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

By Jeannie O'Sullivan · July 14, 2020, 5:53 PM EDT

As regional spikes in COVID-19 cases continued to temper reopening efforts over the past week, California officials ordered the closure of a wide swath of businesses and unveiled plans to bolster firefighting reserves, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a roundtable with mayors following record-high positive test results over the weekend and New York launched a quarantine compliance initiative in airports.

In other responses to spikes, testing got beefed up testing in Illinois, Massachusetts and Texas, and Pennsylvania extended housing protections to those struggling to make rent and mortgage payments. New Jersey added to its list of states from which visitors must enter a 14-day quarantine, bringing the total to 22, and postponed elections, while Texas suspended elective surgeries in the state's trauma service areas.

New Jersey, the second hardest-hit state, also advanced its reopening plans by removing capacity limits on public and private transportation, and resumed visitation in long-term care facilities that have been free of coronavirus for 28 days.

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

California officials on Monday ordered the statewide closure of indoor businesses where social distancing is difficult, including brewpubs, family entertainment centers, movie theaters, restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, museums and zoos. In the 29 hardest hit counties, the closure order also affects gyms and fitness centers, hair salons, places of worship, personal care service businesses and indoor protests.

During a visit to McClellan Air Force Base Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans to hire 858 more firefighters and six California Conservation Corps crews through October due to the pandemic.

Florida

Following Sunday's report of 15,300 positive test results, the most in any state in one day, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday held a roundtable discussion with Miami-Dade mayors that was broadcast on social media. On Twitter, he urged residents to "protect Florida's most vulnerable and avoid the 3 Cs: closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings."

Illinois

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority on Monday announced it will provide $7.1 million in funding available to organizations providing support services and resources to communities struggling with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

On July 8, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the addition of 12 new mobile coronavirus testing teams throughout the state. The teams will assist in the hardest-hit communities, as well as at homeless services centers and nursing homes.

Massachusetts

Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday announced $16.1 million in funding for 32 special education residential schools to offset coronavirus-related costs, such as enhanced cleaning, infection control measures, personal protective equipment and increased staffing.

On July 8, Baker announced that free coronavirus testing sites would operate in eight communities from July 10 to Aug. 14 as part of the state's Stop the Spread initiative. The sites are in Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Marlborough, and New Bedford.

New Jersey

Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday added Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin to the list of states with significant coronavirus community spread from which travelers must place themselves in a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in the Garden State. The rest of the list includes Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

Also on Monday, Murphy lifted the 50% capacity limits on public and private buses, trains, light rail and paratransit vehicles, and postponed the required annual municipal and county party meetings until July 27-28, after election results are certified. The order also postponed all upcoming scheduled elections, including special elections, until the Nov. 3 general election.

New York

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday said that as of Tuesday, airports would begin an enforcement operation to ensure travelers from states with high community spread are complying that quarantine orders. Enforcement teams will greet disembarking passengers and request proof of completion of the state's health department traveler form.

Also Monday, Cuomo said that schools in regions that have advanced to the fourth phase of reopening can resume classes in the fall, as long as the daily rate of infection remains below 5% using a 14-day average. Cuomo also said the state will deploy testing and contact tracing teams to Atlanta in response to a rise in coronavirus cases in the Georgia city.

On Friday, state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said nursing homes and long-term care facilities that have been free of coronavirus cases for 28 days may resume limited visits, and Cuomo said beach and lakefront concessions would be allowed to open beginning July 12.

Also on Friday, Cuomo said the state planned to send a supply of the coronavirus medication Remdesivir to Florida amid a surge of cases while the state waits for a supply from the federal government.

Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday authorized state agencies, such as occupational licensing boards and commissions, to conduct administrative proceedings remotely.

On Thursday Wolf extended the ban on foreclosures and evictions to Aug. 31 for those who have not yet received assistance from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency or other foreclosure moratorium programs or the courts.

Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday announced that the U.S. Department of Defense deployed additional Army medical and support professionals to help out in hospitals.

Abbott on Friday said the state would work with Omnicare, a CVS Health company, to provide coronavirus testing in assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

On Thursday Abbott suspended all elective surgeries in hospitals in more than 100 counties.

Abbott on July 8 announced that the state's financial aid programs would receive $57 million in federal funds to keep more students enrolled in colleges and universities during the pandemic.

--Editing by Brian Baresch.

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