US: Most states that are reopening fail to meet White House guidelines
More than half of U.S. states have begun to reopen their economies or plan to do so soon. But most fail to meet criteria recommended by the Trump administration to resume business and social activities.
AZ: Arizona officials stop work by university modeling team
The Arizona Department of Health Services told a team of university experts working on COVID-19 modeling to pause its work. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey announced plans to begin easing social distancing in the coming days. The modeling had shown that reopening at the end of May was the only scenario that didn’t dramatically increase cases.
OK: Oklahoma House Republicans vote to reverse court ruling on absentee ballots
Mere days after the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a requirement that absentee ballots be notarized, House Republicans moved to reverse the ruling. Despite fierce opposition from House Democrats, Republicans passed an amended bill that would reinstate the notary requirement.
NV: Las Vegas leaders call for lockdown to end
Most members on the Las Vegas City Council pushed for businesses to reopen immediately in the Nevada city, unifying behind an embattled mayor as GOP Councilwoman Michele Fiore lamented how people were being controlled by fear.
LA: Louisiana reverses course, will begin to name nursing homes with coronavirus
Louisiana will begin releasing the names of nursing homes with confirmed cases of the coronavirus, a state official said. That decision reverses one that Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration made in early April, when it stopped releasing the names of nursing homes with clusters of cases.
IN: Indiana lawmaker urges governor to release data on nursing homes to public
An Indiana state representative is calling on Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and state health officials to disclose information about COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Officials are offering weekly updates but making public only aggregated data that does not provide any information about individual facilities.
NJ: Governor extends New Jersey public health emergency for 30 days
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy had declared both a state of emergency and a public health emergency March 9 as the pandemic was beginning to spread in New Jersey. He extended that order April 7, and the new executive order will keep it in place through at least June 5, the governor’s office said.
TX: Texas salons prepare to open
Limited services, face coverings and smaller occupancies are among the new rules Texas businesses will follow if they open this week. If there’s no flareup of cases, more businesses could open May 18.
AK: Thousands of summer workers are heading into Alaska
Alaska, which has one of the lowest rates of infection in the nation, is about to see a deluge of people arriving from places with higher infection rates. The summer salmon harvest appears to be proceeding at close to normal levels, and GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration says it’s working to reduce the risks posed by the seasonal workers who do show up.
OH: Unhappy with health director, Ohio House moves to limit her power; governor blasts vote
House Republicans want a bigger say in how Ohio issues future stay-at-home orders, and they think the penalties for violating them are too harsh.
MI: Michigan speeds up unemployment benefits
Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an order that will allow Michiganders to get their unemployment benefits more quickly. The order cuts back on the amount of checking the state must do before approving benefits and makes it easier to hire retirees to help process claims.
NY: New York City subway closes for the first time in its 115-year history
With New York City still in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, the subway will remain closed from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. for the foreseeable future to provide more time to thoroughly disinfect trains, stations and equipment.
MD: Maryland schools to remain closed for the rest of the academic year
Maryland’s public-school students will not return to classrooms for the rest of the academic year, officials announced, making Maryland one of the last states in the nation to make the call. Online and distance learning will continue while the Maryland Department of Education readies a comprehensive long-term recovery plan.
OR: Oregon lawmaker requests special session to end governor’s state of emergency
Oregon state Sen. Brian Boquist, a Republican, requested that the Oregon Legislature convene in person and pass a resolution to end Democratic Gov. Kate Brown’s state of emergency. That almost certainly won’t happen, as it would take a majority vote in both chambers or a call by the governor to make a special session happen.
ID: Census restarting Idaho home delivery after low response rate
Idaho’s decision to lift its stay-at-home order means the U.S. Census Bureau will resume operations in some rural Idaho counties starting May 6. Many households in rural Idaho haven’t even received a 2020 Census questionnaire because of coronavirus delays.
HI: An antiquated IT system fails thousands of Hawaii’s unemployed
The quarter of a million unemployment insurance applications that Hawaii has received are being processed on a government mainframe that was installed in the early 1980s, with technology so obsolete that it predates using a mouse. A long-term fix won’t come until next year, when Hawaii may pay million to migrate its data onto Idaho’s more modern system.
VT: Vermont governor to allow small gatherings, outdoor recreation
Vermonters received state approval to start socializing again on a limited basis. The state also paved the way for the reopening of low-contact outdoor recreation including ballfields, skate parks, trail networks, golf courses and tennis courts.
CO: Colorado has received millions of masks and gloves to protect health workers
Democratic Gov. Jared Polis said he feels Colorado has been successful in acquiring vital personal protection equipment for health care workers and first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, saying the state has received millions of masks and gloves and hundreds of thousands of face shields and protective gowns in recent weeks.
NC: You can go to church Sunday in North Carolina, but only outdoors
When North Carolina moves into Phase One of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s reopening strategy on Friday, churches will once again be allowed to hold services — but only if they are outdoors. The executive order Cooper signed exempts worship services from its mass gathering restrictions that ban groupings of more than 10 people, but not indoors.
GA: Some big Georgia employers aren’t rushing to end pandemic teleworking
Some businesses have turned their lights back on in Georgia: Restaurant dining rooms and hair salons have reopened, and malls are inviting in customers. Yet many corporate offices in metro Atlanta remain eerily quiet. Many of the biggest companies are in no rush to see their desks filled.
RI: Rhode Island plans to offer antibody tests to thousands
The state Department of Health will send letters to 5,000 randomly selected Rhode Islanders offering them the opportunity to be tested for antibodies, Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo announced. She also outlined an ambitious testing strategy meant to keep the virus at bay as the economy opens up.
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