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

By Jeannie O'Sullivan · June 16, 2020, 4:21 PM EDT

As a civil rights reckoning unfolded across the nation in the form of protests and calls for reform this past week, the COVID-19 pandemic's impact wove itself into the fray. Massachusetts is offering testing for those who attended large gatherings, while a California jobs recovery task force declared the coronavirus crisis an opportunity to reimagine society.

The pandemic forced the cancellation of two beloved state fairs in Illinois, but states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey continued to shed restrictions with summertime commerce and recreation in mind. The latter two states, along with New York, also issued guidance on safely resuming outdoor sports.

In other positive developments for those affected by the pandemic, funding is on the way for schools and counties in Florida, to combat food insecurity in Massachusetts, and for those with autism in Pennsylvania.

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.


California

In a series of executive orders Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom authorized extended waivers to expand enrollment in California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids, extended permission for commercially licensed food trucks to operate in roadside rest areas, suspension of face-to-face visits for eligibility for extended foster care, and deadlines for real estate license application and renewal fees and continuing education requirements.

Also on Monday, members of Newsom's Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery issued an open letter decrying structural racism and urging business and civic leaders to take a stand against injustice. The coronavirus recovery process "also presents an opportunity to re-imagine our society and economy by striking out against injustice," the letter read in part.

Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday issued guidance to communities as schools finalize plans to reopen. Schools will receive nearly $475 million through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to help offset pandemic-related costs.

Also on Thursday, DeSantis announced the state's plan to disburse up to $1.3 billion in CARES Act funds to counties with fewer than 500,000 residents.

Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday said the Illinois and Du Quoin state fairs are cancelled this year due to the pandemic. The fairs, which attracted more than 600,000 visitors combined last year, will return in 2021.

Massachusetts

Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday announced the availability of pop-up coronavirus testing sites on Wednesday and Thursday for those who recently participated in large gatherings.

On Thursday, he said $41 million was available to address urgent food insecurity as a result of the pandemic.

New Jersey

The New Jersey Department of Health on Monday issued health and safety protocol guidance for outdoor organized sports activities, which may resume as of June 22. Only outdoor sports are permitted for now.

Libraries were allowed to offer curbside pickup as of Monday, per an administrative order announced Sunday by Gov. Phil Murphy. In other relaxed restrictions announced Sunday, restaurants and other hospitality businesses may allow tours for event planning as long as faces are covered; students may enter schools to collect belongings; real estate open houses are permitted subject to social distancing protocols; bicycle shops, boat dealerships, car washes and other non-essential businesses may also operate with social distancing measures; and yard sales and special events are allowed subject to certain restrictions.

New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday announced that low-risk youth sports for regions in the third phase of reopening can commence July 6, with up to two spectators per child. Also on Sunday he said the state is extending the special enrollment period for the New York State of Health Health Plan Marketplace through July 15.

On Saturday, Cuomo announced that the Western New York region and the Capital Region would be expected to enter the third phase of reopening on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. The announcement came amid the lowest number of hospitalizations and deaths reported in the state since the pandemic began.

On Thursday, Cuomo accepted the initial recommendations of the COVID-19 Domestic Violence Task Force.

Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday announced $260 million in CARES Act funding would be available for those with intellectual disabilities and autism along with their support service providers during the pandemic. Also on Monday, he announced that nine more coronavirus testing sites would open in Walmarts as of Wednesday, bringing the total to 19 sites at the retailer's locations.

On Friday, Wolf said eight more counties will move to the green — or least restrictive — phase of reopening on June 19. These counties are Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Luzerne, Monroe, Perry, Pike and Schuylkill.

On Wednesday, Wolf issued preliminary guidance for high school, college, and professional and recreational sports teams for resuming practice during the state's yellow and green phases.

Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott joined forces with professional sports figures in public service announcements highlighting safety precautions during the pandemic. On Monday he unveiled "Wear a Mask on And off the Field" in partnership with Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith. On June 10, he released "Don't Be a Knucklehead" with Major League Baseball Hall of Fame member Nolan Ryan to encourage hand-washing, social distancing and wearing a mask.

--Editing by Adam LoBelia.

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