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

By Jeannie O'Sullivan
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Law360 (December 22, 2020, 3:58 PM EST) -- Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine on Friday became the second to receive emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a development that came as state governments issued progress updates on the distribution of the Pfizer vaccine and unveiled plans to deliver the new one, with front-line health care workers prioritized.

The surge in coronavirus cases, which topped 18 million in the U.S. as of Tuesday, led to the temporary shutdown this week of Delaware state parks and the renewal of New Jersey's state-of-emergency declaration. The Garden State also postponed elections for fire districts and schools until April.

More funding is on the way for small businesses in Delaware and Massachusetts, and tax relief is in store for vulnerable homeowners and restaurants in New York.

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.


The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, a panel established to review coronavirus vaccines for use in California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, said Sunday that it completed its review of Modern's vaccine and has concluded it is safe.


Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state's Project Roomkey, a public program that secures motel rooms for the homeless in Los Angeles during the pandemic, will be among the recipients of reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for providing shelter throughout the public health emergency.


Gov. John Carney and the Delaware Division of Small Business on Monday said $26 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding is available for small businesses as part of a new round of funding. So far about 3,000 companies throughout the state have benefited from more than $180 million in CARES Act grants.

Also on Monday, Carney announced that the state's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will close all park offices from Dec. 24 through Jan. 11 to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Health officials on Saturday announced plans to distribute the Moderna vaccine first to personnel working in high-risk health care, long-term care and emergency medical settings.


Gov. Ron DeSantis on Dec. 16 unveiled a plan to distribute Moderna's vaccine to 173 hospital locations that did not receive doses in the first allocation of the Pfizer vaccine.


More than $1.3 billion in coronavirus relief funding has been distributed to the state's businesses and families throughout the pandemic, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Friday. The money was administered through the state's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Department of Human Services and the Housing Development Authority.


Nearly $49 million in grants will be awarded to companies through the COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corp., Gov. Charlie Baker announced Monday.

The Baker administration on Friday filed legislation that would provide $1.3 billion in unemployment insurance relief to the commonwealth's employers over two years. The plan entails an unemployment insurance tax schedule freeze and financing measures designed to ensure the solvency of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.

New Jersey

Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday signed an executive order postponing February fire district elections, March special school elections and all other elections for filling vacancies until April.

A decision on the format of the election — vote-by-mail, in-person or a hybrid — is yet to be determined.

Also on Monday, Murphy renewed the public health emergency for the 10th time since it was issued in March, saying that the pandemic is "still enveloping our state."

The New Jersey Department of Health announced that six locations throughout the state will begin serving as vaccination "mega sites" for phased priority groups starting in early January.

The sites will be located at the Atlantic City Convention Center, the Racetrack at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, the Moorestown Mall, Rowan College of South Jersey in Sewell, the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison, and Rockaway Townsquare. The general public will be eligible for vaccination after the phased priority groups are vaccinated.

New York

More than 38,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine had been administered throughout the state as of Monday morning, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced today, pegging the figure as the highest reported total in the nation at the time. The first supply of the Moderna vaccine was expected to arrive in the state later that day.

Also on Monday, Cuomo announced the launch of the state's Vaccine Equity Task Force, which aims to break down barriers to the vaccine in the way of vulnerable and underserved communities. The task force includes Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, Attorney General Letitia James, National Urban League President and Chief Executive Officer Marc Morial, and Healthfirst President and Chief Executive Officer Pat Wang.

Amid news of a coronavirus variant emerging from the U.K., Cuomo said in another Monday announcement that British Airways and Delta Airlines have agreed to require a coronavirus test before allowing passengers to board planes traveling from the U.K. to New York.

Cuomo on Saturday announced tax relief for vulnerable homeowners and the restaurant industry, which he said were two of the groups that have suffered the biggest financial hit during the pandemic. The measures waive the in-person property tax exemption renewal requirement for low-income seniors and disabled persons, and extend the sales tax deadline to March for restaurants in certain regions that have been required to suspend indoor dining.


In an update on the state's vaccine distribution efforts, Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday said about 95,000 doses have been delivered to 23 sites throughout the state. One million doses will have been delivered by the month's end, he said.

--Editing by Adam LoBelia.

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