Law360 (February 23, 2021, 3:57 PM EST) -- States ramped up vaccination efforts this week as the nation's official COVID-19 death toll passed the grim milestone of 500,000, leading to expanded access to immunizations in California's agricultural hub, in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens and at CVS pharmacies in Florida.
As the increasing demand also spurred the creation of new vaccination sites in Florida and Illinois, the downward trend of positive cases and deaths led to scaled-back restrictions on crowd limits in Delaware and New Jersey. In Pennsylvania, efforts to restore pre-coronavirus prosperity advanced with the unveiling of a $3 billion workforce development plan.
Here's a breakdown of some of the 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.
In what Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday is an effort to increase vaccination efforts in hard-hit farming communities, the state will open 11 immunization sites in the Central Valley and increase vaccine allocations in the region by 58% over last week.
On Friday, Newsom signed a law authorizing the extension of mail-in ballot voting for 2021 elections.
The Delaware Division of Social Services announced Monday that it will issue emergency benefits for February from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and General Assistance funds as part of the state's response to the pandemic.
On Feb. 19, Gov. John Carney lifted gathering limits for indoor events from 10 to 25 people or 50% of the fire capacity, whichever is less.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday that CVS Health will begin offering vaccinations at 81 pharmacies in 13 counties across Florida.
On Friday, DeSantis said four federally operated vaccination sites have been established in Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa. The sites will begin operating March 3.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday announced the addition of two state vaccination sites, for a total of 14 state-run sites. The new sites, which began operating Tuesday, are in Rockford and Collinsville. Pritzker also said he would be deploying more members of the Illinois National Guard to help Winnebago and Madison counties set up more mobile vaccination sites.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order Monday scaling back restrictions on event gatherings. Effective immediately, the modified rules raise the capacity limits on religious gatherings from 35% to 50% of the room, with no cap on the number of individuals allowed to attend. Also, as of March 1, large sports and entertainment venues with a seating capacity of 5,000 or more will have a 10% capacity limit indoors and 15% capacity outdoors.
In a joint statement with education officials, Murphy on Friday unveiled a $1.2 billion grant program to address student educational and mental health needs stemming from the pandemic. The grants, which come from federal funding, will be made available to school districts for instructional and mental health interventions.
Also on Friday, Murphy released guidance for conducting fire district elections, which are typically held in February, and school elections simultaneously on April 20.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will begin offering enhanced bus services to carry residents to vaccination sites in Brooklyn and Queens, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Monday.
On Friday, Cuomo announced opening dates for six vaccination sites to be operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Sites in Brooklyn and Queens will open on Wednesday, and sites in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Yonkers will open on March 3.
Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday unveiled Back to Work PA, a $3 billion workforce development initiative that would be funded by natural gas extraction tax. The plan, which builds on the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center's annual report, would entail the development of a strong reshoring initiative and the expansion of high-speed internet access.
--Editing by Brian Baresch.
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