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

By Jeannie O'Sullivan
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Law360 (November 17, 2020, 5:54 PM EST) -- A nationwide spike in COVID-19 cases forced renewed mitigation measures in multiple states in the past week, including stricter crowd limits in New Jersey, a second indoor dining ban in Philadelphia and a restaurant and bar curfew in New York.

Targeted responses led to new designations of "micro-cluster" zones in New York, the deployment of additional personal protective equipment and medical supplies in El Paso and Lubbock, Texas, and a new field hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts. Delaware, Philadelphia and New Jersey suspended jury trials due to the public health crisis.

In pandemic-prompted financial developments, Illinois budget officials issued a dire news about the state's substantial revenue losses and California allocated $62 million to help the homeless.

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.


Multistate

The governors of California, Oregon and Washington issued travel advisories Friday urging visitors entering their states or people returning from elsewhere to self-quarantine for 14 days.

The governors of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont on Thursday announced the the suspension of interstate youth hockey competitions through Dec. 31.

California

In response to a surge in coronavirus cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday he was "sounding the alarm" and halting reopening plans for now. California revived its most restrictive mitigation measures, including mask requirements, for more than 94% of the state.

Also Monday, Newsom announced the immediate allocation of $62 million from the state's emergency response fund to pay for motels and hotels for the homeless as coronavirus cases surge.

Delaware

Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Collins J. Seitz Jr. on Monday announced the postponement of state court jury trials due to rising coronavirus cases.

The state is partnering with Nemours Children's Health System, the Delaware Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and other pediatric care providers to make rapid COVID-19 tests available for children and adolescents statewide, Gov. John Carney and state health officials announced Friday.

New Jersey

Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday added Vermont to the list of states from which travelers must enter a 14-day quarantine, bringing New Jersey's travel advisory list up to 46 states and territories. The states and territories on the list have a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a region with a 10% or higher positive test rate over a seven-day rolling average.

Murphy on Monday lowered crowd limits from 25 to 10 people for indoor gatherings, effective Tuesday, and from 500 to 150 people for outdoor gatherings beginning Nov. 23. Exceptions to the crowd limits include funerals, memorial services, religious and political activities, and weddings, which remain unchanged at 25% of room capacity, up to a maximum of 150 people. The limits don't apply to legislative and court proceedings. Indoor sporting competitions and practices may exceed the 10-person limit for individuals necessary for activity, like players, coaches and referees, but can't exceed 150 people.

New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart J. Rabner on Monday reinstated the suspension of jury trials and in-person grand jury proceedings.

On Thursday, Murphy announced that municipalities and counties are permitted to impose additional restrictions on the operational hours of bars and restaurants, nonessential retail businesses, and recreational and entertainment businesses after 8 p.m. Municipalities and counties cannot disallow pickup or delivery service by dining establishments.

New York

Citing an unprecedented demand for social services during the pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled an online tool Monday, called "Find Services," to help residents get assistance.

A total of 203,721 coronavirus test results were reported to the state on Friday, the highest number in a single day, Cuomo said Saturday, noting that an emergency summit of northeast governors was planned for the weekend.

On Nov. 11, Cuomo imposed a 10 p.m. curfew on bars and restaurants that went into effect Friday.

Also on Nov. 11, Cuomo announced updates to the state's coronavirus "micro-cluster" areas. The areas receive red, orange or yellow designations indicating the severity of outbreaks, with red being the most serious. Port Chester's yellow zone transitioned to an orange warning zone, and new yellow precautionary zones were established in Staten Island and Tioga County. The yellow precautionary zone in Steuben County is slated for removal.

Illinois

The public health crisis has resulted in "unexpected and dramatic revenue losses," according to the annual Economic and Fiscal Policy Report released by Gov. J.B. Pritzker's Office of Management and Budget on Friday. The report noted that a graduated income-tax option is now "off the table" and warned that year-end accounts payable will continue to swell each year if the fiscal situation continues.

On Thursday, Pritzker launched an awareness campaign urging residents to take additional safety precautions during the holidays due to the surge in coronavirus cases.

Health officials recommend staying home as much as possible and limiting gatherings as much as possible or holding them virtually.

Massachusetts

A field hospital in Worcester will be reestablished to provide additional capacity for coronavirus patients, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Friday. The facility will be built by the National Guard.

Pennsylvania

The Philadelphia court system is suspending jury trials until January due to the public health crisis, the judiciary said Tuesday on Twitter.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on Monday imposed a slew of business restrictions, including a ban on indoor restaurant services, that will go into effect Friday. The ban also applies to bowling alleys, gyms, libraries, museums, theaters and recreational sports. High schools and colleges must move classes online, with the exception of clinical instruction for health sciences students.

In other restrictions, Kenney prohibited indoor gatherings and events involving people from more than one household, including funerals, showers and weddings. Religious gatherings are limited to five people per 1,000 square feet indoors, or 5% of room capacity.

Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10% of maximum capacity, or 10 people per 1,000 square feet for venues with an undefined maximum capacity, not to exceed 2,000 people.

Texas

El Paso and Lubbock will receive an additional supply of medical personnel, medical equipment, personal protective equipment, mobile testing sites and more in response to an uptick in coronavirus cases, Gov. Greg Abbott said on Nov. 11.

--Editing by Aaron Pelc.

Correction: An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the nature of the coronavirus test results reported on Friday in New York. The error has been corrected.

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

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