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

By Jeannie O'Sullivan
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Law360 (May 26, 2020, 4:46 PM EDT) -- The COVID-19 pandemic found states monitoring scaled-back Memorial Day weekend festivities that went off without a hitch in some places and resulted in crowd-limit violations in others, signaling challenges ahead as the beach season vies with continuing public health safety mandates.

In other recent developments, professional sports teams won victories in New Jersey and New York, where the governors announced that training camps, games and matches can resume. Pennsylvania likewise conquered a hurdle, with restrictions slated to be lifted in eight more counties, and Keystone State residents can celebrate with newly authorized to-go adult beverages.

Another sunny sign came in New Jersey for the Class of 2020, whose members can participate in in-person graduation ceremonies starting July 6 as long as they practice social distancing while accepting diplomas and tossing their caps in the air.

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 Lexis Nexis.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday unveiled California Connected, a comprehensive contact tracing program and public awareness campaign. As part of the initiative, public health workers will work with individuals who test positive for the coronavirus and people they've had contact with to ensure they have access to confidential testing, medical care and other services.

Gov. John Carney on Tuesday said the ban on short-term rentals and the quarantine mandate for out-of-state visitors will be lifted June 1.

On Thursday, the Delaware Division of Public Health announced the receipt of a $67 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to implement expanded capacity for coronavirus testing.

New Jersey
Socially distanced school graduations can occur in New Jersey starting July 6, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday in a Twitter shoutout to the Class of 2020.

The governor on Friday warned of more impending budget cuts as the state faces a nearly $10 billion shortfall for the remaining fiscal year and 2021 amid gutted tax revenues due to the coronavirus. A statewide hiring freeze and $5 billion reduction in planned spending are among his proposed fixes.

In other announcements on Friday, Murphy allowed Garden State-based professional sports teams to practice and engage in games or matches if their league resumes competition, raised the limit on outdoor gatherings from 10 to 25 people and announced that state colleges can take advantage of $68.8 million in emergency assistance for, among other things, pandemic-related difficulties.

On Thursday, Murphy unveiled coronavirus safety guidelines for seasonal farm workers and employers. The guidance addresses topics such as housing, transportation, sanitation and social distancing.

Those enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the state may now use their benefits for online shopping through Amazon and participating Walmarts, Shop Rites and The Fresh Grocers, according to a Wednesday announcement.
New York
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Sunday that Empire State professional sports teams are allowed to begin training camps as long as social distancing protocols are followed.

On Saturday, Cuomo said that the state's Mid-Hudson Valley will likely meet all the metrics necessary to reopen as planned this week. The valley joins the Capital Region, Western New York, Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley areas in being able to reopen.

Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday said that eight more counties will be moving to the "yellow" phase of reopening on May 29, in which nonessential businesses may operate with social distancing and crowd limits and employees must telework when possible. The counties are Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike and Schuylkill.

Also on Friday, Wolf released guidelines for summer camps and other seasonal businesses geared to children on maintaining coronavirus safety protocols. In another Friday announcement, Wolf clarified that the coronavirus moratorium on foreclosures and evictions doesn't apply to situations involving illegal activity or property damage.

On Thursday, Wolf signed an order allowing restaurants and establishments with liquor licenses to sell cocktails to go.

The state's child care providers will receive $51 million in federal coronavirus relief funding, according to a Wednesday announcement by Wolf.

The Texas Workforce Commission on Tuesday extended payment deadlines for employers required to pay a share of unemployment benefits. The June 1 deadline has been reset to Dec. 31.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday announced the suspension of in-person visits at county and municipal jails. The restriction doesn't apply to visits from attorneys and from religious leaders and clergy.

On Thursday, Abbott directed state health officials to expand coronavirus testing to all patients, residents and staff at the 23 state-operated inpatient psychiatric hospitals and living centers in Texas.

Also on Thursday, Abbott issued executive orders terminating air-travel restrictions and allowing driver's license offices to open on a limited basis.

--Editing by Jill Coffey.

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