TagCoronavirus

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

Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #282: July 13, 2021

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

  • Court rulings in Maryland and Indiana requiring those states to resume participating in federal pandemic unemployment programs 
  • In-person education at K-12 schools in Illinois 
  • Vaccine distribution
  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies 
  • State-level mask requirements
  • COVID-19 emergency health orders
  • 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 Thursday? Click here.

Since our last edition

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

Arizona (Republican trifecta): The state stopped participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs on July 10. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) made the announcement May 13.

Colorado (Democratic trifecta): On July 8, Gov. Jared Polis (D) ended the coronavirus health emergency order. Polis also signed executive order focused on measures meant to help Colorado recover from the coronavirus.

Delaware (Democratic trifecta): The coronavirus state of emergency ended July 12. Gov. John Carney (D) signed an executive order setting the date for the emergency’s end on June 15.

Illinois (Democratic trifecta): On July 9, state Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala issued a declaration requiring in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year. Remote instruction will be available to students who are unable to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

Indiana (Republican trifecta): On Monday, July 12, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the state must comply with Superior Court Judge John Hanley’s June 25 emergency order to resume participation in federal pandemic unemployment programs. Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) ended the state’s participation in those programs on June 19. 

Maryland (divided government): On Tuesday, July 13, Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill ruled the state must continue participating in federal pandemic unemployment programs. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) ended participation in those programs on July 3. The programs are scheduled to end in September. Hogan said he would not challenge the ruling. 

Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): On July 6, Gov. Dan McKee (D) signed an executive order ending the statewide mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

Vaccine distribution

We last looked at vaccine distribution in the July 8 edition of the newsletter. As of July 12, 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 1,830 lawsuits, in 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 557 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since July 6, we have added five lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional two court orders and/or settlements. 

Details:

  • Slidewaters LLC v. Washington State Department of Labor and Industries: On July 8, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled against a water park that had sued over Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s (D) COVID-19 restrictions. The water park had attempted to remain open in violation of Inslee’s capacity restrictions and business closure orders. Slidewaters sued, alleging Inslee and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries lacked authority to issue and enforce temporary emergency rules during the pandemic, and that their actions were unconstitutional violations of due process. Chief Judge Thomas Rice, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, denied Slidewaters’ motion for an injunction, ruling that the infringement of civil liberties was “justified by the ongoing public health emergency caused by COVID-19.” On July 15, 2020, Slidewaters appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit affirmed Rice’s decision and dismissed the case. Judge Richard R. Clifton, writing for a unanimous three-judge panel, said, “Defendants have the authority under Washington law to impose the restrictions and … doing so does not violate Slidewaters’ asserted rights under the U.S. Constitution.” The Ninth Circuit ruled the state’s actions were rationally connected to the legitimate state interest of mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Neither party has issued a statement on the decision. Clifton is an appointee of President George W. Bush (R).

State mask requirements

We last looked at face coverings in the July 6 edition of the newsletter. Since then, a statewide mask order expired in Rhode Island.

COVID-19 emergency health orders

Read more: State emergency health orders during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2021

Governors and state agencies in all 50 states issued orders declaring active emergencies in response to the coronavirus pandemic. These orders allowed officials to access resources, like stockpiles of medical goods and equipment, unavailable to them during non-emergencies and temporarily waive or suspend certain rules and regulations. 

Overview: 

  • COVID-19 emergency orders have expired in 25 states. Emergency orders remain active in 27 states.
  • Since July 6, three states have ended their statewide COVID-19 emergencies. 

Details:

  • On July 13, Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) ended the statewide COVID-19 state of emergency. 
  • On July 8, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) ended the statewide COVID-19 health emergency.
  • On July 6, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) terminated the statewide COVID-19 emergency.

This time last year: Monday, July 13, and Tuesday, July 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.

Monday, July 13, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) reimposed some coronavirus restrictions due to increasing coronavirus cases, including prohibiting indoor dining at bars and restaurants. Indoor dining had been permitted since June 1. State parks were closed to out-of-state visitors and visitors who could not prove their residency. The state’s mask requirement expanded to include anyone exercising in a public space.
  • Travel restrictions:
    • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) extended the quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers through Sept. 1. Previously, Ige said a new program would take effect Aug. 1 that would allow visitors to present a negative coronavirus test to avoid the quarantine requirement. That program would not start until Oct. 15.
  • Mask requirements:
    • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) issued an executive proclamation establishing a statewide face-covering requirement in any indoor or outdoor public space. The order exempted children under the age of eight, as well as individuals with medical conditions preventing them from wearing face coverings. The order also allowed parishes to opt out if they maintained a COVID-19 incidence rate of fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 people for the previous two weeks.
  • State court changes:
    • Iowa courtrooms reopened to in-person proceedings with restrictions. Social distancing of at least six feet was required. The state set a goal of resuming jury trials on Sept. 14.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced the state would remain in Phase Two of reopening until Aug. 7. Previously, the state had been scheduled to enter Phase Three on July 17. 
    • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) reduced the statewide limit on gatherings from 100 people to 25. Justice also announced that bars in Monongalia County would also be closed for 10 days in response to rising coronavirus cases.
  • Travel restrictions:
    • Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that New Mexico, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota had been added to the joint travel advisory originally announced June 24, requiring travelers from those states to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in the tristate area. 
  • Election changes:
    • Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos (D) announced the state would send mail-in ballot request forms to all eligible voters in the Aug. 11 primary election.


A look back at government responses to the coronavirus pandemic, July 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 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 July 13-17, 2020. To read more of our past coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, click here

Monday, July 13, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) reimposed some coronavirus restrictions due to increasing coronavirus cases, including once again prohibiting indoor dining at bars and restaurants. Indoor dining had been permitted since June 1. The state also closed state parks to out-of-state visitors and visitors who cannot prove their residency. The state’s mask requirement expanded to include anyone exercising in a public space.
  • Travel restrictions:
    • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) announced he was extending the quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers through Sept. 1. Previously, Ige had said a new program would take effect Aug. 1 that would allow visitors to avoid the quarantine requirement by presenting a negative coronavirus test. The program would not start until Oct. 15.
  • Mask requirements:
    • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) issued an executive proclamation establishing a statewide face-covering requirement in any indoor or outdoor public space. The order exempted children under the age of eight, as well as individuals with medical conditions preventing them from wearing face coverings, and allowed parishes to opt out if they maintained a COVID-19 incidence rate of fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 people for the previous two weeks.
  • State court changes:
    • Iowa courtrooms reopened to in-person proceedings with restrictions. Social distancing of at least six feet was required. The state set a goal of resuming jury trials on Sept. 14.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced that the state would remain in Phase Two of reopening until Aug. 7. Previously, the state had been scheduled to enter Phase Three on July 17. 
    • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) reduced the statewide limit on gatherings from 100 people to 25. He also announced that bars in Monongalia County will also be closed for 10 days in response to rising coronavirus cases.
  • Travel restrictions:
    • Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that New Mexico, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota had been added to the joint travel advisory originally announced June 24, requiring travelers from those states to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in the tristate area. 
  • Election changes:
    • Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos (D) announced that the state would send mail-in ballot request forms to all eligible voters in the Aug. 11 primary election.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

  • Election changes:
    • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia Judge John A. Gibney reduced petition signature requirements for unaffiliated and minor-party candidates for federal office in Virginia as follows: 2,500 signatures for presidential candidates; 3,500 signatures for U.S. Senate candidates; and 350 signatures for U.S. House candidates. He extended the filing deadline for unaffiliated and minor-party congressional candidates to Aug. 1.
  • Mask requirements
    • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) announced a statewide mask order requiring individuals to wear masks inside certain businesses and at outdoor gatherings of greater than 50 people where social distancing was not possible.
    • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) expanded the statewide face-covering mandate to require masks in outdoor public spaces when six-foot distancing could not be maintained.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

  • Mask requirements: 
    • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) issued a mask order that required face coverings in public when social distancing with non-household members could not be kept.
  • Federal government responses:
    • Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced on Twitter that the Department of Homeland Security would extend its prohibition on nonessential travel with Canada and Mexico through Aug. 20.
  • State court changes:
    • North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley announced she was maintaining the pause on jury trials through the end of September. She also announced that masks would be required in courthouses going forward.
  • Eviction and foreclosure policies:
    • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) allowed the statewide moratorium on evictions to expire. She first issued the moratorium on March 20.

Friday, July 17, 2020 

  • Election changes:
    • United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas Judge Lynn Hughes ruled the Republican Party of Texas could proceed as planned with its in-person state convention, overturning the cancellation issued by Houston officials on July 8.
    • New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) signed HB1266 into law, which formally established concern over COVID-19 as a valid reason for voting absentee in both the September 8 primary and November 3 general elections. The legislation also temporarily allowed voters to submit one absentee ballot application for both elections.
    • Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate (R) announced that absentee ballot application forms would be sent automatically to all active registered voters in the November 3 general election.
    • Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) issued an emergency rule allowing any qualified voter to cast an absentee ballot in the November 3 general election.
  • Mask requirements: 
    • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) issued a mask mandate requiring individuals older than 10 to wear a mask inside buildings that are open to the public.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that counties on the state’s coronavirus watch list would begin the public school year with online education only. At the time of the announcement, 33 of the state’s 58 counties were on the watch list. 
    • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) ordered that students in public and accredited nonpublic schools spend at least half of their schooling in-person. She said districts could seek waivers to the requirement from the state Department of Education. 

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 #281: July 8, 2021

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

  • Changes in coronavirus restrictions in Hawaii
  • Legislation in Missouri protecting organizations from COVID-19 liability
  • Vaccine distribution
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Travel restrictions
  • State proof-of-vaccination requirements and policies
  • 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 Tuesday? Click here.

Upcoming news

What is changing in the next five days?

Arizona (Republican trifecta): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting July 10. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) made the announcement May 13.

Since our last edition

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

Alabama (Republican trifecta): On July 6, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) ended the coronavirus state of emergency.

Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): On July 8, restaurant capacity was expanded to 75% and social gathering limits were increased to 25 individuals indoors and 75 individuals outdoors. Gov. David Ige (D) announced on June 7 that these restriction changes would take effect when the state reached a 60% vaccination rate. 

Illinois (Democratic trifecta): On July 7, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced vaccination incentives for frontline state employees. Employees who have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine can enter a lottery to win cash bonuses, airline vouchers, sports tickets, lifetime fishing and hunting licenses, and passes to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and the State Fair.

Michigan (divided government): On Wednesday, July 7, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed an education funding bill that includes $4.4 billion in federal COVID-19 relief. The $17 billion bill increases per-pupil funding in public and charter schools. 

Missouri (Republican trifecta): On July 7, Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed SB51 into law, which protects healthcare providers, businesses, religious organizations, and other entities from civil liability related to the coronavirus.

Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): On July 6, Gov. Dan McKee (D) announced a vaccination incentive fund that will distribute seventy-five $10,000 grants to nonprofit organizations. Lotteries for the grants will be held for every 5,000 vaccines administered to residents. 

Vaccine distribution

We last looked at vaccine distribution in the July 6 edition of the newsletter. As of July 7, 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 July 1. Since then, no states have 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.
    • 2019-20 enrollment: 410,896 students (0.81% of students nationwide)
  • Thirteen states had state-ordered in-person instruction.
    • 2019-20 enrollment: 15,697,460 students (30.96% of students nationwide)
  • One state (Ariz.) had state-ordered in-person instruction for certain grades.
    • 2019-20 enrollment: 1,152,586 students (2.27% of students nationwide)
  • Thirty-four states left decisions to schools or districts.
    • 2019-20 enrollment: 33,449,499 students (65.96% 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 July 1, one state has announced changes to its travel restrictions.   

Details:

  • Hawaii – Effective July 8, fully vaccinated out-of-state travelers can bypass the requirement to quarantine for 10 days or provide a negative COVID-19 test. Previously, only travelers fully vaccinated in the state of Hawaii could bypass the restrictions. 

State proof-of-vaccination requirements and policies
Read more: State government policies about proof-of-vaccination (vaccine passport) requirements

States have adopted various rules regarding proof of vaccination. Some have enacted bans preventing government entities from requiring people to demonstrate proof of vaccination. Others are working on technology that would allow people to demonstrate their vaccine status.  

Overview:

  • Nineteen states have passed legislation or issued orders prohibiting proof-of-vaccination requirements at some or all levels of government. 
  • Four states have backed the creation of digital vaccination status applications. Those applications allow fully vaccinated individuals to bypass COVID-19 restrictions in some circumstances.
    • Since July 1, no states have enacted policies related to proof-of-vaccination requirements or digital vaccination status applications.  

Federal responses

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

  •  President Joe Biden (D) discussed new steps his administration would take to raise vaccination rates and combat the Delta variant, including effort to get people vaccinated through door-to-door community outreach. Biden said he would send federal teams to places with low vaccination rates to help local officials with contact tracing.

This time last year: Wednesday, July 8 and Thursday, July 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.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • Long Island, New York, entered Phase IV of the state’s reopening plan. 
  • Election changes:
    • Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the cancellation of the Republican Party of Texas convention. The convention had been scheduled for July 16-18 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
    • The South Carolina Election Commission announced that return postage for all mailed absentee ballots in the Nov. 3 general election would be prepaid.
    • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed HB1521 into law. The legislation extended the postmark deadline for absentee ballots to Nov. 3 and the receipt deadline to Nov. 10. The legislation also allowed individuals in physician-ordered quarantine or providing care for a dependant due to COVID-19 to vote absentee.
    • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) ordered the state board of elections to send absentee/mail-in ballot request forms to all qualified voters in the Nov. 3 general election.
    • United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia Judge Eleanor L. Ross issued an order in Cooper v. Raffensperger reducing the petition signature requirement for independent and minor-party candidates in Georgia to 70% of their original numbers.
  • Mask requirements
    • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an executive order requiring individuals to wear face masks outdoors when social distancing is not possible. 
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced Sept. 8 as a target date for reopening schools.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a proclamation suspending elective surgeries in hospitals in 11 of the state’s 22 trauma service areas. The proclamation was aimed at expanding hospital capacity to deal with a surge in coronavirus cases.
  • Mask requirements: 
    • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) issued an executive order requiring individuals in certain counties to wear face masks in public. The order applied to counties with 200 new cases in the past 14 days or with an average of 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the same period.
  • Election changes:
    • Texas 80th District Court Judge Larry Weiman rejected requests from both the Republican Party of Texas and Steve Hotze, a Houston Republican, to bar Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner from canceling the state Republican party convention, originally scheduled for July 16-18.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) announced that when K-12 schools reopen, all students, faculty, staff, and visitors would be required to wear masks in buildings and on buses.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #280: July 6, 2021

Note: Beginning today, Documenting America’s Path to Recovery will switch to a biweekly schedule. We will send editions out every Tuesday and Thursday. With state news related to coronavirus restrictions slowing down, we hope this adjusted schedule will better serve you.

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

  • The reopening of courthouses in Vermont
  • An extended utility moratorium in Washington
  • Vaccine distribution
  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies 
  • State-level mask requirements
  • COVID-19 emergency health orders
  • 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.

Since our last edition

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

Maryland (divided government): On July 3, Baltimore Circuit Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill issued a temporary order requiring the state to continue participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) had said the state would stop participating in such programs on July 3.

New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): On July 4, health and safety protocols enacted under the statewide public health emergency expired, including those related to social distancing and masking. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed Assembly Bill 5820 on June 4, ending the public health emergency. After signing the legislation, Murphy issued an order allowing health protocols issued under the emergency to remain in place through July 4.    

North Carolina (divided government): On Friday, July 2, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) vetoed Senate Bill 116. The legislation would have ended the state’s participation in federal pandemic unemployment programs, which are set to expire in September. The bill passed the Senate 26-22 and the House 66-44. 

Tennessee (Republican trifecta): The state stopped participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs on July 3. Gov. Bill Lee (R) made the announcement May 11.

Vermont (divided government): Effective Tuesday, July 6, most of the state’s courthouses reopened to in-person proceedings. A Vermont Judiciary news release said some small or poorly ventilated courthouses would stay closed. The release also said that because some judges will choose to hold remote proceedings, visitors should check with the courthouse before arriving in-person.   

Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Friday, July 2, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) extended the statewide utilities moratorium through Sept. 30. The moratorium prohibits utility companies from charging late fees or disconnecting customers for failure to pay bills while the state is under a state of emergency. Inslee said this would be the final extension. 

Vaccine distribution

We last looked at vaccine distribution in the July 1 edition of the newsletter. As of July 2, 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 1,825 lawsuits, in 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 555 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since June 29, we have added one lawsuit to our database. We have also tracked one additional court order and/or settlement. 

Details:

  • Alabama Association of Realtors v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: On June 29, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to suspend the nationwide eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Alabama Association of Realtors had asked the Supreme Court to vacate a stay pending appeal issued by U.S. District Court Judge Dabney L. Friedrich, a Donald Trump (R) appointee. The stay keeps the moratorium in effect while the CDC appeals Friedrich’s earlier order, which held that the CDC had overstepped its authority in issuing the moratorium. The CDC moratorium provides eviction protection for tenants who have suffered economic harm due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In their emergency application, the plaintiffs said that the moratorium constitutes administrative overreach, arguing that “Congress never gave the CDC the staggering amount of power it now claims.” The court denied the application to vacate the stay in an unsigned order. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett said they would have vacated the stay, meaning the remaining justices (Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Brett Kavanaugh) formed the deciding majority. In a concurring opinion, Kavanaugh said that, while he agreed the CDC had “exceeded its existing statutory authority,” a balance of equities favors the stay because “the CDC plans to end the moratorium in only a few weeks.” 

State mask requirements

We last looked at face coverings in the June 29 edition of the newsletter. Since then, a statewide mask order expired in Oregon.

COVID-19 emergency health orders

Read more: State emergency health orders during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2021

Governors and state agencies in all 50 states issued orders declaring active emergencies in response to the coronavirus pandemic. These orders allowed officials to access resources, like stockpiles of medical goods and equipment, unavailable to them during non-emergencies and temporarily waive or suspend certain rules and regulations. 

Overview: 

  • COVID-19 emergency orders have expired in 22 states. Emergency orders remain active in 28 states.
  • Since June 29, six states have ended their statewide COVID-19 emergencies. 

Details: 

  • Maine – On June 30, Gov. Janet Mills (D) allowed the statewide COVID-19 civil emergency to expire.
  • Montana – On June 30, Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) ended the statewide COVID-19 emergency.
  • Nebraska – On June 30, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) allowed the statewide COVID-19 emergency to expire.
  • Virginia – On June 30, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) allowed the statewide COVID-19 state of emergency to expire.
  • Minnesota – On July 1, the state House and Senate ended the COVID-19 state of emergency. The vote happened June 30. 
  • Maryland – On July 1, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) allowed the statewide COVID-19 emergency to expire.

This time last year: Monday, July 6, and Tuesday, July 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.

Monday, July 6, 2020

  • Travel restrictions:
    • Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady issued an order requiring travelers entering the city of Chicago from states experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases to self-quarantine for 14 days. At the time, the order applied to travelers from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
  • Election changes:
    • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed a bill extending vote-by-mail eligibility in the fall primary and general elections to all qualified voters.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • The Florida Department of Education ordered that all school boards and charter school governing boards must physically open schools for at least five days per week for all students beginning in August.
    • The Kentucky Department of Education released guidelines on reopening schools in the fall. The document, a complement to interim guidance the Kentucky Department of Public Health issued in June, did not mandate a uniform course of action for reopening schools. Instead, it was a guide for local districts. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • North Carolina Business Court Judge James L. Gale ruled that bowling alleys could reopen immediately. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) had closed them in March. Cooper filed for a stay until the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court could hear the case.
  • Travel restrictions:
    • Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that Delaware, Kansas, and Oklahoma had been added to the joint travel advisory requiring visitors from those states to quarantine for 14 days upon entering Connecticut, New York, or New Jersey. 
  • Federal government responses:
    • The federal government awarded $1.6 billion to Novavax Inc. for clinical studies of a coronavirus vaccine, and $450 million to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. to manufacture doses of an experimental treatment for COVID-19.
  • Mask requirements:
    • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) issued an executive order requiring everyone over the age of nine to wear a face covering in indoor public places when social distancing wasn’t possible.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) released guidance for universities and colleges planning on reopening in the fall. It called for reducing capacity in dining halls and requiring all students to receive testing at the beginning of the year. 
    • Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath released guidance for reopening schools in the fall. It said parents would be able to choose between on-campus and distance learning options. 


Looking back at government responses to the coronavirus pandemic, July 6-July 10, 2020

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

Here are the policy changes that happened July 6-July 10, 2020. To read more of our past coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, click here

Monday, July 6, 2020

  • Travel restrictions:
    • Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady issued an order requiring travelers entering the city of Chicago from states experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases to self-quarantine for 14 days. At the time, the order applied to travelers from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
  • Election changes:
    • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed a bill extending vote-by-mail eligibility in the fall primary and general elections to all qualified voters.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • The Florida Department of Education ordered that all school boards and charter school governing boards must physically open schools for at least five days per week for all students beginning in August.
    • The Kentucky Department of Education released guidelines on reopening schools in the fall. The document, a complement to interim guidance the Kentucky Department of Public Health issued in June, did not mandate a uniform course of action for reopening schools. Instead, the document was intended as a guide for local districts. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • North Carolina Business Court Judge James L. Gale ruled that bowling alleys could reopen immediately. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) had closed them in March. Cooper filed for a stay until the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court could hear the case.
  • Travel restrictions:
    • Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that Delaware, Kansas, and Oklahoma had been added to the joint travel advisory requiring visitors from those states to quarantine for 14 days upon entering Connecticut, New York, or New Jersey. 
  • Federal government responses:
    • The federal government awarded $1.6 billion to Novavax Inc. for clinical studies of a coronavirus vaccine, and $450 million to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. to manufacture doses of an experimental treatment for COVID-19.
  • Mask requirements:
    • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) issued an executive order requiring everyone over the age of nine to wear a face covering in indoor public places when social distancing isn’t possible.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) released guidance for universities and colleges planning on reopening in the fall. The guidance called for reducing capacity in dining halls and requiring all students to receive testing at the beginning of the year. 
    • Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath released guidance for reopening schools in the fall. The guidance said parents would be able to choose between on-campus and distance learning options. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • Long Island, New York, entered Phase IV of the state’s reopening plan. 
  • Election changes:
    • Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the cancellation of the Republican Party of Texas convention. The convention had been scheduled for July 16 through July 18 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
    • The South Carolina Election Commission announced that return postage for all mailed absentee ballots in the November 3 general election would be prepaid.
    • Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves (R) signed HB1521 into law. The legislation extended the postmark deadline for absentee ballots to Nov. 3 and the receipt deadline to Nov. 10. The legislation also established that an individual under a physician-ordered quarantine, or an individual caring for a dependent under quarantine, due to COVID-19 was eligible to vote by absentee ballot.
    • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) ordered the state board of elections to send absentee/mail-in ballot request forms to all qualified voters in the Nov. 3 general election.
    • United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia Judge Eleanor L. Ross issued an order in Cooper v. Raffensperger, reducing the petition signature requirement for independent and minor-party candidates in Georgia to 70 percent of their original numbers.
  • Mask requirements: 
    • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an executive order requiring individuals to wear face masks outdoors when social distancing is not possible. 
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced Sept. 8 as a target date for reopening schools.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

  1. Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    1. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a proclamation suspending elective surgeries in hospitals in 11 of the state’s 22 trauma service areas. The proclamation was aimed at expanding hospital capacity to deal with a surge in coronavirus cases.
  2. Mask requirements: 
    1. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves issued an executive order requiring individuals in certain counties to wear face masks in public. The order applied to counties with 200 new cases in the past 14 days or with an average of 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the same period.
  3. Election changes:
    1. Texas 80th District Court Judge Larry Weiman rejected requests from both the Republican Party of Texas and Steve Hotze, a Houston Republican, to bar Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner from cancelling the state Republican party convention, originally scheduled for July 16-18.
  4. School closures and reopenings:
    1. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) announced that when K-12 schools reopen, all students, faculty, staff, and visitors would be required to wear masks in buildings and on buses.

Friday, July 10, 2020 

  1. Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    1. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced malls could reopen as part of Phase IV of the state’s reopening plan. Cuomo required malls to implement ventilation protocols with HVAC systems capable of filtering the coronavirus before they reopened. 
    2. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) ordered bars in several counties, including Washoe and Clark, to close effective 11:59 p.m. on July 10. Under the order, restaurants will not be allowed to seat parties larger than six and must close their bar areas.
  2. Mask requirements: 
    1. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) issued a statewide indoor mask mandate. The order applied to people five and older, and included public transportation in addition to places like restaurants and grocery stores. 

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 #278: July 1, 2021

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

  • An expired eviction moratorium in Connecticut
  • A vaccine incentive initiative in Michigan
  • 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.

Since our last edition

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

Connecticut (Democratic trifecta): On June 30, Gov. Ned Lamont (D) ended the state’s eviction moratorium. In his executive order, he also extended the appeal period for tenants from three to 30 days, and required that landlords apply for federal relief funding dedicated to covering unpaid rent before evicting tenants.

Georgia (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, June 30, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) ended the statewide COVID-19 emergency and issued two orders that maintain several provisions of the emergency order, including the suspension of some rules related to remote notarization and remote grand jury proceedings. 

Indiana (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, June 30, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) extended the statewide COVID-19 emergency through July 30. 

Maryland (divided government): The statewide COVID-19 state of emergency ended effective July 1. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) made the announcement on June 15, and said some emergency measures, such as an eviction moratorium and a grace period for drivers with expired licenses, will stay in place for an additional 45 days.

Michigan (divided government): On Thursday, July 1, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) unveiled “MI Shot to Win,” a vaccine incentive initiative featuring a $5 million lottery and up to $500,000 in college scholarships. The lottery includes a $2 million grand prize, a $1 million prize, and 30 daily drawings of $50,000. The initiative runs from July 1 to Aug. 3. 

Minnesota (divided government): The statewide COVID-19 peacetime emergency ended effective July 1. The state House and Senate voted June 30 to end the peacetime emergency as part of a budget deal. Gov. Tim Walz (D) originally planned to end the emergency Aug. 1, but said he would not seek an extension beyond July 1 after he struck a deal with the U.S. Department of Agriculture that preserved emergency food aid.  

Montana (Republican trifecta): On June 30, Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) ended Montana’s state of emergency.

New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Effective July 1, New Mexico retired its county-by-county restriction system and all business capacity and mass gathering restrictions. 

Virginia (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declined to extend the statewide COVID-19 public health emergency beyond June 30.

Vaccine distribution

We last looked at vaccine distribution in the June 29 edition of the newsletter. As of June 30, 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 24. 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 24, one state has announced changes to its travel restrictions.  

Details:

  • Hawaii – Gov. David Ige (D) announced fully vaccinated interstate travelers will be able to bypass Hawaii’s testing and quarantine requirements starting July 8.

Federal responses

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

  • On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to keep in place the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) nationwide evictions moratorium. A group of landlords and trade associations filed the lawsuit, which the Court accepted on an emergency basis. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said she would not extend the moratorium beyond July 31, 2021.

This time last year: July 2, 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 read more of our past coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, click here

July 2, 2020:

  • Travel restrictions:
    • The Pennsylvania Department of Health recommended that residents who traveled to 15 states with rising COVID-19 cases quarantine for 14 days upon returning to the state. At the time, those states were: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
  • Election changes:
    • Vermont S348 became law without the signature of Gov. Phil Scott (R). The legislation authorized the secretary of state to modify election procedures without the governor’s approval.
    • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) and Secretary of State John Thurston (R) announced that voters in the Nov. 3 general election would be allowed to cite concerns over COVID-19 as a valid excuse for voting absentee.
    • The U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked a district 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. The Court’s ruling gave the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit time to hear a pending appeal of the district court’s decision.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) released guidelines for reopening schools. The guidelines included a requirement that all staff wear masks and a recommendation that students in third grade or higher wear masks.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #276: June 29, 2021

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

  • Changes in coronavirus restrictions in Washington
  • School mask guidance for the upcoming school year in New Jersey
  • 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.

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Wednesday, June 30, nearly all statewide coronavirus restrictions on businesses and individuals will end. Capacity restrictions on indoor events with more than 10,000 attendees will remain in place after June 30. Those events will continue to be limited to 75% capacity through at least July 31. 

Since our last edition

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

New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): On June 28, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced new guidance from the New Jersey Department of Health and the New Jersey Department of Education for mask usage during the upcoming school year. Murphy said, barring changes to CDC guidance or health metrics, masks will not be required for students in schools. School districts can still require mask usage.

Texas (Republican trifecta): On Monday, June 28, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced he was allocating $94.6 million in federal COVID-19 CARES Act funds to the Higher Education Coordinating Board. The Board will use the money to increase student enrollment and help colleges and universities expand or start programs in fields experiencing labor shortages, including healthcare and logistics. 

Vaccine distribution

We last looked at vaccine distribution in the June 24 edition of the newsletter. As of June 28, 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 1,824 lawsuits, in 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 554 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since June 22, we have added seven lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional six court orders and/or settlements. 

Details:

  • Klaassen v. The Trustees of Indiana University: On June 21, a group of current and incoming Indiana University (IU) students sued the school, challenging its COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The mandate requires that non-exempt students, staff, and faculty be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before the beginning of the fall semester. According to IU, non-exempt students refusing vaccination will have their class registrations cancelled and will be barred from participating in any on-campus activities. IU recognizes certain medical, religious, and online student exemptions. The plaintiffs allege IU’s mandate violates their Fourteenth Amendment rights to bodily integrity and refusal of medical treatment. The students say the university is also violating state law, arguing that “state and local units are prohibited from requiring or issuing vaccine ‘passports’ that indicate an individual’s COVID immunization status.” James Bopp Jr., lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said, “They’re suing because they’re being stripped of their constitutional rights to make medical treatment decisions for themselves and to protect their own bodily integrity.” University spokesman Chuck Carney said, “The university is confident it will prevail in this case.” The case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana and has been assigned to Judge Damon R. Leichty, an appointee of President Donald Trump (R).

State mask requirements

We last looked at face coverings in the June 22 edition of the newsletter. Since then, a statewide mask order expired in Pennsylvania.

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 22, no candidates or officeholders have been diagnosed with, died from, or quarantined because of COVID-19.

This time last year: Tuesday, June 30, 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 read more of our past coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) moved the state into the third phase of reopening. Phase 3 allowed gatherings of up to 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors. It also allowed entertainment businesses (like bowling alleys and movie theaters) and some larger events (like concerts and festivals) to reopen with restrictions.
  • Travel restrictions:
    • Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that eight more states had been added to a June 24 joint travel advisory requiring out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days. The eight states were: California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, and Tennessee.
    • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that visitors to Massachusetts from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, and New Jersey would no longer need to self-quarantine for 14 days. The advisory to self-quarantine remained in effect for visitors from other parts of the country.
    • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) extended the mandatory 14-day quarantine for all out-of-state travelers.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Treasury Department and the IRS announced that the deadline to file taxes would not be extended beyond July 15. The IRS postponed the original April 15 deadline due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) released the “MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap,” a set of guidelines local districts could use to draft their own reopening plans for the fall. 
  • Eviction moratoriums:
    • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed a bill to extend the state’s moratorium on commercial and residential evictions through Sept. 30. The bill also gave renters until March 31, 2021, to pay outstanding balances. 


A look back at government responses to the coronavirus pandemic, June 29-July 3, 2020

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

Here are the policy changes that happened June 29-July 3, 2020. To read more of our past coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, click here

Monday, June 29, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • Kentucky entered the final stage of its reopening plan, effectively ending Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) stay-at-home order. Under the final stage, groups of 50 or fewer people were allowed to gather in one location, and bars and restaurants were permitted to reopen at 50% capacity. 
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Defense Department announced that it had lifted travel restrictions on military installations in ten more states, allowing service members to resume recreational travel and change-of-station moves. The Defense Department also lifted restrictions on troops in Guam, Puerto Rico, and South Korea.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) approved a Utah State Board of Education plan for reopening schools in the fall. The Board required all public schools to create and post a reopening plan online by August 1.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) moved the state into the third phase of reopening. Phase 3 allowed gatherings of up to 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors. It also allowed entertainment businesses (like bowling alleys and movie theaters) and some larger events (like concerts and festivals) to reopen with restrictions.
  • Travel restrictions:
    • Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that eight more states had been added to a June 24 joint travel advisory requiring out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days. The eight states were California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee.
    • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that visitors to Massachusetts from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, and New Jersey would no longer need to self-quarantine for 14 days. The advisory to self-quarantine remained in effect for visitors from other parts of the country.
    • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) extended the mandatory 14-day quarantine for all out-of-state travelers.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Treasury Department and the IRS announced that the deadline to file taxes would not be extended beyond July 15. The IRS postponed the original April 15 deadline due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) released the “MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap,” a set of guidelines local districts could use to draft their own reopening plans for the fall. 
  • Eviction moratoriums:
    • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed a bill to extend the state’s moratorium on commercial and residential evictions through Sept. 30. The bill also gave renters until March 31, 2021, to pay back nonpayment balances. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • Maine moved into a new phase of reopening, allowing indoor amusement facilities, movie theaters, outdoor amusement facilities, performing arts venues, casinos, and close-contact personal services like nail salons to reopen at varying capacities. 
  • Election changes:
    • In New York, the filing deadline for independent nominating petitions was extended to July 30.
    • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) signed HB346 into law, providing for the state election commission to automatically deliver a vote-by-mail application to every qualified voter in the 2020 primary, general, and special elections.
  • Mask requirements: 
    • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) issued a statewide mandate requiring people to wear masks in indoor public spaces. 
  • Ballot measure changes:
    • Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden (R) filed an emergency motion asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to stay a lower court’s ruling allowing for electronic gathering of petition signatures. The case had been brought by Reclaim Idaho, an organization aiming to qualify an initiative for the ballot to raise the state income tax to fund K-12 education.
    • The Colorado Supreme Court rejected Gov. Jared Polis’s (D) executive order allowing for ballot initiative petitions to be signed through the mail and email and instead ruled that initiative proponents must gather signatures in person.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • The Iowa Department of Education allowed K-12 public schools to reopen. Officials announced there would be no requirement for students or staff to wear face coverings, undergo health checks, or social distance.
    • The Wyoming Department of Education released guidance for reopening schools in the state. The state’s 48 school districts were responsible for developing reopening plans in accordance with the guidance and submitting those plans for state approval. 
  • Eviction moratoriums:
    • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed an order that allowed residential evictions to resume for actions that did not include the non-payment of rent.
    • New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) ended the statewide moratorium on evictions.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

  • Travel restrictions:
    • The Pennsylvania Department of Health recommended that residents who traveled to 15 states with rising COVID-19 cases quarantine for 14 days upon returning to the state. At the time, those states were Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
  • Election changes:
    • Vermont S348 became law without the signature of Gov. Phil Scott (R). The legislation authorized the secretary of state to implement modifications to election procedures without the approval of the governor.
    • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) and Secretary of State John Thurston (R) announced that voters in the Nov. 3 general election would be allowed to cite concerns over COVID-19 as a valid excuse for voting absentee.
    • The Supreme Court of the United States temporarily stayed a district 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. The Court implemented the stay to give the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit time to hear a pending appeal of the district court’s decision.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) released guidelines for reopening schools in the state. The guidelines included a requirement that all staff wear masks and a recommendation that students in third grade or higher wear masks.

Friday, July 3, 2020 

  • Travel restrictions:
    • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) exempted visitors from Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York from the state’s 14-day quarantine requirement or negative COVID-19 testing alternative.
  • Mask requirements:
    • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) issued a statewide mask mandate requiring individuals older than five to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces and outdoors when social distancing could not be maintained.
    • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a mandate requiring people living in counties with more than 20 coronavirus cases to wear a mask in indoor and outdoor settings when social distancing wasn’t possible. Counties with fewer than 20 coronavirus cases could choose to opt out of the requirement.

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 #275: June 28, 2021

Note: Documenting America’s Path to Recovery will switch to a biweekly schedule starting July 6. We will send editions out every Tuesday and Thursday. With state news related to coronavirus restrictions slowing down, we hope this adjusted schedule will better serve our readers.

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

  • A vaccine incentive initiative in Connecticut
  • An Indiana judge’s ruling that the state must participate in federal pandemic unemployment programs
  • 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?

Delaware (Democratic trifecta): Gov. John Carney (D) announced a list of community vaccination and pop-up testing sites. A full list of locations can be found here.

Since our last edition

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

Arkansas (Republican trifecta): The state stopped participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs June 26. Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) made the announcement May 7.

Connecticut (Democratic trifecta): On June 25, Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced a vaccine incentive program called Rock the Shot. Individuals 18 and older who have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine can enter a drawing to win concert tickets. Additionally, the first 24 people vaccinated at certain vaccination sites will receive concert tickets.

Florida (Republican trifecta): 

  • The state stopped participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs June 26. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) made the announcement May 24.
  • On Saturday, June 26, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) allowed the statewide COVID-19 emergency to expire. DeSantis first declared the state of emergency on March 10, 2020.

Georgia (Republican trifecta): The state stopped participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs June 26. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) made the announcement May 13.

Indiana (Republican trifecta): On Friday, June 25, Marion Superior Court Judge John Haley temporarily halted Gov. Eric Holcomb’s (R) decision to end the state’s participation in federal pandemic unemployment programs. Holcomb announced in May the state would stop participating in the programs on June 19, prompting a lawsuit that argued Indiana law requires the state to participate in federal unemployment insurance programs. Holcomb said he would discuss appealing Haley’s ruling with state Attorney General Todd Rokita (R). 

Iowa (Republican trifecta): On Friday, June 25, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) extended the statewide public health emergency an additional 30 days.

Montana (Republican trifecta): The state stopped participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs June 27. Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) made the announcement May 4.

Ohio (Republican trifecta): The state stopped participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs June 26. Gov. Mike DeWine (R) made the announcement May 13.

Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): The state stopped participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs June 26. Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) made the announcement May 17.

Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed an executive order on June 25 that says the state will end mask and distancing requirements, and lift capacity restrictions, when 70% of adults have received one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

Pennsylvania (divided government): Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam is lifting the statewide mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals on June 28.

South Dakota (Republican trifecta): The state stopped participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs June 26. Gov. Kristi Noem (R) made the announcement May 12.

Texas (Republican trifecta): The state stopped participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs June 26. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) made the announcement May 17.

Utah (Republican trifecta): The state stopped participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs June 26. Gov. Spencer Cox (R) made the announcement May 12.

Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Friday, June 25, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) suspended capacity limits on government and nonprofit cooling centers in response to a heatwave affecting the region. Under current COVID-19 restrictions, indoor venues cannot operate at more than 50% capacity. Inslee’s order does not apply to for-profit businesses like movie theaters that provide air conditioned spaces. 

This time last year: Monday, June 29, 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 read more of our past coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

Monday, June 29, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • Kentucky entered the final stage of its reopening plan, effectively ending Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) stay-at-home order. In the final stage, groups of 50 or fewer people were allowed to gather in one location, and bars and restaurants were permitted to reopen at 50% capacity. 
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Defense Department lifted travel restrictions on military installations in ten more states, allowing service members to resume recreational travel and change-of-station moves. The Defense Department also lifted restrictions on troops in Guam, Puerto Rico, and South Korea.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) approved a Utah State Board of Education plan for reopening schools in the fall. The Board required all public schools to create and post a reopening plan online by Aug. 1.


Michigan, West Virginia end statewide face-covering requirements

Two states ended statewide public mask requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated people between June 18-24.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) ended most remaining statewide coronavirus restrictions, including the statewide mask mandate, on June 22. Vaccinated and unvaccinated people still have to wear masks on public transportation and at public transportation hubs (like bus stations and airports).

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) ended the statewide mask requirements for unvaccinated individuals on June 20. Vaccinated and unvaccinated people still have to wear masks on public transportation and at public transportation hubs. 

In total, 39 states issued statewide public mask requirements during the pandemic. At the time of writing, 10 states had statewide mask orders. All 10 states have Democratic governors. Nine of the 10 states exempted fully vaccinated people from most requirements.

Of the 29 states that have fully ended statewide public mask requirements, 16 have Republican governors, and 13 have Democratic governors. Twenty-six 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.