Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – March 24, 2020

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Alabama

Alabama State Government has issued a wide variety of emergency declarations, rules, etc. in response to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Below is a compilation of those notifications from the executive and judicial branches of state government. The Alabama legislature is on a regularly-schedule Spring Break until Tuesday, March 31, but we expect further information regarding their schedule when they return next week.

Arkansas

Arkansas is up to 168 cases across 31 counties. Governor Asa Hutchinson has closed all restaurants in restaurant dining, takeout and delivery are still available; he has also waived alcohol regulation to allow for delivery of beer and wine from restaurants and for liquor stores to begin home delivery. The Governor has also asked that all non-essential state employees begin to transition to remote work.

California

The California Department of Finance issued a letter to all State agencies in regards to the health of the State budget as a result of the pandemic. Click here to view.

Colorado

Colorado is taking a more asking non-essential businesses to adjust work schedules to keep 50+ percent of the workforce out of the office for social distancing.

Information on the outbreak of COVID-19 in Colorado can be found at this website.

Connecticut

Capitol complex to remain closed until at least April 13

In an email to their colleagues this evening, House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz and House Majority Leader Matt Ritter notified them that in order to continue to limit COVID-19 exposure, they’ll be extending the LOB and State Capitol Complex closure until at least April 13.

Governor Lamont signs twelfth executive order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19

Governor Lamont today signed another executive order – the twelfth since he enacted the emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus.

Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7K enacts the following provisions:

  • Suspension of non-critical probate court operations and associated requirements: Suspends, for the duration of the public health and civil preparedness emergency, all statutory reporting and filing requirements of the Office of the Probate Court Administrator concerning probate court operations; probate court facility, location, or venue requirements; time requirements, statutes of limitation or other limitations or deadlines relating to service of process, court proceedings, or court filings; and all time requirements or deadlines related to the probate courts or their judicial officials to issue notices, hold court, hear matters, and/or render decisions.
  • Suspension of non-critical Workers’ Compensation Commission operations and associated requirements: Suspends, for the duration of the public health and civic preparedness emergency, all location or venue requirements; time requirements, statutes of limitation, or other limitations or deadlines; and all time requirements or deadlines of the Workers’ Compensation Commission relating to the Workers’ Compensation Act and other statutory programs and schedules over which the commission provides adjudication, dispute resolution, administrative oversight or support.
  • Authorization of remote notarization: Modifies state laws and regulations to permit any notarial act that is required under Connecticut law to be performed using an electronic device or process that allows a notary public and a remotely located individual to communicate with each other under certain conditions, including recording and live presentation of identification.
  • Suspension or modification of regulatory requirements to protect public health and safety: Permits the commissioner of Public Health to temporarily waive, modify, or suspend regulatory requirements adopted by the agency or related boards or commissions deemed necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the public health.
  • Suspension of certain requirements regarding the temporary hire of care workers at long-term care facilities: Allows long-term care facilities to temporarily hire care workers to address the critical need in these facilities without background checks of state and national criminal history records, expanding the availability of an existing statutory waiver process.

Data updates on testing in Connecticut

Since yesterday’s update, an additional 88 Connecticut residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 415. To date, more than 4,500 tests have been conducted in Connecticut among both state and private laboratories.

Delaware

Delaware has issued a stay at home order. The states has also closed schools through May 15 and declared a public health emergency.

Georgia

  • State cases are up to 1,026 as of noon today as compared to 800 at 7 p.m. Monday. Georgia is now up to 32 deaths up from 26 last night. Fulton, Cobb, Bartow, Dougherty, DeKalb and Gwinnett still account for the majority of cases, with Carroll, Cherokee, Clayton and Lee Counties right behind. 
  • Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced all of Georgia’s 6.9 million active voters will be mailed absentee ballot request forms for the May 19 Primary.
  • Phoebe Putney Hospital has 31 COVID-19 patients in the hospital with another 78 inpatients suspected of having the disease.

Local:

City of Atlanta

Atlanta Mayor issued a 72-hour Order that requires stay at home for 14 days with only essential personnel being deployed. That includes those who in engage in certain essential business and government services, i.e. groceries, pharmacy, etc. It does include public works construction.

Georgia Municipal Association

Following a presentation Monday afternoon by Dr. Carlos del Rio to Mayors, City Managers, County Commission Chairs and county managers across the state, GMA urged the leaders of all 538 cities to declare public health emergencies and shutdown non-essential businesses.

Hawaii

The City and County of Honolulu issued a work from home emergency order effective March 23 through at least April 30.

Minnesota

In what has become a routine for state officials – Governor Walz and various Commissioners held their daily update this afternoon. The Governor now plans to hold these events every day at 2 p.m. Breaking news over the past 24 hours made today’s update both more challenging and brought the impacts of the virus closer to home. 

This morning, the Governor announced he and his family are now under a 14-day quarantine after a member of the Governor’s security detail tested positive for the Coronavirus. The Governor is not showing any symptoms and based upon testing protocols has not been tested. The Governor’s daily briefings will now be conducted by phone.

Right before Governor Walz’s announcement, it was reported Lt. Governor Flanagan’s brother Ron, passed away over the weekend as a result of contracting COVID-19. A resident of Tennessee, he had a compromised immune system following a recent cancer diagnosis. This follows the recent death of Lt. Governor Flanagan’s father. It was also reported this morning, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s husband was hospitalized over the week following his diagnosis with and complications related to COVID-19.

The total number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in Minnesota increased overnight by 66, bringing the total confirmed cases to 235. There has been one reported death related to the pandemic in Minnesota, 12 individuals have been hospitalized, 5 in critical condition.

During today’s press event, the Governor announced the release of four new Peacetime Emergency Executive Orders, once they have been posted I can provide links to these individual orders.

Executive Order 20-14: Places a moratorium on evictions and writs of recovery.

Executive Order 20-15: Captures US$30 million in unused funds in two Special Revenue Accounts within the Department of Employment and Economic Development. Those funds are being dedicates for use in loans to small businesses and Independent Contractors. The loans will range from US$2,500 to US$35,000. The program will be managed by the agencies lending partners. Up to 50 percent of the zero interest loans will be forgivable. 

This order also allows cities flexibility to use local revolving loan funds to support local small businesses. Commissioner Grove believes there are nearly US$28 million available across the state in local revolving loan funds.

Executive Order 20-16: Directs all non-hospital entities to conduct an inventory of personal protection equipment (PPE) and to make them available for use.

Executive Order 20-17: Clarifies order 20-08 which prohibited all elective surgeries. This order extends that prohibition to veterinary services. This order is intended to protect the supply of PPE. 

Additional items of interest in today’s call:

  • The Governor announced the state will match the federal government’s 2019 federal tax filing extension of July 15.
  • Since last Monday’s announcement closing bars, restaurants and areas of entertainment 123,624 individuals have filed for unemployment. 
  • In the past week, Minnesota schools have provided more than 354,000 meals to students across the state and daycare to 14,000 students of first responders, healthcare and essential service providers.
  • Details regarding the Executive Order 20-15 loans for small businesses will be available on the Department of Employment and Economic Development website later this week.
  • The Governor announced he and Lt. Governor Flanagan have released a revised Supplemental Budget Proposal with an additional US$356 million in spending related to the state’s response to COVID-19. The following is a link to that request. Walz/Flanagan Additional Supplemental Budget Request

The Governor also spent a substantial amount of time discussing what we might expect in the coming days. He was asked his thoughts on making a “stay and shelter” order similar to one ordered in Wisconsin earlier today. The Governor shared he has been in close contact with Governor Evers of Wisconsin and is waiting for more Minnesota specific date before he reaches the same conclusion. He also indicated it is likely the orders regarding schools and business closings set to expire later this week will need to be extended. It has been reported the Administration has been working with various business groups and industries to identify essential services if the Governor were to issue an Executive Order further shutting down movement and travel across the state. 

Late this afternoon, it has also been reported the Minnesota Legislature is considering returning Thursday for a one day floor session where a handful of items related to recent Executive Orders would be considered. For any legislation to be considered over the recess all four Legislative Leaders must agree to what is being proposed or considered. 

New Jersey

As of this writing, New Jersey has 2,844 confirmed COVID-19 cases and has reported 27 deaths.

The Governor provides daily, morning briefings on the state’s efforts to combat the virus that can be viewed on YouTube here.

The Governor has issued eight executive orders related to the pandemic: Governor Murphy Executive Orders

The Legislature has an emergency voting session last week and passed the below bills in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Health care, food and housing

  • NJ A3843 (20R) would direct the state’s Medicaid program and health benefit plans to cover coronavirus testing. Murphy took similar action last week, advising plans to cover coronavirus testing as well as emergency room, urgent care and office visits. Murphy’s guidance applies to any health plan available through the state’s individual, small and large group marketplaces.
  • NJ A3854 (20R) would allow licensed health care facilities to collect swabs during the period covered by Murphy’s public health state of emergency and grants Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli the ability to waive any staffing requirements for those facilities during that period.
  • NJ A3855 (20R) would require the state’s departments and agencies to put information about accessing food on public notifications relating to public health emergencies.
  • NJ A3856 (20R) would allow for a one-time, US$10 million appropriation to set up a fund to support health care facilities and residential facilities, including nursing homes and long-term care facilities, to support cleaning and sanitation efforts intended to stem the spread of the virus.
  • NJ A3857 (20R) would allocate US$15 million from the state Department of Agriculture for New Jersey food banks, long one of Coughlin’s core issues. Most of the funding, US$10.8 million, would go to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, with US$2.4 million going to the Food Bank of South Jersey and US$1.8 million to Fulfill Monmouth & Ocean.
  • NJ A3858 (20R) would unlock supplemental temporary assistance for those enrolled in WorkFirst NJ, the state’s welfare program. Under the bill, the state Department of Human Services commissioner would be able to issue additional payments during public health emergencies, should they consider it necessary.
  • NJ A3860 (20R) would allow out-of-state health care providers to offer care using telemedicine or telehealth platforms for coronavirus infections or COVID-19. The provider would also be able to bill for those services, of course, so long as the fees are “reasonable and consistent with the ordinary fees typically charged for that service.”

Business and employment

  • NJ A3841 (20R) would extend income tax filing and corporate business tax filing deadlines by 90 days, matching the extension made available by the federal government.
  • NJ A3845 (20R) would extend grants to small businesses impacted by the virus.
  • NJ A3846 (20R) would create a US$20 million fund to compensate workers for lost wages as a result of the pandemic.
  • NJ A3848 (20R) would prohibit employers from firing workers who need to take time off because of the coronavirus.
  • NJ A3861 (20R) would allow corporations to hold shareholders’ meetings remotely, rather than in person, during a state of emergency.
  • NJ A3862 (20R) would allow licensing boards to expedite their processes for certain individuals during states of emergency.
  • NJ A3864 (20R) would let notaries conduct business on a remote basis. 
  • NJ A3865 (20R) would allow grocery stores to limit returns of goods purchased during the current public health state of emergency.

Government

  • NJ A3095 (20R) would county clerks an extra week to mail ballots for the 2020 primary election. Murphy is still weighing whether to delay the primary , which is likely to feature high voter turnout as it’s a presidential election year.
  • NJ A3849 (20R) would provide some flexibility for custodians under the state’s open records law, extending the time frame by which they have to respond to requests during a state of emergency, public health emergency or state of local disaster emergency.
  • NJ A3850 (20R) would allow public bodies to conduct business remotely, or using electronic means, during a period of emergency.
  • NJ A3851 (20R) would extend the deadline by which local and county governments have to adopt their budgets during periods when New Jersey is in a state of emergency or public health emergency.

Schools 

  • NJ 3813 (20R) would grant schools the ability to use virtual instruction tools to meet the minimum 180-day threshold required by the state for funding.
  • NJ 3840 (20R) would require schools to provide school meals and meal vouchers to students entitled to free and reduced lunches for as long as facilities are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • NJ A3842 (20R) would create a new grant program, called “Bridging the Digital Divide in Schools,” to pay for laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots and other tech products for low-income families whose children are relying on virtual instruction.

New York

  • On Friday March 20, Governor Cuomo added to Executive order declaring that effecting March 22 at 8:00 p.m., 100 percent of non-essential employees in New York State must stay home. Only those deemed essential by regulations released by ESDC are allowed to stay operational.
  • In addition, the Governor suspended all mortgage payments, residential and commercial evictions, ATM fees, overdraft fees, State debt collections, and waived all interest and late payment fees for State Sales tax collections.
  • All courts in the State are closed until April 19 including criminal court, civil court, and traffic court.
  • The department of motor vehicle is closed until further notice and all registrations and license renewals are suspended without penalty.
  • All beauty salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors and nail salons are to close until further notice.
  • The State is looking to fund any manufacturer that will change their production to start making medical masks, gowns, and medical supplies in addition to buying the products at a premium.
  • The Governor issued an Executive Order on March 23 requiring every hospital in NYS to increase their beds by 50 percent.

Executive Orders

North Carolina

At least 336 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus. As of Monday, March 23, there are 11 people hospitalized with the virus. No deaths have been reported in the state.

Labs in North Carolina have tested more than 8,400 people. State Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said there are thousands more samples already taken and waiting to be tested. Governor Cooper stated that the federal government has not given North Carolina the testing supplies it should have given.

On Monday, March 23, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 120, which banned gatherings of more than 50 people and ordered some businesses to close by Wednesday as he tightened restrictions meant to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

The Governor ordered two types of businesses to close by 5 p.m. Wednesday: personal care and grooming businesses, and entertainment facilities without retail or dining. Examples of entertainment facilities in Cooper’s order:

  • Bingo parlors, including those run by charities
  • Bowling alleys
  • Gyms
  • Yoga studios
  • Martial arts facilities
  • Indoor trampoline facilities
  • Rock-climbing facilities
  • Health clubs
  • Indoor pools
  • Live performance venues
  • Movie theaters
  • Skating rinks
  • Spas
  • Sweepstakes lounges
  • Video game arcades.

Personal care and grooming businesses include, according to the order:

  • Barber shops
  • Beauty salons, including those doing waxing and hair removal
  • Hair salons
  • Nail salons and manicure and pedicure providers
  • Massage parlors
  • Tattoo parlors

In previous Executive Orders, Cooper had banned mass gatherings of more than 100 people, closed K-12 schools through at least March 30 and banned dine-in service at restaurants and bars.

Executive Order 120 also closed North Carolina public schools through May 15. The state’s 1.5 million public school students have been home since last week when Governor Cooper ordered all K-12 schools closed through March 30. The extended closure means North Carolina students will be at home for two months. Governor Cooper said that he is not ready to give up on reopening yet. Most North Carolina public schools have classes scheduled until June 12.

In the last week, 113,000 people have filed for unemployment with the North Carolina Department of Employment Security – nearly triple the number of unemployment claims that North Carolinians filed so far in 2020. Federal data shows the state had just 33,000 claims total in all of January, February and the first week of March. Accompanying the deluge of new claims have been numerous complaints about the inability of the unemployment office to handle such massive demand. The agency has already been upgrading its computer servers, so the website is less likely to crash under heavy traffic and the unemployment office is seeking to hire 50 new employees to help handle the workload.

North Carolina requires larger companies to notify the state of layoffs, through something called a WARN notice. The following show just some of the widespread impact of the last few days. BLT Steak, a high-end steakhouse with a location in Charlotte, laid off 57 people there. Sanderling Resort, a luxury hotel in the Outer Banks, laid off 81 people. New World Concepts, which owns several Triangle area restaurants, laid off 120 people. A chain of hotels and restaurants based in Greensboro, Quaintance-Weaver, cut 700 jobs. Nearly all of the last week’s 113,000 claims were due to COVID-19. When Governor Cooper ordered bars and restaurants to close except for takeout and delivery last week, he also issued an executive order aimed at helping people who lose their jobs due to coronavirus and the business slowdown in its wake. Under the order, people who aren’t laid off but have their hours cut might still be able to qualify for unemployment. And people don’t have to look for new jobs in order to keep receiving benefits, as it typically the case. 

North Carolina has among the nation’s lowest unemployment benefits. Only about 10 percent of people who apply for benefits actually qualify, and, of those who did qualify in 2019, the average person received US$264 a week for eight or nine weeks — a total of around US$2,300 over two months. It is possible that those averages will rise somewhat due to the Governor’s order relaxing restrictions. But Governor Cooper could not raise either the weekly payments or the amount of time people can receive them because that must be done by the state legislature.

Governor Cooper has taken aggressive steps to slow the COVID-19 virus, but has not issued a statewide “Shelter in Place” order requiring North Carolinians to stay at home except for essential tasks. At least two local governments issued “shelter in place” or “stay at home” orders Monday: Pitt County (to include unincorporated areas of the county) and the Town of Beaufort in Carteret County. Both orders are effective on Wednesday, March 25.

Executive Actions

Executive Order 119, March 20th facilitating critical motor vehicle operations and delegating authority to the Secretary of the Department Health and Human Services to waive regulations in order to expand access to childcare and support local health departments.

Executive Order 120, March 23rd additional limitations on mass gatherings, restrictions on venues and long-term care facilities and extension of school closure date.

Office of the State Fire Marshal, Dept. of Insurance building inspection departments are taking precautions limiting the number of people and the public from possible exposure to the coronavirus. These local inspectors are still performing requested inspections, but also perform the inspection remotely using guidance from DOI. Permit holders should continue to make sure the jobsites are clean and provide a safe environment for all workers.

Relevant Articles

South Carolina

Click here for the list of six executive orders to date under the emergency response to the virus.

Current Status: The latest official statement below from Governor Henry McMaster over the weekend is that South Carolina hopes to avoid a mandatory shelter in place order but it remains under consideration. They are reassessing every day.

“Team South Carolina is constantly reviewing the COVID-19 situation, and all plans and contingencies to contain this virus remain on the table,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “That includes “shelter-in-place,” a drastic action that other states with larger population centers have taken. It is my hope that this will not be necessary here, and I believe it to be much less likely, as long as South Carolinians follow official instructions and take recommended precautions now.”

  • South Carolina Manufacturing: Some large manufacturing plants including Volvo, Mercedes and Bridgestone Tire have suspended operations voluntarily but most manufacturers in South Carolina are still operating. Click here for additional details. 
  • General Assembly: The South Carolina House is closed for at least two weeks and then at the call of the Speaker. The Senate is closed this week but no announcements beyond this week.

Other state actions under the Governor’s Emergency Declaration

  • Schools Closed: The Governor announced on March 15 that all South Carolina schools and universities are closed through the end of March but no announcement has been made beyond that. 
  • Bars and Restaurants are closed statewide with the exception of carryout service
  • The Governor restricted state offices and agencies to essential personnel only but state offices are not closed
  • South Carolina Department of Revenue says Tax Returns and Payment due date delayed to July. Click here for details. 
  • South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce has expedited the process for unemployment claims. Click here for details.

Gov. Henry McMaster Urges Donations, Extends Income Tax Deadline, Allows Curbside Sale of Beer and Wine by Restaurants 
Report: Over Half of State Employees Working from Home

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster took additional actions today to enhance the state’s response to COVID-19’s continued impact to South Carolina.

“Team South Carolina is constantly reviewing the COVID-19 situation, and all plans and contingencies to contain this virus remain on the table,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “That includes “shelter-in-place,” a drastic action that other states with larger population centers have taken. It is my hope that this will not be necessary here, and I believe it to be much less likely, as long as South Carolinians follow official instructions and take recommended precautions now.”

The governor has asked construction contractors and others in the skilled trade industry to donate whatever personal protective equipment they can spare to healthcare professionals and state agencies in the greatest need, including respirator masks commonly used in construction settings. Those willing to make donations can contact Mary Louise Resch of Habitat for Humanity for logistical coordination via email at mlresch@habitatsc.org

The governor has also issued Executive Order 2020-12, which directs the Department of Revenue to waive additional regulations in order to allow restaurants to include sealed containers of beer and wine for curbside pickup or “to-go” orders only. This waiver does not authorize or apply to open containers or delivery services. 

The governor also directed the Department of Revenue to conform the state’s income tax deadline to July 15, which is the new federal income tax deadline. Other state taxes will remain delayed until June 1, as previously ordered.

On Thursday, Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-11, to ensure that critical state government services remained available to the public and to prevent potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

As of Friday afternoon, the Department of Administration reports that for 52 of 74 state agencies there were 13,902 state employees working from home or taking leave. There were 11,411 state employees at work. As remaining agencies report to the Department, these numbers will be updated.

Tennessee

The total number of positive cases in the state stands at 228 with the majority in Nashville (101) and adjoining Williamson County (35).

Legislative Proceedings

At 11:30 p.m. local time Thursday night, the House and Senate recessed after adopting a significantly-revised, emergency budget. In a matter of days, close to US$1 billion was cut from the Administration’s original budget as a result of the new economic outlook. They also approved emergency legislation Thursday to drop state testing requirements and waive the mandated 180 days of classroom instruction. The legislature plans to reconvene on June 1 to complete its business for the year.

Health Response

Yesterday, Gov. Lee signed Executive Order 15 which includes further deregulation of hospital beds to free up capacity, further deregulation of scope of practice, allowing more health care professionals to treat patients, and expanding the number of providers who are eligible to provide telehealth services by loosening regulations around technology and geographic area and urges insurers to provide coverage for COVID-19.

On Thursday, Tennessee heath officials have indicated there are 758 adult and 120 pediatric ventilators in the state — and have ordered 570 additional ventilators. Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey did caution that the 570 new machines wouldn’t be available for immediate use. That figure, she estimated, would be closer to 80 to 150 on-hand by next week.

Economic Response

Executive Order 15 also includes waiving one-week waiting periods to receive unemployment benefits following loss of employment, adding individuals who leave work as a result of a doctor’s order to qualify for unemployment benefits, providing DHS full discretion to waive child care licensure requirements, and temporarily removing childcare restrictions including provisions about capacity, grouping, and certain licensure regulations.

As a result of a large increase in the number of unemployment claims, the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development will be tripling its staff to process those claims.

Cities’ Response

Metro Nashville has ordered all restaurants to close their dining areas. The Grand Ole Opry will proceed without a live audience and the Country Music Hall of Fame has been closed through the end of the month. The Mayor of Memphis has declared a civil emergency, ordering restaurants, bars and gyms to close. Restaurants can continue serving to-go food orders. Memphis officials have also cancelled food distribution to students as a result of a nutrition services staff member testing positive for COVID-19. No curfew has been implemented in either Memphis or Nashville. Memphis Metro has 30 confirmed cases of COVID-19 after having reported only 10 just yesterday.

Texas

Summary of Abbott COVID-19 Press Conference, which occurred at 3 p.m., Sunday March 22, 2020:

As of Sunday afternoon, according Department of State Health Services (DSHS), 334 Texans have been tested positive for COVID-19 in 43 of Texas’ 254 counties. There have been six deaths. 8700 Texans have been tested (up from 6400 as of Saturday) with fewer than 10 percent of those tested testing positive. Johns Hopkins has different numbers (566 cases and six deaths), which seem to be based on presumptive positives rather than actual positives.

Gov. Abbott issues two new executive orders on Sunday, building on his March 17 gatherings/business and schools closure order. 

The new executive order from Sunday expands hospital bed capacity as the state responds to the COVID-19 virus, by directing all licensed health care professionals and facilities to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately, medically necessary. The Governor also suspended certain regulations as requested by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to allow for increased occupancy of hospital rooms — meaning hospitals will be able to treat more than one patient in a patient room, thus increasing their ability to care for the growing number of COVID-19 patients. 

The newest Abbott Executive order can be seen here.

Gov. Abbott also announced the creation of state strike force for acquiring needed supplies. Task force members will include:

Name (current employer) Role
Keith Meyers (Dell, Chief of Procurement) PROCUREMENT
Clint Harp (LCRA VP) PROCUREMENT
Dr. John Zerwas (UT VICE CHANCELLOR)  HEATH CARE BEDS CAPACITY AND STAFFING
Elaine Mendoza (TAMU REGENT) DAY CARE FOR HEALTH CARE WORKERS

Governor is NOT yet changing his March 19 executive order and NOT yet issuing a shelter in place order.

He noted that 200+ Texas counties have no COVID-19 cases. Local units of government may issue stricter orders that Gov’s x.o. Dallas County has already done so, issuing a local shelter in place ordinance. Abbott’s orders may change in the future, but he wants the March 19 order to continue to take effect. 

Abbott’s March 19 executive order remains in place, which shuttered bars, restaurants and gyms; closed schools; curtailed visitors to nursing homes and long-term care facilities; and discouraged gatherings of more than 10 people to help stem transmission of the corona virus until at least April 3, 2020. The March 19 order is here.

On March 19, Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order shuttering bars, restaurants and gyms; closing schools; curtailing visitors to nursing homes and long-term care facilities; and discouraging gatherings of more than 10 people to help stem transmission of the corona virus until at least April 3, 2020. 

At a Thursday Capitol news conference with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Texas public health and emergency management leaders, Abbott said, “I am issuing an executive order authorized by Chapter 418. This executive order adopts for Texas the standards that have been set out by the president and by the CDC. It provides the following:

Number 1: Every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of more than ten.

Number 2: People shall avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts, or visiting gyms. Simply put, there will be no dining it at bars and restaurants and gyms will be closed. However, and this is very important, the use of drive-thru, pickup or delivery options is allowed and, in fact, highly encouraged, through the limited duration of this executive order.

Number 3: People shall not visit nursing homes or retirement centers or long-term care facilities, unless it is to provide critical assistance.

And Number 4: All schools in the state of Texas will be temporarily closed, but this does not mean education stops. The state superintendent should continue to work with the Texas Education Agency to continue on-line or additional educational options.

This order is effective at midnight tomorrow, and continues through midnight, April the 3rd.It may be extended after that, depending on the status of COVID-19 in Texas and the recommendation of the CDC.

Abbott noted that he is not issuing a shelter in place order. The order does not prohibit people from doing things like going to the grocery store or gas station or to parks or banks. All critical infrastructure will remain open and operational. Domestic travel will be unrestricted. Government entities and businesses will continue to provide essential services. Offices and workplaces may remain open, but should only require essential employees to report to the place work and should, where feasible, allow and encourage employees work from home, or other remote sites.

Texas has accelerated the unemployment process so people can get their unemployment benefits faster.

Abbott’s Executive Order states:

Governor Abbott Issues Executive Orders To Mitigate Spread Of COVID-19 In Texas

03/19/2020 03:51 PM CDT

The four orders serve to limit public gatherings and help reduce exposure for people across the state.

WHEREAS, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been recognized globally as a contagious respiratory virus; and

WHEREAS, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, issued a disaster proclamation on March 13, 2020, certifying that COVID-19 poses an imminent threat of disaster for all counties in the state of Texas; and

WHEREAS, COVID-19 continues to spread and to pose an increasing, imminent threat of disaster throughout Texas; and

WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised that person-to-person contact heightens the risk of COVID-19 transmission; and

WHEREAS, the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America, as promulgated by President Donald J. Trump and the CDC on March 16, 2020, call upon Americans to slow the spread of COVID-19 by avoiding social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people, using drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options at restaurants and bars, and avoiding visitation at nursing homes, among other steps; and

WHEREAS, the Texas Department of State Health Services has now determined that, as of March 19, 2020, COVID-19 represents a public health disaster within the meaning of Chapter 81 of the Texas Health and Safety Code; and

WHEREAS, under the Texas Disaster Act of 1975, “[t]he governor is responsible for meeting . . . the dangers to the state and people presented by disasters” (Section 418.001 of the Texas Government Code), and the legislature has given the governor broad authority to fulfill that responsibility.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas, do hereby order the following on a statewide basis effective 11:59 p.m. on March 20, 2020, and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on April 3, 2020, subject to extension thereafter based on the status of COVID-19 in Texas and the recommendations of the CDC:

Order No. 1 – In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
Order No. 2 – In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors; provided, however, that the use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options is allowed and highly encouraged throughout the limited duration of this executive order.
Order No. 3 – In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
Order No. 4 – In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, schools shall temporarily close.

This, executive order does not prohibit people from visiting a variety of places, including grocery stores, gas stations, parks, and banks, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. This executive order does not mandate sheltering in place. All critical infrastructure will remain operational, domestic travel will remain unrestricted, and government entities and businesses will continue providing essential services. For offices and workplaces that remain open, employees should practice good hygiene and, where feasible, work from home in order to achieve optimum isolation from COVID-19. The more that people reduce their public contact, the sooner COVID-19 will be contained and the sooner this executive order will expire.

This executive order supersedes all previous orders on this matter that are in conflict or inconsistent with its terms, and this order shall remain in effect and in full force until 11:59 p.m. on April 3, 2020, subject to being extended, modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by me or by a succeeding governor.

Given under my hand this the 19th day of March, 2020.
Governor Greg Abbott

View the executive orders

Virginia

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered all K-12 schools closed for the rest of the academic year and mandated indoor recreation and entertainment businesses close for 30 days as part of a sweeping new effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the commonwealth.

The measures, announced Monday, March 23, as part of Executive Order No. 53, build upon previous efforts to ban public gatherings of 10 or more people, shut down Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles offices and suspend visitation at state correctional facilities. Restaurants, farmer’s markets, wineries and breweries were ordered to close to the public, effective at the end of Tuesday, March 24, but may continue to serve patrons via take-out or delivery, according to the executive order.

As of Monday, March 23, the state Department of Health reported 254 cases of COVID-19, with 38 resulting in hospitalization and six deaths. The state confirmed 3,697 had been tested.

Public K-12 schools have been closed since March 16, and nearly every college and university in Virginia has sent students home, closed campus buildings and transitioned to online learning for the rest of the spring semester. Spring sports seasons and commencement exercises have been canceled. Economic impacts associated with closures and cancellations are just beginning to be calculated but in some instances have been described as catastrophic.

Last week, Northam announced an expansion of eligibility for unemployment benefits and opened access to federal disaster loans for small businesses.

The governor’s administration also released a FAQ guide regarding Executive Order No. 53 but said additional guidance would be forthcoming.

West Virginia

Governor Justice just ordered a stay home order for West Virginia at 1:30 p.m. All non-essential businesses are scheduled to close at 8 p.m. tomorrow.

For additional information click here.

Wisconsin

Governor Tony Evers just released Emergency Order #12 to institute a “Safer At Home” policy.

The order is effective at 8:00 AM, Wednesday, March 25 and will remain in effect until 8:00 AM Friday, April 24, or until a superseding order is issued.

The order can be found here.

Specific to essential business operations, excerpted below, the Order says the following:

Essential Businesses and Operations. All entities described in this section shall meet Social Distancing Requirements between all individuals on the premises to the extent possible. Essential Businesses and Operations shall, to the greatest extent possible, use technology to avoid meeting in person, including virtual meetings, teleconference, and remote work (i.e., work from home). For the purposes of this Order, Essential Businesses and Operations means Healthcare and Public Health Operations, Human Services Operations, Essential Infrastructure, and Essential Governmental Functions, and the following:

  • CISA List. Any business or worker identified in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response, updated March 23, 2020, and any subsequent versions of this Memorandum.
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine. Grocery stores, bakeries, pharmacies, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks and food pantries, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of groceries, canned food, dry goods, frozen foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, poultry, prepared food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). Such establishments shall:
    • Close all seating intended for consuming food.
    • Cease any self-service operations of salad bars, beverage stations, and buffets.
    • Except for grocery stores, prohibit customers from self- dispensing all unpackaged food.
    • Abide by Social Distancing Requirements.

      This section should not be interpreted to provide an exemption for businesses engaged in the sale of food or beverage ancillary to its primary purpose, such as those businesses required to close under Section 4 who also may engage in some food or beverage sales.
  • Food and beverage production, transport, and agriculture. Food and beverage manufacturing, production, processing, transportation, and cultivation; farming, livestock, fishing, baking, and other production agriculture, including cultivation, marketing, production, and distribution of animals and goods for consumption; businesses that provide food, shelter, and other necessities of life for animals, including animal shelters, boarding, rescues, kennels, and adopting facilities; farm and agriculture equipment, supplies, and repair services.
  • Restaurants. Restaurants shall close, except as follows:
    • Restaurants may remain open for food take-out or delivery service only.
    • Alcohol sales must comply with section 13.e. below.
    • Customers may enter the above establishments only for the purpose of ordering, pick up, and paying for food or beverage or both.
    • No seating may be provided.
    • Food and drink may not be consumed on premises, either indoors or outdoors.
    • Establishments shall meet Social Distancing Requirements between all individuals on the premises to the extent possible.
    • Cease any self-service operations of salad bars, beverage stations, and buffets.
    • Customers are prohibited from self-dispensing any unpackaged food or beverage.
  • Bars. This includes breweries, brewpubs, wineries, distilleries, and alcohol beverage retailers. Such establishments shall close, except as follows:
    • Carryout sales of alcohol beverages and food are allowed, if permitted by state law and municipal ordinance.
    • Delivery of alcohol beverages to retail customers is prohibited.
    • Wineries holding direct wine shippers’ permits may make deliveries of wine in accordance with their permit.
    • Customers may enter the above establishments only for the purpose of ordering, pick up, and paying for food or beverage or both.
    • No seating may be provided.
    • Food and drink may not be consumed on premises, either indoors or outdoors.
    • Establishments shall meet Social Distancing Requirements between all individuals on the premises to the extent possible.
    • Self-service operations of salad bars, beverage stations, and buffets are prohibited.
    • Customers are prohibited from self-dispensing any unpackaged food or beverage.
  • Child care settings. Secretary-designee Andrea Palm’s Emergency Order #6 remains in effect, with the following amendments:
    • Child care settings shall prioritize care for families as follows:
      • Tier 1: employees, contractors, and other support staff working in health care;
      • Tier 2: employees, contractors, and other staff in vital areas including but not limited to military; long term care; residential care; pharmacies; child care; child welfare; government operations; public safety and critical infrastructure such as sanitation, transportation, utilities, telecommunications; grocery and food services; supply chain operations; and other sectors as determined by the Secretary of the Department of Children and Families.
    • Child care settings include all licensed and certified child care providers who may provide care for any age or ages of children up to 13 years of age, unless specially licensed for children with disabilities up to 19 years of age.
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services. Businesses and religious and secular nonprofit organizations, including prevocational group supportive employment, food banks and food pantries, when providing food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, individuals who need assistance as a result of this public health emergency, and people with disabilities.
  • Weddings, funerals, and religious entities. Religious facilities, entities, groups, and gatherings, and weddings and funerals, except that any gathering shall include fewer than 10 people in a room or confined space at a time and individuals shall adhere to Social Distancing Requirements as much as possible.
  • Funeral establishments. Funeral establishments, as defined in Wis. Stat. § 445.01(6), except that any gathering shall include fewer than 10 people in a room or confined space at a time and individuals shall adhere to Social Distancing Requirements as much as possible.
  • Media. Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services.
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation. Gas stations; auto and motorcycle supply, repair and sales; boat supply, repair, and sales; and bicycle supply, repair, and sales.
  • Financial institutions and services. Banks, credit unions, and other depository or lending institutions; licensed financial service providers; insurance services; personnel necessary to perform essential functions at broker dealers and investment advisor offices.
  • Hardware and supplies stores. Hardware stores and businesses that sell electrical, plumbing, heating, and construction material.
  • Critical trades. Building and Construction Tradesmen and Tradeswomen, and other trades including but not limited to plumbers, electricians, carpenters, laborers, sheet metal, iron workers, masonry, pipe trades, fabricators, finishers, exterminators, pesticide application, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services, forestry and arborists, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, and Essential Businesses and Operations.
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services. Post offices and other businesses that provide shipping and delivery services, and businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, beverages, goods or services to end users or through commercial channels.
  • Laundry services. Laundromats, dry cleaners, industrial laundry services, and laundry service providers.
  • Supplies to work from home. Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply products needed for people to work from home.
  • Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations and Essential Governmental Functions. Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply other Essential Businesses and Operations and Essential Governmental Functions with the support or supplies necessary to operate, including computers; audio and video electronics; household appliances; IT and telecommunication equipment; hardware; paint; flat glass; electrical, plumbing, and heating materials; construction materials and equipment; sanitary equipment; personal hygiene products; food, food additives, ingredients, and components; medical and orthopedic equipment; firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for purposes of safety and security; optics and photography equipment; diagnostic; food and beverages; chemicals; paper and paper products; soaps and detergents.
  • Transportation. Airlines, taxis, transportation network providers (such as Uber and Lyft), vehicle rental services, paratransit, and other private, public, and commercial transportation and logistics providers necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Order.
  • Home-based care and services. Home-based care for seniors, adults, children, and/or people with disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness, including caregivers or nannies who may travel to the child’s home to provide care, and other in-home services including meal delivery.
  • Professional services. Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, insurance services, real estate services (including appraisal, home inspection, and title services). These services shall, to the greatest extent possible, use technology to avoid meeting in person, including virtual meetings, teleconference, and remote work (i.e., work from home).
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries. Manufacturing companies, distributors, and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services in and for industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, chemicals and sanitation, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications, and products used by other Essential Governmental Functions and Essential Businesses and Operations.
  • Critical labor union functions. Essential activities include the administration of health and welfare funds and personnel checking on the well-being and safety of members providing services in Essential Business and Operations, provided the checks are done by telephone or remotely where possible.
  • Hotels and motels. Hotels and motels, except that such establishments shall:
    • Comply with requirements of 12.b, 12.d. and 12.e.
    • Close swimming pools, hot tubs, and exercise facilities.
    • Prohibit guests from congregating in lobbies or other common areas, including providing adequate space to adhere to Social Distancing Requirements while queuing for front desk services.
  • Higher educational institutions. Higher educational institutions, for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions as determined by the institution.
  • WEDC designated businesses. In the exceptional circumstance that a business is not listed in this Order as an Essential Business or Operations but believes that it should be included in that designation, the business should consult the information page on the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) web site, here: www.wedc.org/essentialbusiness. If a business still believes that it does not fall within the meaning of Essential Businesses and Operations, it may apply to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) using the provided form requesting designation as such.

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