These U.S. counties and states are hitting pause on reopening as COVID-19 cases surge across the country
A recent re-surge in COVID-19 cases has some states rethinking their reopening plans.
Here is a list of states that are halting reopening efforts and potentially reclosing until they can get a better grasp on the pandemic outbreak.
Editor’s note: This story was last updated December 11, 2020
12/12/2020 Virginia / DC / Maryland:
A new wave of coronavirus-related restrictions was introduced in the Washington region Thursday, with more Maryland jurisdictions eliminating indoor dining and Virginia imposing a statewide curfew to keep residents home late at night.
The executive order from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) also includes an expanded mask mandate and lowers the number of people allowed in social gatherings. The measures, which will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday, do not change rules for restaurants, stores or houses of worship.
- California warned that the rise of cases can overwhelm the state’s health care system within weeks. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced a regional stay-at-home order that would go into effect when a region hits the ICU capacity threshold. Four regions — all but the San Francisco Bay area — could meet that threshold “within a day or two,” he said.
List of US states re-closing due to COVID-19 and Coronavirus-related restrictions
At the direction of Gov. Kay Ivey (R), the state health officer has amended a safer-at-home order to remain in effect until 5 p.m. Dec. 11. People over age 6 must wear masks in indoor public spaces, when using a transportation service or when outdoors in gatherings of 10 or more.
Nonwork get-togethers are allowed, but individuals from different households must maintain a 6-foot distance from one another. Restaurants, bars and breweries can offer dine-in services, but party size is capped at 8 people. Tables or booths must be placed 6 feet apart or, if within 6 feet, must be separated by partitions.
Hair salons and similar personal-care businesses must also keep clients 6-feet apart or separate clients by partitions if within 6 feet. Retail stores and gyms are among businesses that must implement sanitation and social distancing practices.
Beaches are open, but patrons must practice social distancing. As of Oct. 2, hospital, nursing and long-term care facilities have been allowed to permit residents to receive one visitor at a time, subject to other restrictions.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy modified a travel mandate that requires those arriving in Alaska to show a negative COVID-19 test or agree to be tested on arrival. Self-quarantining for 14 days is no longer an option for nonresidents (Alaska residents returning to the state can opt to self-quarantine for two weeks). Critical infrastructure workers are exempt.
Previously, Dunleavy permitted all businesses, including restaurants, hair salons, gyms, museums and entertainment venues to reopen at 100 percent capacity. Safeguards are recommended. In group gatherings, individuals from separate households are encouraged to maintain a 6-foot distance from one another. Local authorities and private businesses can enact stricter requirements.
Under the direction of Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), the health department continues to modify coronavirus-related orders and directives. The state moved to phase 2 of its reopening plan on June 15. Restaurants can expand to 66 percent seating capacity for indoor or outdoor dining services as long as other restrictions are followed. Gyms, fitness centers, hair salons and spas can operate if they have safety precautions in place. Visitor centers at state parks and shops can reopen, and residents can rent cabins and lodges. With an approved plan, indoor and outdoor entertainment venues can hold events of up to 66 percent capacity. For gatherings of 100 people or fewer, no approved plan is required. Everyone age 10 or older must wear a mask whether indoors or outdoors if they are with nonhousehold members and if social distancing cannot be maintained.
Arizona state COVID laws update
Arizona saw nearly 4,000 new coronavirus cases on June 28, which promoted Governor Doug Ducey to close bars, movie theaters, gyms, and water parks. The order went into effect June 29.
Under new guidance, businesses can operate at a limited capacity if certain benchmarks are met. Restaurants can offer indoor dining service but must limit occupancy. Large gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited, but local authorities can approve them if certain safety precautions are met.
California state COVID laws update
On July 13, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all counties in the state to close some indoor operations, including restaurants, bars, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and aquariums, museums, and cardrooms. The businesses will be allowed to operate outdoors.
In addition, Newsom has ordered gyms, worship services, personal care services, malls, offices, hair salons, and barbershops to close in 30 counties.
On June 18, the California Department of Health released a memo mandating people in California must wear face coverings when they are in high-risk situations, including:
- Inside, or waiting in line to enter, any indoor public space
- Healthcare facilities
- Waiting in line or riding public transportation or ridesharing
- Where food is prepared
- In common areas (stairs, hallways, elevators, parking facilities)
- Any enclosed our public outdoor areas where you are unable to physically distance
Colorado state COVID laws update
Governor Jared Polis ordered bars and nightclubs to close in-person service. The announcement was made June 30, and closures were in effect for 30 days.
Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced changes to the state’s safer-at-home and stay-at-home orders. Counties fall into one of six color-coded levels of risk, depending on the incidents of COVID-19. Level green is the least restrictive, under which businesses can operate at 50 percent capacity or 500 people, whichever is smaller. In level-blue counties, restaurants, indoor event venues and houses of worship can operate at 50 percent capacity or 175 people, whichever is smaller.
Outdoor events are limited to 25 percent capacity or 75 people (whichever is smaller). Retail stores can operate at 50 percent capacity and personal-care services at 25 percent capacity. Gyms can operate at 10 percent capacity, with a maximum of 10 people. No counties are in the most restrictive purple level.
Connecticut state COVID laws update
Gov. Ned Lamont (D) rolled the state back to phase 2.1 (from phase 3) of its reopening plan. Restaurants must restrict indoor dining services to 50 percent capacity and close by 10 p.m., among other restrictions. Personal-service businesses and libraries can remain at 75 percent capacity, among other phase 3 rules. Indoor performing arts centers can operate at 50 percent capacity with a cap of 100 people, and parties must maintain a 6-foot distance between each other. At private residences, indoor and outdoor gatherings are capped at 10 people.
At commercial venues, indoor gatherings are capped at 25 people and outdoor gatherings are capped at 50 people. Previously, Lamont ordered anyone over age 2 to wear a face covering in public places, indoors or outdoors, when social distancing cannot be maintained. People who qualify for a medical exemption must have written documentation. Travelers arriving from states with high COVID-19 infection rates must self-quarantine for 14 days.
Gov. John Carney (D) announced new restrictions on gatherings. Effective 8 a.m. Nov. 23, indoor gatherings at private residences cannot exceed 10 people. Gatherings at places for weddings, funerals and performances are among those that must limit capacity to 30 percent of the venue’s fire occupancy or 50 people (whichever is smaller). Outdoor public gatherings are capped at 50 people, but larger groups can gather with permission from the health department. Restaurants must limit indoor dining to 30 percent of the venue’s fire occupancy.
Previously, Carney signed an order combining coronavirus-related restrictions. Individuals must wear a face covering when in public places, including grocery stores and on mass transit. Face coverings aren’t required outdoors when social distancing can be maintained. Retail stores, houses of worship and most other businesses can operate at 60 percent capacity, with restrictions. Exercise facilities and senior and adult day-care centers must remain at 30 percent capacity. The Division of Public Health has recommended not socializing with anyone outside your household and not spending holiday dinners with anyone outside your household, even family members.
Florida state COVID laws update
In an emergency order, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation suspended “on premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide.” Bars can still sell alcohol in sealed, to-go containers.
Miami-Dade County will allow gyms to remain open. Mayor Carlos Gimenez signed an emergency order on July 6 closing restaurants and bars.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an order lifting most coronavirus-related restrictions and moving the state to Phase 3 of its reopening plan, under which all businesses can reopen. Restaurants and bars are no longer subject to occupancy restrictions. However, city or county governments can impose occupancy limits on restaurants and bars (to as low as 50 percent capacity) if authorities state in the local order why the restriction is necessary for public health. DeSantis’ new order also removes fees or penalties for individuals who don’t follow social distancing practices, including mask mandates. The order went into effect Sept. 25.
Gov. Brian Kemp signed an order extending restrictions related to COVID-19 through Nov. 30. People living in long-term care facilities and other at-risk individuals, such as those with severe lung or heart disease, must continue to shelter in place. Kemp has strongly encouraged everyone to wear face masks while outside the home but stopped short of requiring it. Gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, but individuals must maintain a 6-foot distance from each other. Restaurants must adhere to strict sanitation and social distancing guidelines. Gyms, hair salons and movie theaters are among businesses that can operate, with restrictions.
Gov. David Ige replaced a stay-at-home order with a safer-at-home order for residents of the island of Lanai. Residents are now encouraged, but not required, to stay and work from home. Most of the state is under the Act With Care plan for reopening, which allows many businesses to resume operations, with restrictions. Oahu is under tier 2, in which most businesses are limited to operating at 50 percent capacity and gatherings of more than five people are prohibited. Previously, Ige extended a partial quarantine between islands. Interisland travelers who arrive in Kauai, Hawaii, Maui or Kalawao must self-quarantine for 14 days (travelers to Kauai and Maui can bypass the mandate with a negative COVID-19 test result).
People arriving in Hawaii from out of state must show a negative COVID-19 test result or self-quarantine for 14 days. Earlier, Ige issued an order requiring people to wear a face mask while inside a business or while waiting in line to enter one.
Idaho state COVID laws update
Amid a surge of coronavirus cases, Gov. Brad Little (R) signed an order rolling the state back to a modified approach to stage 2 of its reopening plan. Indoor or outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited, and social distancing must be maintained at gatherings that are permitted. Religious and political gatherings are exempt. Restaurants and bars can continue to operate. Customers must remain seated, and tables must be spaced 6 feet apart. Little stopped short of issuing a statewide mask mandate, but masks are required at long-term care facilities. Businesses may remain open, but they should encourage teleworking when possible.
Due to a spike in coronavirus cases, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) moved all counties to tier-3 restrictions and announced new guidelines. Effective Nov. 20, businesses should have employees work remotely as much as possible. Restaurants and bars must close between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. and cannot offer indoor service.
Outdoor dining is permitted, but reservations are required, tables must be spaced 6 feet apart, and party size is limited to six people. Grocery stores must limit capacity to 50 percent, and retail stores, to 25 percent. Gyms and fitness centers must also limit capacity to 25 percent and cannot hold indoor classes. Personal-care services must limit capacity to 25 percent, with a maximum of 25 people. Indoor gatherings are limited to household members. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people, and social distancing must be maintained. A statewide mask mandate requires anyone over age 2 to wear a face covering when indoors in a public space or when outside if a 6-foot distance between people cannot be maintained.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the state will move away from its stage 5 restrictions and toward a county-by-county approach. Counties designated as red (the highest risk of virus spread) must limit social gatherings to 25 people. Counties designated as orange must limit social gatherings to 50 people. A statewide mask mandate remains in effect. People must wear a face covering when in an indoor public space, when outdoors if social distancing cannot be maintained and when using public transportation.
Previously, Holcomb lifted nearly all restrictions on businesses.
Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation imposing a mask mandate and tightening restrictions on gatherings to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Individuals age 2 and older must wear a mask in public indoor spaces if within 6 feet of others from outside their household for 15 minutes or longer. Exceptions include when exercising, when participating in a religious gathering, or when eating or drinking at a restaurant. Social and recreational gatherings cannot exceed 15 people indoors or 30 people outdoors unless everyone lives in the same household. Restaurants and bars may remain open for on-premises dining but must close between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., among other restrictions. Other nonessential businesses, such as amusement parks, movie theaters, museums, hair salons, barbershops, gyms, retail stores and massage parlors, can resume operations if safety precautions are taken.
Gov. Laura Kelly announced she is working with state government authorities to issue a mask mandate. Previously, Kelly announced that counties should come up with their own plans to reopen businesses. A statewide plan to restart the economy in phases offers guidance, but counties aren’t required to follow it. The state Department of Health and Environment mandated a 14-day home quarantine for all Kansans who traveled to a state with widespread transmission.
Gov. Andy Beshear extended a mask mandate that requires anyone over age 5 to wear a face covering while inside a public space, while using public transportation or while outdoors if social distancing cannot be maintained. Under the phased approach to reopen the state’s economy, restaurants and bars can operate at 50 percent capacity, as long as parties can maintain a 6-foot distance from one another. Last call has been extended to 11 p.m., and restaurants and bars must close by midnight. Private gatherings are capped at 10 people.
Fitness centers, bowling alleys, retail stores, hair salons and movie theaters are among businesses that can operate, with restrictions. Previously, Beshear signed an order requiring landlords to give tenants 30 days’ notice before eviction for failure to pay rent. The order also requires the landlord and tenant to meet during that time in order to try to work out an agreement, and it bans late fees on rent through Dec. 31.
Louisiana state COVID laws update
Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an order extending phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan until Dec. 4. Under the restrictions, gyms, theaters, hair salons, museums and restaurants are among the businesses that can operate at 75 percent capacity. Bars must remain closed for on-premises food and drink consumption in parishes with a high rate of COVID-19. For parishes with a low positivity rate, bars can reopen at a limited capacity, and alcohol service must stop at 10 p.m.
Indoor social gatherings are capped at 250 people or 50 percent capacity of the facility. Outdoor social gatherings of more than 250 people are permitted only if individuals from separate households can maintain a 6-foot distance from one another. People 8 and older must wear a mask in public spaces, indoors or outdoors, unless social distancing can be maintained.
Gov. Janet Mills signed an order imposing tighter restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The state is in phase 4 of its reopening plan. Effective Nov. 4, indoor gatherings are limited to 50 people, including restaurants, movie theaters and other businesses with indoor seating. A 6-foot distance between seating areas is required, among other precautions. B
ars and tasting rooms can continue to offer outdoor dining; the reopening of indoor dining, originally scheduled for Nov. 2, has been postponed. Gyms and other indoor businesses without seating must cap occupancy at 50 people.
Retail businesses can allow five people per 1,000 square feet. Outdoor gatherings will remain limited to 100 people. Face coverings are mandatory statewide for anyone 5 and older in public spaces, even if social distancing can be maintained. A travel mandate requires those visiting Maine to show a negative COVID-19 test or opt to self-quarantine for 14 days. Travelers from some states, including Vermont and New Hampshire, are exempt.
Gov. Larry Hogan rolled back some of the state’s reopening plans in response to a spike in cases. Effective 5 p.m. on Nov. 20, retail stores and religious centers must restrict operations to 50 percent of the venue’s maximum occupancy (down from 75 percent). Fitness centers and personal-service businesses, such as beauty salons and barbershops, can operate at 50 percent capacity, with restrictions. Senior centers remain closed.
Restaurants must restrict dine-in service to 50 percent capacity (down from 75 percent) and close for on-premises dining between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Restaurants continue to be prohibited from offering buffets, among other measures. Under Hogan’s direction, the health department has recommended a cap of 25 people on private indoor and outdoor gatherings. Previously, Hogan issued a mask mandate requiring people over age 5 to wear a face covering in the public spaces of all businesses or areas outdoors where social distancing cannot be maintained.
Gov. Charlie Baker tightened restrictions on the state’s reopening plan. An advisory takes effect Nov. 6, instructing residents to stay at home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Exceptions include going to work and the grocery store. Baker ordered certain businesses to close by 9:30 p.m., such as movie theaters, gyms, hair salons and casinos.
Restaurants must stop table service at 9:30 p.m. but can still offer takeout and delivery. Baker is also reducing the limits on gatherings. At private residences, indoor get-togethers are capped at 10 people; those held outdoors at people’s homes are limited to 25 people. Indoor gatherings at event venues or public settings are capped at 25 people.
Outdoor gatherings at event venues or public settings are capped at 100 people in low-risk communities and at 50 people in communities not considered low risk. Baker also modified a statewide mask mandate. Everyone over age 5 must wear a mask in public places, indoors or outdoors, even if social distancing is possible.
Michigan state COVID laws update
The health department ordered a pause that sets new restrictions on gatherings and certain businesses, effective Nov. 18. Indoor gatherings at private residences cannot include people from more than two households. Outdoor gatherings are allowed but capped at 25 people.
Restaurants, bars and other food establishments must close indoor dining. Outdoor dining, takeout and delivery are still permitted. Movie theaters, bowling alleys and casinos are among businesses that must close. Gyms can remain open with safety protocols in place and cannot offer group fitness classes. Personal care businesses, such as hair salons, can remain open but by appointment only. Previously, the health department ordered individuals 5 and older to wear a face mask at nonresidential gatherings.
On Oct. 2, the Michigan Supreme Court struck down orders from Whitmer outlining pandemic-related restrictions. The court ruled that a 1945 law Whitmer relied on to issue the orders was unconstitutional, and that Whitmer thus lacked the authority for her actions. In response to the ruling, the state health department has issued the new orders by drawing on another law.
Due to a spike in cases, Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced changes tightening coronavirus-related restrictions. Effective Nov. 13 at 10 p.m., both indoor and outdoor gatherings are capped at 10 people, and members from no more than three households can be together at a social gathering. Event spaces that host a gathering, such as wedding receptions or funeral receptions, must limit gatherings to 50 people as of Nov. 27, and to 25 people as of Dec. 11. Walz closed bar counter service at restaurants and other food establishments. Restaurants may continue to offer indoor dining at 50 percent capacity, but with a cap of 150 people (down from 250). No indoor dining is permitted between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. (takeout and delivery is okay). Previously, Walz ordered people age 5 and up to wear a mask when inside public spaces or outside when social distancing cannot be practiced. Under phase 3 of the state’s Stay Safe plan, gyms, movie theaters, concert halls and museums can open but must limit the number of visitors. Personal-care businesses, such as hair and nail salons, may reopen with safety and sanitation practices in place. Retail stores can continue to allow a limited number of customers inside.
Gov. Tate Reeves signed an order updating coronavirus-related restrictions. Health care facilities that perform non-elective procedures must reserve 10 percent of their capacity for COVID-19 patients. The order also alters restrictions on group gatherings. In 15 counties, indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 50 if social distancing cannot be maintained. In those counties, individuals must wear masks when inside a school, business or public space. In the remaining counties, indoor gatherings are limited to 20 people and outdoor gatherings to 100 if social distancing cannot be maintained.
In all counties, some gatherings are exempt, such as those at religious organizations or students meeting in classrooms. Previously, Reeves ordered bars and restaurants to serve alcohol only to seated patrons and not after 11 p.m. Most businesses must limit customers or visitors to 75 percent capacity and implement safety precautions. Visitors to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities should spend time with family members only and avoid contact with other residents, among other restrictions.
Gov. Mike Parson announced that the state will fully reopen on June 16. According to a press release issued by the governor’s office, “All statewide restrictions will be lifted, though local officials will still have the authority to put further rules, regulations or ordinances in place.” Parson encouraged people to maintain social distancing and take precautions, such as practicing good hygiene and avoiding large crowds.
Gov. Steve Bullock directed individuals in counties experiencing four or more active cases of COVID-19 to wear a mask in indoor public spaces or when outdoors if 50 or more people are gathered and social distancing cannot be maintained. Children under age 5 are among those who are exempt. Previously, Bullock directed the state’s economy to reopen in phases. Phase 2 began June 1. All businesses can operate and should implement social distancing.
Gyms, fitness centers, pools, movie theaters and restaurants can increase capacity to 75 percent. People are encouraged to maintain a 6-foot distance from others when in public and to avoid gathering in groups of more than 50. People over 65 and other vulnerable populations are encouraged to stay at home. Senior centers and assisted living facilities cannot allow visitors.
Gov. Pete Ricketts announced changes to the state’s directed health measures. Effective Nov. 11, parties must maintain a 6-foot distance at indoor gatherings, including places such as gyms, churches and clubs. Bars and restaurants can operate at 100 percent capacity, but parties are limited to eight people and patrons must remain seated except in limited circumstances, such as when placing an order or using the restroom.
Gatherings at theaters, arenas, stadiums, auctions and similar establishments are limited to 25 percent capacity if indoors (down from 50 percent) and 100 percent capacity if outdoors, but not to exceed 10,000 people in any setting. Ricketts announced most elective medical procedures are temporarily suspended to free up hospital beds. Businesses are encouraged to follow recommended guidance.
Gov. Steve Sisolak adopted a road to recovery plan, which includes targeted measures to address counties with an increased risk of COVID-19 transmission. Public gatherings of up to 250 people are allowed. Restaurants are permitted to resume dine-in services, as long as they adhere to sanitation and social distancing guidelines. Most other businesses — including retail stores, movie theaters, bowling alleys, gyms and hair salons — can also reopen, with restrictions. People over age 9 must wear a face covering whenever they leave home, including at outdoor public spaces when social distancing of at least 6 feet cannot be maintained.
Gov. Chris Sununu ordered individuals to wear face coverings at scheduled activities where 100 people or more are gathered, such as religious services, concerts or sporting events. Previously, Sununu permitted the state’s stay-at-home order to expire June 15. Restaurants can resume both indoor and outdoor dining services, but tables should be spaced 6 feet apart, among other guidelines. Gyms can reopen at 50 percent capacity. Previously, Sununu permitted retail stores, hair salons, barbershops and similar businesses to reopen, with restrictions. He reopened all seacoast beaches and lifted the restrictions on certain activities, such as sunbathing and picnicking. Hotels could reopen June 5, but out-of-state travelers must meet self-quarantine restrictions.
Gov. Phil Murphy ordered tighter coronavirus-related restrictions for gatherings. Indoor gatherings are capped at 25 percent of a room’s capacity, with a maximum of 10 people. Gatherings for weddings, funerals or religious or political activities are among indoor events with looser restrictions (25 percent of the room’s capacity or 150 people).
Movie theaters and other indoor entertainment venues must also limit capacity to 25 percent or 150 people (whichever is smaller). For now, outdoor gatherings of up to 500 people are allowed, though attendees must remain 6 feet from one another. As of 6 a.m. Nov. 23, outdoor gatherings are capped at 150 people. No gathering limit applies to outdoor religious or political events.
Previously, Murphy ordered restaurants, bars and other food establishments to stop offering indoor service between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. (outdoor dining, takeout and delivery are okay). Seating at bar areas is prohibited; however, restaurants can place tables closer than 6 feet apart if a physical barrier is in place. Personal care businesses, such as nail salons and barbershops, must take appointments and perform temperature checks, among other requirements. Murphy ordered people to wear face coverings when outside in public spaces if social distancing cannot be maintained. Wearing cloth masks is required in grocery stores and other indoor public spaces, including indoor gatherings.
New York state COVID laws update
Earlier, Governors Andrew Cuomo (New York), Phil Murphy (New Jersey), and Ned Lamont (Connecticut) announced that travelers from 16 states need to self-quarantine for 14 days if they visit the region. Those states include: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
New laws now state that effective Nov. 13, indoor and outdoor private gatherings are limited to 10 people. Restaurants and gyms are among businesses that must close between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Restaurants can still offer takeout and delivery during those hours. Previously, Cuomo announced guidelines for out-of-state travelers arriving in New York. To opt out of a 14-day quarantine requirement, travelers must get tested within three days before arriving, quarantine for three days upon arrival and then get tested again on day four.
Both tests must be negative to opt out of the 14-day quarantine. Essential workers and travelers from border states are exempt. The state is in Phase 4 of its reopening plan. Among other restrictions, indoor dining can resume at 25 percent capacity in New York City. Restaurants in all other regions can resume dine-in service at 50 percent capacity. Zoos, nature parks, outdoor museums and other low-risk outdoor arts and entertainment venues can reopen at 33 percent capacity; indoor arts and entertainment venues can open at 25 percent capacity; and gyms and fitness centers can operate at 33 percent capacity.
Movie theaters can reopen in some counties at 25 percent capacity, with no more than 50 people per theater. Individuals over age 2 must wear a face mask in public if social distancing cannot be maintained. The governor also issued an order permitting businesses to deny entry to anyone who is not wearing a mask. Cuomo extended a pause on evictions for those who cannot pay rent because of a COVID-19 hardship.
North Carolina state COVID laws update
North Carolina has seen a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Gov. Roy Coopersigned an order amending restrictions under phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan. Effective Nov. 13, indoor gatherings will be capped at 10 people (down from 25).
Outdoor gatherings remain capped at 50 people. Social distancing must be practiced. Under phase 3, entertainment facilities such as bars and movie theaters can reopen. Bars can offer only outdoor service and must restrict capacity to 30 percent or seven people for every 1,000 square feet. Large outdoor venues, such as stadiums, can also reopen but must limit capacity to 7 percent. Restaurants, gyms, retail stores and personal-care businesses such as hair salons can continue to operate with capacity limits, among other restrictions.
Restaurants continue to be prohibited from serving alcohol after 11 p.m. Individuals 5 and older must wear a face covering in public places, indoors or outdoors, when social distancing cannot be maintained.
The state health officer, Dirk Wilke, issued a mask mandate that required individuals age 5 and older to wear a mask in indoor public spaces and businesses or when outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained. Burgum also ordered new restrictions on certain businesses amid a surge of COVID-19 cases. Restaurants and other food establishments must limit services to 50 percent capacity or 150 people (whichever is smaller). In-person dining is prohibited between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., but takeout and delivery is still OK during that time. Event venues, like ballrooms, are limited to 25 percent capacity with a cap on the number of people. The cap differs based on the designation on each county under the state’s Smart Restart plan.
Gov. Mike DeWine ordered a three-week curfew effective Nov. 19. Individuals must stay in their homes between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Exceptions include leaving to go to work, to grocery stores, or for other emergencies or essentials. People statewide are required to wear face coverings when inside a location that is not a residence, when using public transportation or when outside if a 6-foot distance between non-household members cannot be maintained. Children younger than 10 and individuals with certain medical conditions are among those exempt.
Stores are required to have signs about face coverings and to ensure that employees and customers wear masks. A Retail Compliance Unit will conduct inspections to make sure stores are complying with the order. Gatherings of more than 10 people have been prohibited since April, but DeWine announced that tighter restrictions will be issued that won’t allow dancing or games.
Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced that effective Nov. 19, restaurants and bars must space tables 6 feet apart and close in-dining service by 11 p.m. (takeout and delivery is OK during those hours). Stitt also announced that as of Nov. 19, individuals must wear masks in state buildings. Under phase 3, which began June 1, workplaces no longer have to restrict the number of staff members. Hair salons and other personal-care businesses can take walk-in clients. Businesses should implement sanitation and social distancing practices. Some cities require people to wear a face covering when in public.
Gov. Kate Brown ordered a two-week freeze to try to stop the spread of COVID-19. The freeze starts Nov. 18 and lasts until Dec. 2. Indoor and outdoor gatherings are capped at six people and cannot include a mix of individuals from more than two households. Houses of worship must limit services to 25 people indoors or 50 people outdoors. Patients at long-term care facilities can no longer receive visitors. Restaurants can offer takeout and delivery, but not in-dining services. Grocery stores and retails stores are among places that must limit capacity to 75 percent. Gyms, museums and event venues are among businesses that must close.
Personal services businesses, such as hair salons, and outdoor recreational facilities may remain open but must implement safety protocols. Previously, Brown ordered people 5 and older to wear face coverings in outdoor areas where a 6-foot distance cannot be maintained and in indoor public spaces.
The health department updated coronavirus-related restrictions. Indoor and outdoor limits on gatherings now depend on the maximum occupancy of a space. The limits are to be determined by using an occupancy calculator. Restaurants that have self-certified can offer indoor dining at 50 percent capacity.
Gyms, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo parlors and other close-contact businesses can reopen with restrictions. Individuals 2 and older must wear a face covering in indoor public zones. Masks are also required outdoors if a 6-foot distance between non-household members cannot be maintained. The governor announced that Pennsylvania Turnpike tollbooths will stop taking cash.
Amid a surge of COVID-19 cases, Gov. Gina Raimondo issued a stay-at-home advisory between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday, and 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Previously, Raimondo announced the state will remain in phase 3 of its reopening plan until a vaccine is available.
The new stay-at-home advisory rolls back some of the phase 3 reopenings. As of Oct. 30, private social gatherings are restricted to 10 people or fewer, whether indoors or outdoors. Events with a licensed caterer are capped at 25 people if indoors, or 75 people if outdoors. Indoor venues, such as movie theaters and houses of worship, can reopen at 50 percent capacity or 150 people (whichever is smaller). Restaurants, retail stores, and close-contact businesses, such as gyms and hair salons, can also remain open with restrictions.
Previously, Raimondo ordered individuals older than 2 to wear a face covering in public spaces, whether indoors or outdoors, if social distancing cannot be maintained. Face masks are also required when using taxis, ride-hailing services or similar transportation services. Anyone arriving in Rhode Island from an area with a high community COVID-19 spread rate must self-quarantine for 14 days or provide results of a negative coronavirus test.
• South Carolina: Gov. Henry McMaster (R) issued an order lifting occupancy limits on restaurants. Eateries can operate at 100 percent capacity but must continue to require patrons to wear a face covering when inside except when they are eating or drinking. Tables must be spaced at least 6 feet apart, and alcohol sales are prohibited after 11 p.m., among other restrictions. Entertainment venues, such as theaters and concert halls, can reopen at 50 percent occupancy or 250 people (whichever is smaller). Masks are required. Other nonessential businesses can reopen; guidelines are recommended. Beaches are open, but the governor has authorized local authorities to close or restrict public access points if it’s necessary to protect visitors’ health.
• South Dakota: Gov. Kristi Noem signed an order putting the state’s “Back to Normal” plan in effect. The plan encourages employers to sanitize high-traffic areas and screen employees for illness. Retail businesses should operate in a manner that promotes social distancing and should consider limiting the number of customers inside their stores. The plan also encourages, but doesn’t require, older adults and other vulnerable individuals to stay at home.
Tennessee state COVID laws update
On July 3 Nashville has reverted to 50% restaurant capacity, and Davidson County closed bars for 2 weeks. Gov. Bill Lee signed an order in November removing many coronavirus-related restrictions for businesses and gatherings in 89 counties. (The remaining six counties are subject to the restrictions of their health departments.) People with COVID-19 or its symptoms are required to stay at home.
Texas state COVID laws update
Governor Greg Abbott previously said on June 26 that all bars in the state must close and restaurants need to limit capacity. Bars were allowed to reopen under the state’s second phase of reopening on May 22.
Abbot issued a new order effective Oct. 14 that permits most businesses to operate at 75 percent capacity as long as the business is in an area with a low number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients. Businesses in areas with high hospitalizations must limit occupancy to 50 percent capacity. Religious services, local government operations and recreational sports programs are among organizations with no occupancy limits.
Personal care establishments, such as barbershops and nail salons, also don’t have limits on number of customers; however, there must be a 6-foot distance between workstations, among other precautions. Abbott’s order also reopens bars — with the additional approval of each county’s judge — but limits indoor service to 50 percent capacity.
He also issued an Executive Order that suspended elective surgeries in order to free up hospital beds for COVID-19 patients.
The Utah health department updated orders on coronavirus-related restrictions in Nov. Individuals over age 2 must wear a mask when within 6 feet of a person from another household; are prohibited from eating or drinking at a restaurant or a bar if they are within 6 feet of a person from another household; and may not attend casual social gatherings with anyone outside their household. Attendance at hosted social gatherings are permitted if individuals can wear a face mask and keep a physical distance of at least 6 feet from other attendees not from the same household.
Masks aren’t required when an individual is sleeping or exercising outdoors, among other exceptions. Restaurants may not serve alcohol after 10 p.m. The mask mandate is effective through Nov. 23. All businesses can reopen if they take precautions.
Gov. Phil Scott announced tighter coronavirus-related restrictions. Social gatherings between multiple households are prohibited (immediate family members who reside in different households can still get together). Bars are closed. Restaurants can continue to operate at 50 percent capacity but can now only seat one household per table and must close in-person dining by 10 p.m. (takeout and delivery is allowed).
Scott put recreational sports on pause and announced that businesses must reinstate teleworking policies as much as possible. Previously, Scott ordered people 2 and older to wear a face covering in public spaces, indoors or outdoors, when physical distancing isn’t possible. Hair salons and barber shops can reopen, but they must take appointments and limit occupancy. Hotels, inns, bed-and-breakfasts and other lodging areas were allowed to resume operations May 22, but all nonessential travelers must follow a self-quarantine mandate.
Alternatively, nonessential travelers can quarantine for 7 days followed by a negative COVID-19 test.
Virginia state COVID laws update
Governor Northam shared a new video to update Virginians on the additional steps the Commonwealth is taking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which is available here.
The following measures will take effect at midnight on Sunday, November 15:
- Reduction in public and private gatherings: All public and private in-person gatherings must be limited to 25 individuals, down from the current cap of 250 people. This includes outdoor and indoor settings.
- Expansion of mask mandate: All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. This expands the current mask mandate, which has been in place in Virginia since May 29 and requires all individuals aged 10 and over to wear face coverings in indoor public settings.
- Strengthened enforcement within essential retail businesses: All essential retail businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, must adhere to statewide guidelines for physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and enhanced cleaning. While certain essential retail businesses have been required to adhere to these regulations as a best practice, violations will now be enforceable through the Virginia Department of Health as a Class One misdemeanor.
- On-site alcohol curfew: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol is prohibited after 10:00 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight. Virginia law does not distinguish between restaurants and bars, however, under current restrictions, individuals that choose to consume alcohol prior to 10:00 p.m. must be served as in a restaurant and remain seated at tables six feet apart.
Mayor Muriel Bowser updated a travel advisory for individuals arriving in D.C. It states that those arriving in the District from an area with a high rate of infection must get tested 72 hours before arrival and then tested again three to five days after arriving. D.C. residents returning from out-of-state travel must limit activities for two weeks or get tested upon their return. Travelers from Maryland and Virginia are exempt. Previously, Bowser ordered people older than 2 to wear a mask when leaving their residences if more than fleeting contact with others is likely.
The District is in phase 2 of the region’s reopening plan. People must continue to practice social distancing, and gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited. Restaurants can resume indoor dining with restrictions, such as spacing tables 6 feet apart and limiting the size of a party to six people. Retail establishments can reopen for indoor shopping but must limit occupancy to 50 percent. High-contact sports are prohibited. Hair salons and barbershops may reopen, but customers must make appointments, along with other safeguards.
West Virginia state COVID laws update
- Face covering must be worn at all times in all public indoor places
- Does not apply to children under the age of 9 or anyone who has trouble breathing or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance
- Does not apply when you are at a restaurant and actively consuming food or drink, or in a closed room by yourself
- All businesses must post signs and ensure requirement is being followed
- Takes effect Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 12 a.m.
Gov. Tony Evers issued a stay-at-home order recommending — but not requiring — actions Wisconsinites should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Individuals should stay at home. Exceptions include leaving the house to go to work, buy groceries or pick up medications. Businesses should encourage remote work and take precautions where telecommuting isn’t possible, such as avoid congregating in conference rooms. For social gatherings, Evers recommended avoiding get-togethers with anyone outside the household.
Previously, Evers ordered everyone age 5 and older to wear a face covering when indoors or in an enclosed space (other than his or her private residence) when other people are present. When outdoors, individuals are encouraged, but not required, to wear masks.
In May, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the state Department of Health Services’ safer-at-home order, issued under Evers’ direction. Private businesses can enforce their own restrictions, such as requiring patrons to follow social distancing practices.
Under the direction of Gov. Mark Gordon the state health officer loosened some coronavirus-related restrictions. Restaurants, bars and other food establishments can increase the number of people in one party from 6 people to 8 people (larger parties are permitted when individuals are within the same household). Other restrictions on food establishments remain in place, such as a prohibition on buffet services.
Indoor gatherings of 50 people in a single, confined space are allowed. If social distancing and other restrictions are in place, indoor events with up to 250 people are permitted. Gatherings at hotels, livestock auctions, grocery stores and faith-based organizations are among those that are exempt. Hair salons and gyms have also reopened, with restrictions.