Coronavirus Regulations: A State-By-State Week In Review

By Jeannie O'Sullivan
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Law360 (September 8, 2020, 4:20 PM EDT) -- Labor Day's influence on COVID-19 pandemic measures was apparent this week in places like New York, which ushered in new public health protections for workers and a coronavirus tracker for university students.

The push to revive economies stalled by the coronavirus led to a Florida tourism marketing campaign and relaxed rules on indoor restaurant dining in Pennsylvania, while a case surge in Illinois prompted tighter restrictions on businesses in multiple counties.

Infection rates continued to drop in New Jersey, which nonetheless added to its state quarantine list and announced a $25 million initiative to keep mental health providers afloat during the pandemic. Precaution was also a motivating factor in Delaware and Texas, where emergency declarations were extended.

Here's a breakdown of some COVID-19-related state measures from the past week.

Click for state-by-state data on COVID-19 legislation and executive orders, powered by LexisNexis.

 
Delaware

Gov. John Carney on Thursday extended the state of emergency for the sixth time, leaving all current restrictions and precautions in place for now.

Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Visit Florida President and CEO Dana Young unveiled a marketing campaign urging residents to seek out in-state entertainment to help counteract the virus's impact on the tourism industry. Tourism dropped 60% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same time last year, officials said.

Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday announced stricter business restrictions in the counties of Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington, which experienced a 10% positive coronavirus test rate for more than three consecutive days. Under the new rules, restaurants, bars and casinos must close between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., indoor crowd capacities are limited to the lesser of 25 people or 25% of capacity, and businesses must allow employees to work remotely when possible.

New Jersey

Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday added Delaware, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia to the list of states from which travelers must quarantine themselves for 14 days upon entering New Jersey. Murphy also removed Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands from the list. The states and territories on the new quarantine are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson on Tuesday said the state will use $25 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding to reimburse providers who treat mental health issues and substance-use disorders for additional costs they're incurring during the pandemic. Johnson cited the "acute need" for such services.

On Friday, Murphy and State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan jointly announced that smoking is prohibited indoors at casinos, a measure that aims to minimize the transmission of the virus through secondhand smoke.

New York

In a tribute to the workforce on Labor Day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday authorized a law requiring all public agencies — including state and municipal governments and school districts — to create plans to protect employees in the event of another public health emergency involving a communicable disease. The plans must be finalized by April 1.

On Sunday, Cuomo unveiled an online coronavirus tracker for the State University of New York system. The tracker will provide real time information on cases, testing, and quarantine and isolation space availability spanning SUNY's 64 colleges and universities.

Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday announced that restaurants may increase indoor dining occupancy to 50% on Sept. 21, subject to public health safety guidelines.

On Thursday, Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman called on state lawmakers to consider the legalization of recreational cannabis to boost the state's economic recovery from the pandemic.

Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday extended the coronavirus disaster declaration, which allows for the allocation of resources to local governments to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

--Editing by Kelly Duncan.

For a reprint of this article, please contact reprints@law360.com.

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