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

By Jeannie O'Sullivan · August 25, 2020, 4:21 PM EDT

State governors implemented COVID-19 relief efforts with autumn in mind over the past week, with more funding for increased internet connectivity on the way for schools in Delaware and Texas, and a call for legislative action this fall to help workers and families in Pennsylvania. 

Business restrictions ramped up this week in response to case surges in Illinois, while record lows in New York state didn't stop authorities from adding to the list of bars with suspended liquor licenses for flouting safety precautions. New York also took steps to keep evictions and foreclosures at bay for the time being, while New Jersey extended the moratorium on utility shutoffs.

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.

Delaware

Gov. John Carney and health officials on Monday issued updated guidance for children and face masks. Per the new order, children of kindergarten age and older must wear face masks and children 2 and older are strongly advised to wear face masks. Exceptions apply for children with medical conditions that impact breathing.

Also on Monday, Carney and education officials announced that $20 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding is available to expand internet connectivity in underserved communities to facilitate remote learning.

On Aug. 19, Carney and the Delaware Division of Small Business unveiled a $100 million CARES Act grant program to assist small businesses and nonprofits in the state struggling financially due to the pandemic.

Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and health officials jointly announced Monday that tighter safety restrictions would go into effect Wednesday in Will and Kankakee counties, regions that experienced a positive coronavirus test rate of 8% for three consecutive days. Under the revised orders, bars and restaurants must cease indoor service and indoor gatherings must be limited to the lesser of 25 guests or 25% of room capacity.

On Friday, Pritzker said that 20 counties have now reached a "warning level" due to the increase of two or more coronavirus risk indicators. The counties are Bureau, Cass, Clay, Clinton, Franklin, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Jefferson, Logan, Madison, Monroe, Moultrie, Randolph, St. Clair, Union, White, Will and Williamson. The counties experienced cases or outbreaks connected to gatherings such as weddings and parties.

Massachusetts

Gov. Charlie Baker announced that $3.3 million in grants are available to help residents struggling with food insecurity during the pandemic. The funding comes from the state's Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program.

New Jersey

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday that the state's public utilities agreed to extend their moratoriums on water, electricity and gas service shutoffs until Oct. 15. All utilities will also offer customers deferred payment plans of up to two years.

New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced that 14 more bars had their liquor licenses suspended due to coronavirus health and safety violations, bringing the total to 162 suspensions during the pandemic.

Also Monday, Cuomo said lower-risk school sports in all regions may begin practice and games Sept. 21. Traveling outside of the schools' regions or contiguous regions is prohibited through Oct. 19.

Cuomo on Thursday extended the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures to Sept. 20.

Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday called on lawmakers to institute worker and family support and protections and government reform proposals during their fall session to help the state navigate the pandemic.

Wolf on Thursday unveiled an effort by the PA Primary Care Loan Repayment Program to recruit physicians and medical workers to work in communities with a shortage of health care practitioners.

Also on Thursday, Wolf announced that the state is allocating about $20 million to help 678 local education agencies provide services for disabled students negatively impacted by the pandemic.

Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday announced that the state has procured more than 1 million digital devices to facilitate remote learning. The devices were obtained using $200 million in CARES Act funding.

--Editing by Kelly Duncan.

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