Top State Coronavirus Action
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all Californians to stay at home, marking the first mandatory restrictions placed on the lives of all 40 million residents. Officials hope telling people to remain in their homes and restrict social interactions will slow the spread of the virus.
As the United States and Canada agreed Wednesday to close their border to all nonessential travel, there weren’t many answers about what those restrictions would mean for Montana agriculture.
Still reeling from last year’s historic floods, river cities in the Great Plains and central U.S. are preparing for another active flood season in the middle of the pandemic. Last year’s flood season was one of the wettest on record, and NOAA’s spring flood forecast predicts moderate to major flooding this year in 23 states from the Northern Plains to the Gulf Coast.
During a conference call between state officials and President Donald Trump, Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said the state had been outbid by the federal government while attempting to purchase personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic.
From booze to hygiene products, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, is allowing the state’s alcohol distilleries to begin manufacturing hand sanitizer. Distillers are not normally allowed to make such products without an industrial manufacturing permit.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, announced she is closing the state’s public beaches, both public and private. The term “beach” means the sandy shoreline area abutting the Gulf of Mexico, including beach access points.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York state will suspend mortgage payments for 90 days for people under financial distress, a move that will not affect credit ratings or result in any penalties. Fees at ATM machines and overdraft and credit card late fees also are being suspended.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, said illnesses could start to exceed the state’s ability to deliver health care in as soon as a week without help from the federal government. He asked President Donald Trump for assistance meeting a growing demand for hospital beds and other resources.
Republicans who control the Minnesota Senate pushed back against some of Democratic Gov. Tim Walz’s recent executive orders, among them his decision to change unemployment rules without the legislature’s approval.
Three people who planned to attend political and religious events in the next few weeks are challenging New Hampshire’s statewide emergency ban on gatherings of 50 people or more.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he has amended an executive order he issued last week that banned social gatherings of 50 or more people to bar gatherings of 10 or more. The Republican also ordered all shopping malls to close and lifted regulations to allow for the home delivery of alcohol.
A man who allegedly threatened to bomb a Utah hospital after learning he couldn’t receive a coronavirus test was arrested. He was booked into Salt Lake County jail on suspicion of making a terrorism threat, a third-degree felony.
OH: With price gouging including $13 toilet paper, Ohio attorney general wants tough consumer-protection law
With some items held hostage at high prices amid the coronavirus epidemic, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, wants lawmakers to enact an anti-price gouging law. Ohio does not have a law that deals directly with price gouging, but it bans “unconscionable sales practices.”
Democratic Gov. Jared Polis has ordered the suspension of “nonessential” surgeries and medical procedures in Colorado in order to free up equipment, including ventilators and personal protection items for staff. His executive order requires this suspension to run from March 23 to April 14 for all facilities other than rural and critical-access hospitals, for which the order’s timeline is indefinite.
Registered Maine guides are among those in industries in which face-to-face service is essential. But as spring and early summer fishing seasons near, some guides have already begun seeing a dropoff in reservations.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, does not currently plan to issue a statewide order for people to shelter in place. But Brown is planning that the state might need to take that step.
Under increasing pressure to take a harder line, Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey stayed the course, recommending people avoid crowds but stopping short of a statewide mandate for businesses to close or people to stay home.
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has notified sheriffs that it temporarily will not accept any new inmates from county jails during the crisis. The change, which puts an extra burden on sheriffs, affects all 77 counties.
New Jersey health officials must tell cops where people who’ve tested positive live, but names will be excluded and the information will be closely protected, according to a directive released by state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, a Democrat.
Colorado state Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, a Democrat, says her test results came back positive. Michaelson Jenet is the first state lawmaker in Colorado to announce they have the coronavirus.
Arizona golf courses, for the most part, remain open for business. March is one of the prime times for golf in the state, which typically draws countless out-of-towners willing to pay upwards of $200 to enjoy the courses.
Missouri has waived work requirements for food stamps for 90 days and extended Medicaid coverage to eligible Missourians who test positive. The state also temporarily will not terminate eligibility for any Medicaid participant and will ease requirements for telehealth services.
The Massachusetts National Guard is activating up to 2,000 members to assist the state in its response to the coronavirus.
Hawaii state Sen. Clarence Nishihara, a Democrat, learned that he has tested positive. The positive test triggers an immediate closure of the Capitol and indefinite suspension of the legislative session.
Faced with looming shortages, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp urged Georgia hospitals to cancel elective procedures to conserve lifesaving supplies essential to combating the pandemic. And he echoed an approach he’s emphasized all week by repeating that he has no immediate plans to mandate a statewide quarantine.
A surge in gun purchases has led to standing-room-only crowds in the Sheriff’s Office lobby in Nebraska’s Douglas County, forcing the department to change how it issues permits.
Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said he has decided to move the state’s presidential primary from April 28 to June 2. Maryland, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Ohio also have postponed their primaries.
Indiana Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the prolonged closure of schools. He also announced the cancellation of all state testing set to be given later this spring.
Republican Gov. Tate Reeves announced public schools throughout Mississippi would remain closed until at least April 17. Reeves, who is currently in self-quarantine following a trip to Spain, made the announcement in a live video on Facebook.
The University of South Carolina canceled all in-person classes for the rest of the semester and postponed commencement for all campuses, officials said. Classes will be converted to online-only, and those set to graduate will still receive a degree.
Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson extended the statewide closure of public schools by three weeks to April 17 and banned dine-in at restaurants and bars.
The Utah Board of Education voted unanimously to cancel the annual exams, calling it “the responsible way” to move forward as health officials say Utah is still in the early stages of the pandemic. The year-end tests typically take place between mid-March and May.
An Alabama judge ordered jails in his district to release inmates with bonds of $5,000 or less to relieve crowding because but revised the order to leave that up to the discretion of sheriffs and wardens.
Emergency room physician John Gavin can’t identify the exact patient from whom he contracted the virus, but he’s confident he picked up the illness working one of his 12-hour shifts in Amite, Louisiana’s small, rural emergency room.
Illinois firearms retailers say sales of guns and ammunition have substantially increased over the past two weeks and especially in recent days.
Kansas bars, breweries and restaurants with liquor licenses are temporarily allowed to sell beer and wine for carry out as severe restrictions on gatherings has effectively ended dine-in service at most establishments.
North Carolina hospitals say thieves are stealing masks, gloves and hand sanitizer by the box due to anxiety over the nationwide shortage of medical supplies. At UNC Health in Raleigh and Chapel Hill, the problem goes beyond grabbing supplies off a shelf. Some patients and visitors have brought in empty containers and filled them from sanitizer dispensers mounted on the walls.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf announced that all but “life-sustaining” businesses in Pennsylvania were to close by Thursday at 8 p.m.
"Every day this week our claims have gone up," said Amy Banicki, deputy administrator of unemployment with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. "They keep going up incrementally, almost doubling every day."
Minnesota health care providers must postpone elective surgeries and other medical procedures so they can focus their resources on responding to the anticipated surge of virus cases, Democratic Gov. Tim Walz ordered.
Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, signed a wide-ranging executive order that extends Tennesseans' ability to use expired driver's licenses, bolsters consumer protections, relaxes some regulatory oversight and temporarily allows the Board of Parole to close its meetings to the public.
Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear signed an order banning all in-person gatherings in Kentucky, including church services, festivals and government meetings.
Other State News
Texas regulators are considering curtailing oil production in America’s largest oil-producing state, something they haven’t done in decades. Oil executives have reached out to members of the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the industry, requesting relief following an oil price crash.
A new law in Maine will make common medical visits more affordable, said Democratic Gov. Janet Mills. The proposal is also designed to simplify shopping for a plan and make premiums more affordable for small businesses