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

By Jeannie O'Sullivan · February 9, 2021, 4:19 PM EST

States made strides in the past week to expand COVID-19 vaccination access to a wider swath of the public, resulting in more community vaccination sites in California, an enhanced mobile immunization effort in rural Texas and a program in Florida designed to make homebound Holocaust survivors eligible for vaccine delivery.

The struggle to meet demand amid a dwindling vaccine supply continued to affect states like Illinois, which redirected tens of thousands of unused pharmacy vaccine doses to statewide sites. Another action led to a new requirement in Delaware that vaccines be administered for free.

Restaurants, one of the hardest-hit industries in the pandemic, were able to put indoor dining back on the menu in New York City and expand outdoor service in New Jersey.

Here's a breakdown of some of the 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

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Feb. 3 announced a plan to establish community vaccination sites at California State University, Los Angeles and the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum in Oakland. The Federal Emergency Management Administration will provide staffing and operational support.

Delaware

In an omnibus order on Feb. 4, Gov. John Carney raised the capacity limits for restaurants from 30% to 50% and said sports tournaments can resume, subject to state-approved health guidelines. The orders are both effective on Feb. 12.

The omnibus order also requires health care providers to offer vaccinations free of charge, but it still permits them to collect insurance information. Carney said that providers' failure to comply with state reporting requirements can result in fines and a lowered vaccine allocation.

Other portions of the Feb. 4 order clarify the prohibition on pandemic-related price-gouging and allow residents to vote by absentee ballot in the 2021 municipal elections.

Florida

Holocaust survivors in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Martin counties are among the homebound seniors eligible for vaccine delivery, Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Feb. 4 while announcing an interfaith vaccine event at the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center.

Illinois

In an effort to expand the limited vaccine supply, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Feb. 3 said that the state is working with CVS and Walgreens to temporarily redirect about 97,000 unused vaccine doses to providers statewide.

Massachusetts

As of Monday, the 25% capacity limit on business operations, including for restaurants and personal care services, increased to 40%.

A new call center is now operating to help residents 75 and older who are unable to access the state's vaccine appointment website, Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Friday.

And on Thursday, Baker said that $173.9 million has been awarded to 4,043 additional businesses in the sixth round of coronavirus relief grants administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation.

New Jersey

Citing the "devastating" effects of the pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday signed legislation that extends permits allowing restaurants and bars to expand the premises where they can serve alcoholic beverages outdoors. The permits now extend through Nov. 30, 2022, or the date Murphy reinstates full-capacity indoor dining, whichever is later.

As of Friday, the 10 p.m. curfew on restaurant operation was lifted, and capacity limits rose from 25% to 35%.

On Feb. 4, Murphy signed legislation that requires hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities to report to the state Department of Health the number of employees who tested positive for COVID-19 and who died from the virus.

New York

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday announced that indoor dining in New York City can resume at 25% capacity on Feb. 12, two days earlier than previously planned. The change was prompted by restaurants requesting an earlier reopening in order to prepare for the Valentine's Day dining rush.

Also on Monday, Cuomo announced that New Yorkers with comorbidities and underlying conditions are permitted to make vaccination appointments at state-run sites beginning on Feb. 14.

Ahead of Sunday's winter storm, Cuomo on Saturday suspended operations at coronavirus testing and vaccination sites throughout the southern part of the state and on Long Island at Stony Brook and Jones Beach due to the impending winter storm.

Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday signed legislation that redirects $145 million from the state's Workers' Compensation Fund to its general fund to help businesses reeling from the impact of the pandemic. The new law also provides funding for rental and utility assistance.

Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott on Feb. 4 announced that emergency officials were partnering with the Texas Military Department to deploy mobile vaccination teams to the underserved counties of Glasscock, Kenedy, McMullen, Motley and Terrell. Mobile vaccination units were previously deployed in the rural counties of DeWitt, Marion, Real, Sherman and Starr.

--Editing by Steven Edelstone.

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