious or medical exemption) be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by June 7. Employees who failed to meet this requirement were suspended without pay and given 14 days to be fully vaccinated or face termination. The plaintiffs – 117 hospital employees – alleged the vaccine mandate violated federal drug laws because it required employees to become “human ‘guinea pigs’ as a condition for continued employment.” Plaintiffs alleged the pending terminations constituted wrongful discharge. Hughes, a Ronald Reagan (R) appointee, ruled the plaintiffs “can freely choose to accept or refuse a COVID-19 vaccine.” Hughes wrote that if plaintiffs refused to get vaccinated, they would “simply need to work somewhere else.” Houston Methodist Hospital president and CEO Marc Boom said, “We can now put this behind us and continue our focus on unparalleled safety, quality, service and innovation.” Jennifer Bridges, the lead plaintiff in the case, said, “We are appealing. This will be taken all the way to the Supreme Court. This is far from over. This is literally only the beginning.” 

State mask requirements

We last looked at face coverings in the June 8 edition of the newsletter. Since then, statewide mask mandates ended in Illinois, Kentucky, and Vermont.

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 thirty-three 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 43 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 June 8, no candidates or officeholders have been diagnosed with, died from, or quarantined because of COVID-19.

This time last year: Tuesday, June 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.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020:

  • Travel restrictions:
    • The Hawaii State Department of Health announced that inter-island travelers would no longer need to follow a 14-day quarantine. However, all passengers and crew would need to fill out a travel and health form before boarding a flight.
  • Election changes:
    • As the result of a lawsuit settlement, the absentee ballot postmark deadline in Minnesota was extended to Election Day in the Aug. 11 primary election, while the receipt deadline for absentee ballots was extended to Aug. 13. The witness requirement for absentee ballots was suspended.
    • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed SB 863 and HB2238 into law, requiring local election officials to deliver vote-by-mail applications for the Nov. 3 general election to all voters who cast ballots in the 2018 general election, the 2019 consolidated election, or the 2020 primary election.
  • Federal government responses:
    • Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf announced the U.S. would keep restrictions limiting non-essential travel to or from Mexico and Canada in place through July 21.
    • In a joint press release, the Department of Homeland Security and the Executive Office for Immigration Review announced that Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) hearings and in-person document services would likely resume on July 20. Under MPP, individuals seeking asylum were told to wait in Mexico until their immigration court appointment.  


COVID-19 policy changes and events one year ago this week

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

Here are the policy changes that happened June 15-19, 2020. This list is not comprehensive. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Monday, June 15, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • New Hampshire’s statewide stay-at-home order expired on June 15. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) issued Emergency Order #17 on March 26. The order directed individuals in the state to stay at home unless performing essential activities and placed restrictions on non-essential businesses.
  • Travel restrictions:
    • Arkansas Secretary of Health Nathaniel Smith allowed the 14-day travel quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers coming from coronavirus hot spot areas—including New York and New Jersey—to expire. 
  • Election changes:
    • United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama Judge Abdul Kallon issued a preliminary injunction barring election officials from enforcing witness and photo ID requirements for select voters casting absentee ballots in the July 14 runoff elections.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

  • Travel restrictions:
    • The Hawaii State Department of Health announced that inter-island travelers would no longer need to follow a 14-day quarantine. However, all passengers and crew would need to fill out a travel and health form before boarding.
  • Election changes:
    • As the result of a lawsuit settlement, the absentee ballot postmark deadline in Minnesota was extended to August 11 in the August 11 primary election, while the receipt deadline for absentee ballots was extended to August 13. The witness requirement for absentee ballots was suspended.
    • Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) signed SB 863 and HB2238 into law, requiring local election officials to deliver vote-by-mail applications for the Nov. 3 general election to all voters who cast ballots in the 2018 general election, the 2019 consolidated election, or the 2020 primary election.
  • Federal government responses:
    • Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf announced that the U.S. would keep restrictions limiting non-essential travel to or from Mexico and Canada in place through July 21.
    • In a joint press release, the Department of Homeland Security and the Executive Office for Immigration Review announced that Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) hearings and in-person document services would likely resume on July 20. Under MPP, individuals seeking asylum were told to wait in Mexico until their immigration court appointment.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

  • Travel restrictions:
    • The Kansas Department of Health and Environment updated its list of states with widespread community transmission to include Alabama, Arizona, and Arkansas. Kansas residents who had traveled to those states were required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Election changes:
    • The Wisconsin Election Commission voted unanimously to send absentee/mail-in ballot applications automatically to most registered voters in the Nov. 3 general election.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a report for nonessential businesses planning on reopening, titled “Guidance on Returning to Work.” The guidance includes recommendations for a three-phased reopening strategy.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

  • Election changes:
    • California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed AB860 into law, requiring county election officials to mail absentee/mail-in ballots to all registered voters in the Nov. 3 general election. On May 8, 2020, Newsom had issued an executive order to the same effect.
  • Mask requirements:
    • Newsom signed an executive order requiring individuals to wear face coverings when outside the home. California was the ninth state to enact a statewide mask requirement. 

Friday, June 19, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) approved Multnomah County’s application to reopen, effectively lifting the state’s stay-at-home order. Multnomah, which includes Portland, was the last county subject to Brown’s original stay-at-home order, Executive Order No. 20-12.  
  • Election changes:
    • Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo (D) signed H7901 into law, reducing petition signature requirements for both primary and general election congressional candidates in 2020 by half.
    • The Maryland State Board of Elections and the Green Party of Maryland reached a settlement in Maryland Green Party v. Hogan. Under the terms of the settlement, the petition signature requirement for obtaining party status for the Green and Libertarian parties was reduced from 10,000 to 5,000 signatures.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Internal Revenue Service released guidance for individuals participating in retirement plans that describes how they can take advantage of provisions in the CARES Act that related to retirement plans.
    • The Department of Defense (DoD) lifted travel restrictions on additional installations in 46 states and eight host nations, allowing military and civilian personnel to travel to those locations.

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



Illinois, Kentucky end face-covering requirements

Two states ended statewide public mask requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated people between June 5-11.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) moved the state to Phase 5 of reopening June 11, ending the statewide mask mandate. The state still requires masks in schools, on public transit, in hospitals, and at congregate facilities like prisons and homeless shelters. Masks are also recommended in indoor public spaces for individuals who are not fully vaccinated. 

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear (D) ended the statewide mask requirement, remaining social distancing requirements, and all capacity restrictions June 11. Vaccinated and unvaccinated people still have to wear masks on public transit, at schools, and in healthcare settings.

In total, 39 states issued statewide public mask requirements during the pandemic. At the time of writing, 13 states had statewide mask orders, including 11 of the 23 states with Democratic governors and two of the 27 states with Republican governors. Of those 13 states, at least 11 exempted fully vaccinated people.

Of the 26 states that have fully ended statewide public mask requirements, 14 have Republican governors and 12 have Democratic governors. Twenty-three states ended mask requirements through executive order, two (Kansas and Utah) ended mask requirements through legislative action, and one (Wisconsin) ended its mandate through court order.



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #266: June 14, 2021

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

  • Mask requirements, business restrictions easing in California
  • Statewide coronavirus emergency orders extended in Maine and Delaware
  • COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year 

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

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

California (Democratic trifecta): 

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will end the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and lift most state restrictions on business activity statewide June 15. Social distancing restrictions and all remaining capacity limits will end. Indoor events with more than 5,000 people will have to require proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test from all attendees.
  • Fully vaccinated residents will be exempt from the statewide mask mandate starting June 15. Fully vaccinated residents still have to wear masks on public transit (and in transportation hubs like airports), in indoor childcare and K-12 school settings, in healthcare settings, and in congregate settings (including prisons and homeless shelters). Masks will still be required for unvaccinated people in all indoor public settings and businesses. 

Since our last edition

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

Alaska (divided government): The state ended its participation in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs June 12. Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) made the announcement May 14.

Delaware (Democratic trifecta): Gov. John Carney (D) extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order until July 13.

Iowa (Republican trifecta): The state ended its participation in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs June 12. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) made the announcement May 10.

Kansas (divided government): All state government offices will return to in-person operations starting June 13. Masks will still be required in state buildings.

Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order until June 30. Mills said she will end the coronavirus emergency on that day. 

Mississippi (Republican trifecta): The state ended its participation in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs June 12. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) made the announcement May 10.

Missouri (Republican trifecta): The state ended its participation in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs June 12. Gov. Mike Parson (R) made the announcement May 11. 

North Carolina (divided government): On June 11, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) issued an executive order extending certain pandemic-related measures, including state eviction prohibitions and face-covering requirements in certain settings.

Vermont (divided government): 

  • On June 14, Gov. Phil Scott (R) lifted all remaining coronavirus restrictions in the state, including capacity restrictions and mask requirements for unvaccinated individuals. The restrictions were lifted after 80% of eligible state residents received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Reopening had initially been scheduled for July 4.
  • On June 11, Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced there would be new walk-in vaccination clinics open statewide over the weekend. A full list of vaccination sites can be found here.

Virginia (Democratic trifecta): On June 11, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced a $3 million pilot for the Return to Earn Grant Program, which would match payments from certain small businesses to provide newly hired employees with a bonus of up to $1,000.

Washington (Democratic trifecta): On June 10, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) extended a proclamation allowing for the expansion of the Family Emergency Assistance Program, allowing individuals and families without children to apply for benefits through the program.

This time last year: Monday, June 15, 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, June 15, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • New Hampshire’s statewide stay-at-home order expired on June 15. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) issued Emergency Order #17 on March 26. The order directed individuals in the state to stay at home unless performing essential activities and placed restrictions on non-essential businesses.
  • Travel restrictions:
    • Arkansas Secretary of Health Nathaniel Smith allowed the 14-day travel quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers coming from coronavirus hot spot areas—including New York and New Jersey—to expire. 
  • Election changes:
    • United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama Judge Abdul Kallon issued a preliminary injunction barring election officials from enforcing witness and photo ID requirements for select voters casting absentee ballots in the July 14 runoff elections.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #265: June 11, 2021

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

  • Mask requirements ending in Illinois and Kentucky
  • Pandemic-related unemployment benefits ending in Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, and Missouri
  • COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year 

We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements 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?

Alaska (divided government): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 12. Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) made the announcement May 14.

Iowa (Republican trifecta): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 12. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) made the announcement May 10.

Kansas (divided government): All state government offices will return to in-person operations starting June 13. Masks will still be required in state buildings.

Mississippi (Republican trifecta): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 12. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) made the announcement May 10.

Missouri (Republican trifecta): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 12. Gov. Mike Parson (R) made the announcement May 11. 

Vermont (divided government): On June 11, Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced there would be new walk-in vaccination clinics open across the state over the weekend. A full list of vaccination sites can be found here.

Since our last edition

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

Illinois (Democratic trifecta): The state is entering Phase 5 of reopening June 11. The statewide mask requirement is ending, and all remaining businesses and events can expand to full capacity.

Kentucky (divided government):

  • Gov. Andy Beshear (D) is ending the statewide mask requirement, remaining social distancing requirements, and all capacity restrictions June 11. 
  • Senior centers in the state will reopen at full capacity on June 11.

North Carolina (divided government): On June 10, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced a vaccine incentive program that will run from June 23 to Aug. 4. Adults who receive a vaccination starting on June 10 will be entered into four drawings for a $1 million cash prize, and people between the ages of 12 and 17 will be entered into four drawings for a $125,000 scholarship prize towards the post-secondary education of their choice.

Pennsylvania (divided government): 

  • The General Assembly voted to end Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) coronavirus emergency declaration June 10. HR106 passed 30-20 in the state Senate June 10. The state House voted 121-81 to approve the Senate version later in the day. The change is effective immediately. Wolf already ended all remaining mitigation measures May 31 except the requirement for unvaccinated individuals to wear masks indoors. HR106 does not affect the health secretary’s authority to require masks. 
  • Voters passed two ballot measures on May 18 to limit a governor’s emergency powers. Pennsylvania governors can now only issue 21-day state of emergency orders. After 21 days, the General Assembly can extend or end emergency orders through a majority vote. Previously, the legislature needed a two-thirds majority to overturn an emergency order.

Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Dan McKee (D) extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order until July 9.

This time last year: Thursday, June 11, 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, June 11, 2020:

  • Travel restrictions
    • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) extended the quarantine requirement for out-of-state and returning travelers through July 31. Ige first issued the two-week quarantine requirement on March 17.
  • Election changes:
    • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed HB167 into law, extending the deadline for a ballot-qualified party to notify the state of its presidential nominee from Aug. 18 to Aug. 25.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #264: June 10, 2021

Recommended subject line: Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #264: June 10, 2021

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

  • Changes in coronavirus restrictions in Kentucky
  • The end of social distancing in Maine schools
  • Vaccine distribution
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Travel restrictions
  • Federal responses
  • COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year 

We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements 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 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

Illinois (Democratic trifecta): The state will enter Phase 5 of reopening June 11. On that day, the statewide mask requirement will end, and large events and gatherings can expand to full capacity.

Kentucky (divided government):

  • Gov. Andy Beshear (D) will end the statewide mask requirement for everyone (including unvaccinated people) on June 11.
  • Senior centers in the state will reopen at full capacity on June 11.

Since our last edition

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

Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced all social distancing requirements will be lifted for schools in Fall 2021. Mills said she expected all schools to offer full-time, in-person instruction when the requirement ends. 

Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Wednesday, June 9, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) confirmed that venues that can hold 10,000 or more people will still be restricted to 75% capacity once the state lifts most COVID-19 restrictions. Inslee said he would lift most restrictions once 70% of eligible residents get vaccinated. 

Vaccine distribution

We last looked at vaccine distribution in the June 8 edition of the newsletter. As of June 9, the states with the highest vaccination rates as a percentage of total population (including children) were:

The states with the lowest rates were:

School closures and reopenings

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

We last looked at school closures and reopenings on June 3. Since then, no states changed school reopening guidelines.

Nationwide:

  • 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)
  • Thirteen states had state-ordered in-person instruction.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 15,432,755 students (30.51% of students nationwide)
  • One state (Ariz.) had state-ordered in-person instruction for certain grades.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 1,123,137 students (2.22% of students nationwide)
  • Thirty-four states left decisions to schools or districts.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 33,628,303 students (66.48% 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 24 of those orders have been rescinded. 
    • Since June 3, one state has announced plans to alter its travel restrictions.   

Details:

  • Hawaii – Governor David Ige (D) announced that fully vaccinated travelers who have been vaccinated in Hawaii will be able to bypass the quarantine or test requirement when flying in from out of state beginning June 15. He also announced all inter-county travel restrictions will end on June 15.

Federal responses

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

  • On June 8, Department of Defense (DoD) press secretary John Kirby announced the DoD would close three mass vaccination sites, leaving five in operation around the country. The DoD and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) operated 35 sites earlier in the year when demand for vaccines was highest.
  • On June 3, President Joe Biden (D) announced the U.S will share 25 million coronavirus doses with foreign countries. Nineteen million will go to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVAX initiative, while the remainder will go directly to countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

This time last year: Friday, June 12, 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, June 12, 2020:

  • Election changes:
    • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) signed HB1169 into law, reducing the witness signature requirement on completed absentee ballots from two to one.
    • California Judge Perry Parker of the Sutter County Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order suspending Executive Order N-67-20, which authorized counties to consolidate polling places in the Nov. 3 general election, provided the counties offered three days of early voting.