By: - May 5, 2020 12:00 am

MO: Missouri sees spike in cases on day state reopens

Missouri lifted some restrictions on businesses and reported its single-highest one day total of new COVID-19 cases. The state’s health director said the spike in positive cases was a result of increased testing.

OH: Provisional votes will count only for Ohioans who requested absentee ballot on time

Provisional ballots from voters who did not request an absentee ballot before the deadline in Ohio’s pandemic-extended primary election will not be counted.

OK: Oklahoma Supreme Court strikes notary requirement for absentee ballots

An order issued by Chief Justice Noma Gurich bars the Oklahoma State Election Board from issuing ballot forms or other election materials that suggest notarization is required. Instead, a statement signed, dated and declared under the penalty of perjury will suffice on absentee ballots. 

KY: Federal judge blocks enforcement of Kentucky governor’s travel ban

A federal judge in Kentucky granted a preliminary injunction to block Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear from enforcing travel bans he put in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

WV: West Virginia officials let first responders use counterfeit masks

West Virginia distributed 50,000 respirator masks to first responders, then left the devices in use even after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned they might be counterfeit.

MD: Maryland lawmakers call for more oversight of emergency pandemic spending

After Maryland officials terminated an unfulfilled contract with a politically connected firm, lawmakers are calling for greater oversight of the millions of dollars Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration is awarding to companies through emergency purchases during the pandemic.

GA: Money provided for election safety supplies and drop boxes in Georgia

The Georgia secretary of state’s office is distributing federal coronavirus relief money to county election offices for personal protective equipment, sanitizing disinfectant supplies and secure drop boxes. Each county is eligible for up to ,000 to reimburse their expenses.

NY: New York governor says no region is ready to reopen under safety rules

Though none are ready now, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said some regions of New York state could reopen almost fully by mid- to late June — if they can reach the proper reduced rate of spread of the infectious disease, along with a decline in hospitalizations and an increase in testing.

RI: Rhode Island governor hopes to allow partial reopening of ‘noncritical’ retailers this weekend

Democratic Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said she intends to allow noncritical retail stores that had been closed to reopen with capacity restrictions as part of the first phase of reopening the state. She still hopes that first phase can begin Saturday, with the lifting of her stay-at-home order.

CA: California businesses may open on limited basis

Many California retail businesses will be able to reopen with some modifications by the end of the week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, announced, an easing of the restrictions he handed down March 19 to slow the coronavirus outbreak. Retailers such as florists, bookstores and clothing outlets will be able to open their doors for curbside pickup by Friday, if certain specifications are met.

VA: Phase One of Virginia reopening could start next week

Virginia could move on to the first phase of the state’s reopening by the end of the next week, if current COVID-19 trends hold, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam announced. Northam announced he would expand an executive order mandating the closure of recreational businesses, including gyms and laboratories, from May 8 until May 14.

NC: North Carolina governor signs bills to open schools early in the fall

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, signed bills including millions of dollars for personal protective equipment, university research, testing, contact tracing, small business loans and food banks. Policies in the relief package include starting the next school year a week earlier and waiving end-of-grade testing.

VT: Vermont governor allows hospitals to restart elective procedures and in-person appointments

Republican Gov. Phil Scott announced that Vermont’s hospitals may reopen for some elective procedures and nonessential appointments, if they follow a long list of conditions.

MS: Mississippi governor relaxes more rules for restaurants, outdoor gatherings amid coronavirus

Just three days after Mississippi’s biggest spike in COVID-19 cases and a decision not to reopen more businesses, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves announced that he will allow restaurants to offer limited in-house dining and larger outdoor gatherings.

ID: Idaho’s health districts say they’re ready for contact tracing challenge

As Idaho reopens, the state’s health districts expect cases to increase again — but they say they’re prepared for the contact tracing workload. Some are staffing up with temporary workers, and some have reassigned existing employees.

AR: Arkansas university system plans to reopen this fall

The Arkansas State University System announced that it intends to return to in-person classes on campus this fall. System President Chuck Welch said health guidelines will be used to help formulate a plan to reopen that includes residence halls.

NJ: New Jersey schools will stay closed through the end of academic year

Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted he will extend the statewide school closure throughout the rest of the academic year. The state’s schools will continue teaching about 1.4 million public school students from home.

AK: Alaska’s fate in massive loan program rests on bank workers

For one Alaska bank, processing 1,300 loans — the equivalent of three years’ worth of applications — in less than two weeks required people to do jobs they never thought they’d do. The Paycheck Protection Program is designed to cover a company’s payroll for eight weeks. How that money flows, and which communities it flows to, depends on the ingenuity and industry of bank employees.

DE: Advocates call for racial equity taskforce in Delaware

According to the Delaware Division of Health, the rate of COVID-19 cases for African Americans in the state is more than three times the rate for white residents. For Hispanics, the rate is four times that of whites.

GA: Georgia judicial emergency to be extended to June 12

Georgia’s statewide judicial emergency will be extended to June 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the state’s chief justice said. This means all criminal and civil jury trials will continue to be suspended, while courts will remain open to handle critical and essential services.

HI: Pandemic could cripple Hawaii public pensions

Hawaii officials in charge of overseeing pensions and health plans for more than 49,000 government retirees are hoping their combined billion in investments can get back on track. Even after markets swung up in April, the retirement funds still face a cloudy horizon.

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Stateline staff
Stateline staff

Stateline’s team of veteran journalists combines original reporting with a roundup of the latest news from sources around the country.