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

By Jeannie O'Sullivan · August 4, 2020, 7:46 PM EDT

Legal and enforcement battles related to the COVID-19 pandemic raged this week with cases continuing to surge in various regions, as the East Coast states divided their time between responding to the pandemic and preparing for Tropical Storm Isaias. 

New Jersey called for hefty fines in its battle with a gym that continues its high-profile crusade against the state's shutdown mandates, while New York shuttered more bars and restaurants for falling short of pandemic safety requirements. In Massachusetts, three nursing homes were put on notice for their poor track record of complying with coronavirus safety requirements. 

Elsewhere, California vowed to speed up unemployment compensation payments, Delaware unveiled a plan for schools to open safely this fall, and Texas announced more than $185 million in funding for extended food benefits for families struggling during the health crisis.

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

New Jersey and New York on Tuesday added Rhode Island to the list of states from which visitors must enter a 14-day quarantine upon arrival, and also removed Delaware and Washington, D.C., from the list. The travel advisory now includes 35 states.

California

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday extended the deadline for county assessment appeals boards to issue a decision on pending appeals filed on or before March 4.

On July 29, Newsom unveiled a new "strike team" created to help the state catch up with unprocessed unemployment compensation claims. He also said he was going to decline to use his authority to stop the scheduled minimum wage increase to $14 per hour for businesses with more than 25 employees on Jan. 1.

Delaware

In a joint announcement with health officials, Gov. John Carney on Tuesday announced a plan to open schools in September under a plan of hybrid in-person and remote instruction and significant safety precautions to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

On Monday, Carney signed an executive order creating the Rapid Workforce Training and Redeployment Training Initiative to help individuals and families struggling with job losses due to the coronavirus. The program's initial support will come from $10 million in CARES Act funding.

Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzger on Thursday met with Peoria County health officials to discuss a coronavirus mitigation plan for the region in response to a spike in positive cases.

Massachusetts

Health officials said Tuesday that three private nursing homes have been issued notices that they could be terminated from the state's provider program due for failure to adhere to coronavirus safety requirements. The three facilities are Town and Country in Lowell, Hermitage Healthcare in Worcester and Wareham Healthcare in Wareham.

The notices could result in the closure of the facilities. Hermitage and Wareham, both owned by Next Step Healthcare, said in statements that they planned to appeal the decision. A representative for Town and Country didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

New Jersey

The New Jersey Attorney General's Office asked a state court judge Monday to impose a $10,000-a-day sanction on Atilis Gym in the latest round of the biggest legal battle over the state's coronavirus shutdown orders. The Bellmawr gym, which has defied the orders, alleged in a May lawsuit that the closure orders are unconstitutional. In response, the state lodged its own action seeking to enforce the mandates.

In executive orders Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy authorized public employees eligible for enrollment into the state health benefits program to immediately enroll upon hiring, instead of enforcing the usual two-month waiting period, and lowered the indoor gathering capacity from 100 persons to 25 in response to the uptick in cases.

New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that 19 more bars have been stripped of their liquor licenses for disregarding coronavirus safety measures, for a total of 83 suspensions since the pandemic began. Over the weekend, a multiagency compliance task force conducted more than 3,000 checks.

Twelve companies have begun producing personal protection equipment and medical equipment with the help of $6.9 million in state funding, Cuomo announced Thursday. The companies are CJ Designs: A Christian Soriano Company, Dellet Industries, Empire Bio Diagnostics Corp., Environmental Composites, Genesis Disposables LLC, HPK Industries, KSL Diagnostics Inc., Print Parts Inc., Rheonix, Shatkin FIRST LLC, Starline USA and You First Services.

Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Wolf said Monday he's allocating about $28 million in CARES Act funding to postsecondary institutions and adult basic education schools to fund public health and safety plans when the fall semester begins.

Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that the Texas National Guard's efforts to combat the impact of the coronavirus in communities will continue through the end of the year thanks to an extension of federal funding.

On Friday, Abbott said $185 million in emergency food benefits is available for families in August.

And on Thursday, Abbott said recipients of Medicaid and other pubic health benefit programs may continue to receive telehealth treatments through Oct. 23 with relaxed restrictions.

--Editing by Breda Lund.

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