Funding relief is on the way for rental assistance in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and internet connectivity in economically disadvantaged New York schools. Pandemic developments in the Empire State also include the first case of the virus' Brazilian variant.
In vaccination advancements, New York and Massachusetts both expanded immunization eligibility, while Illinois and Florida unveiled plans for new vaccination sites.
Here's a breakdown of some of the COVID-19-related state measures from the past week.
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Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed legislation that would give the state's workforce up to 80 hours of coronavirus supplemental paid sick leave for eligible employees through September, including those who have to care for pandemic-impacted family members. Businesses with 25 or fewer workers are exempt, but will receive a federal tax credit if they offer the benefit. The law is retroactive with respect to sick leave taken beginning in January 2021.
Newsom on March 17 signed a law that would waive license renewal fees for establishments that serve alcohol for licenses set to expire between March 1, 2021, and February 28, 2023. The measure allocates $3 million from the state's general fund to the Alcohol Beverage Control Fund to be used by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to backfill revenues that the renewal fees would normally generate.
In a joint statement with lawmakers and housing officials, Gov. John Carney on Friday announced the reopening of the Delaware Housing Assistance Program to provide $200 million in federal financial assistance to renters and landlords affected by the pandemic.
Also on Friday, Carney extended the pandemic-prompted emergency declaration for another 30 days.
In response to an onslaught of spring breakers, many unmasked, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber drew headlines Saturday by declaring a state of emergency and imposing an 8 p.m. curfew on the resort city's "high-impact zone" of nightlife activity. The order also set a curfew, with exceptions for residents, on traffic coming onto the island. Per the order, the emergency declaration may be renewed in one-week increments through April 13.
A new permanent vaccination site has been established at The Centre in Palm Harbor in Pinellas County to administer the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced March 17.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday announced plans to launch mass vaccination sites in DuPage and Kane counties. In other vaccination advances, Pritzker said Thursday the state's National Guard will be deployed to support vaccination efforts by health departments in McHenry and Lake counties.
Also Thursday, Pritzker announced the extension of the individual income tax filing and payment deadline from April 15 to May 17. The extension doesn't apply to estimated tax payments due April 15.
As of Monday, the commonwealth moved to the first step of Phase IV of its reopening plan. Per Phase IV, indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks may operate at a 12% capacity limit, and allowable indoor and outdoor gathering capacity will be set at 100 and 150 people. Also, dance floors will be permitted at weddings and certain other events. The phase also permits dance floors at weddings and the operation of overnight summer camps, exhibition and convention halls.
Also as of Monday, vaccination eligibility has been extended to employees of court systems, grocery stores, the food packing industry, the medical supply chain and restaurants, among other sectors.
On March 17, Gov. Charlie Baker announced that the state is receiving $27.4 million in federal funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to "increase trust, vaccine acceptance and administration rates" in furtherance of the commonwealth's vaccine equity initiative. The initiative entails identifying and supporting the commonwealth's 20 hardest-hit communities.
In a joint statement with lawmakers and state treasury officials, Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday announced that the state income tax filing and payment due date for individuals will be extended from April 15 to May 17.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Sunday that pharmacies may now vaccinate state residents with comorbidities. Candidates must provide a doctor's letter, medical information evidencing comorbidity or a signed certification.
The state's first case of the COVID-19 P.1 variant, first identified in Brazil, was identified by Mount Sinai hospital scientists and verified by the Department of Health, Cuomo announced Saturday. The patient is a Brooklyn resident in their 90s with no travel history.
Citing the "new reality that has only been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic," Cuomo and the Reimagine New York Commission announced Friday the launch of ConnectED NY, an emergency fund to provide free internet access to 50,000 students in economically disadvantaged school districts through June 2022. The funding comes from Schmidt Futures and the Ford Foundation.
Citing the financial ramifications of the pandemic, Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday announced the launch of the state's Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The program will distribute about $569 million to households struggling during the pandemic through partnerships with local leaders.
--Editing by Marygrace Murphy.
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