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BPAA State Policy Update - June 12, 2020

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State COVID-19 and Small Business Update

 

  • Bloomberg Government reportsStates on Alert as Virus Cases Rise: An uptick in cases of Covid-19 in some states is putting governors back on high alert, as they wrangle over whether to hold in place crippling shutdown orders or to reopen and risk the threat to constituents’ health. That struggle is poised to be amplified on the campaign trail leading up to November, as Republicans and President Donald Trump try to build up their messaging around economic revival.
    • Surging Cases Thrust States Back to Life-Livelihood Decisions: As COVID-19 cases soar in states such as Arizona, Texas, and Oregon, governors are again in the crucible, facing wrenching choices about how to balance public health and economic recovery. The leaders have already begun taking divergent approaches, inflaming conflicts within states as well as with neighbors. While some have paused to reassess the wisdom of allowing more movement and commerce, many are plunging ahead despite daunting figures like Florida’s 2.8% increase in reported cases today, its largest daily jump since May 1.
    • The pressure on the governors reflects the Trump administration’s approach to the coronavirus, providing largely voluntary guidance and leaving states to tailor strategy to local conditions. That’s produced a patchwork of policies and cleared the way to reopenings.
    • Indeed, Trump himself has said that he plans to continue holding in-person campaign events, which typically draw in thousands of supporters, over fears that these large gatherings stoke in terms of coronavirus transmission. The president has one event scheduled for June 19 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. On its online form, the Trump campaign asks prospective attendees to acknowledge the threats of virus exposure and agree not to hold the campaign liable.
    • White House economic aide Larry Kudlow said today that there is no second wave of coronavirus cases, and in several states with rising infection counts, governors have cited extenuating factors like increased testing, which simply identifies more cases. He said 97% to 100% of small businesses will open up next month.

 

  • Can’t Shut Down Again: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. can’t afford to close down the economy again—even if there’s a second wave of coronavirus cases. “We’ve learned that if you shut down the economy, you’re gonna create more damage—medical problems that get put on hold,” Mnuchin said yesterday on CNBC.  The outcome for reopening cities is a key indicator lawmakers and administration officials are watching as they consider the next phase of virus relief.  Saleha Mohsin has more.

 

  • New York -- Governor Cuomo Announces Five Regions Will Enter Phase Three of Reopening Today Global Public Health Experts Have Cleared Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier to Enter Phase Three. State is Allowing Localities to Open Public Pools and Playgrounds at their Discretion Beginning Today. Confirms 736 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 380,892; New Cases in 42 Counties.
    • Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that five regions—Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier - will enter phase three of reopening tomorrow, June 12th.

 

  • New Jersey – N.J. coronavirus stay-at-home order lifted by Murphy as state reopening moves forward Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday he’s formally lifting the stay-at-home order he installed in New Jersey nearly three months ago to slow the spread of the coronavirus as the state nears Stage 2 of its multiphase reopening plan, with outdoor dining resuming and nonessential retail set to allow customers inside again next week. Though the Garden State has the second-most COVID-19 deaths and cases among American states, Murphy has cited continued progress, with fewer numbers of newly infected people and deaths in recent weeks, as the reason to lift his unprecedented restrictions. He issued the stay-at-home order March 21 as the outbreak grew.At least 12,303 New Jerseyans have died and more than 164,700 have been infected since the first COVID-19 case was reported in the state on March 4.
    • Among the requirements under the stay-at-home order was that businesses should permit employees to work from home if they have the ability to work remotely. Now that the order is lifted, Murphy said he hopes businesses will continue to let people work from home. The governor also he’s increasing the limits on indoor at outdoor gatherings in New Jersey.
    • The executive order that raises the indoor limits from 10 to 50 people or 25% of a building’s capacity — whichever number is lower, effective immediately, Murphy said. People must also wear face coverings and stand six feet apart, he said.
    • The order affects indoor gatherings broadly, but the governor specifically acknowledged that houses of worship may reopen to indoor services at those limits.
    • The order also raises the number of people allowed at outdoor gatherings from 25 to 100 effective immediately — with “an exception explicitly allowing outdoor gatherings of more than 100 persons for First Amendment-protected outdoor activities," such as protests and religious events. Read the full article at New Jersey

 

  • Texas reports two consecutive days of record coronavirus hospitalizations weeks after reopening Texas has reported two consecutive days of record-breaking Covid-19 hospitalizations as the state continues to open businesses and resume activities that were temporarily shuttered due to the coronavirus. There are currently 2,056 patients sickened with Covid-19 in hospitals across the state as of early Tuesday afternoon, up from a record 1,935 patients Monday, according to updated data from the Texas Department of State Health Services.  Texas was among the first states to relax its statewide stay-at-home order, allowing it to expire April 30 and some businesses to resume operations May 1. Read the full article at CNBC

 

  • Florida sees biggest number of coronavirus cases in one day since outbreak began Florida on Thursday broke its record for the highest number of coronavirus cases reported in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic. The Sunshine’s State department of health reported 1,698 new COVID-19 infections — almost 20 percent higher than the previous daily high of 1,419 cases recorded last Thursday.
    • There are now at least 69,069 reported cases and 2,848 deaths tied to the outbreak in Florida, according to the latest numbers released Thursday. Gov. Ron DeSantis was asked whether he would consider rolling back reopening plans over the increase in cases — and said the spike was tied to an increase in testing, according to Local 10 News in Tallahassee.
    • Florida reports having completed over 1.3 million COVID-19 tests, with 5.3 percent coming back positive, according to the outlet. Most of the state was allowed to begin lifting measures aimed at curbing the outbreak beginning on May 4th. The loosened restrictions allowed people to flock to the beach, some of which were packed over Memorial Day weekend.
    • Some health experts fear the reopenings and, later, the protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, might lead to a surge in infections. Other states, including Texas and Arizona, have also been struck with a second wave of cases weeks after reopening. Read the full article at Market Watch

 

  • Missouri to fully reopen, enter Phase 2 of recovery plan on June 16 Missouri will fully reopen and enter Phase 2 of its “Show Me Strong Recovery” plan on Tuesday, June 16, Gov. Parson announced Thursday. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson conducts his daily coronavirus briefing from the doorway of his office inside the state Capitol Monday, April 27, 2020, in Jefferson City, Mo. Parson announced he will lift some restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 and allow the reopening of some businesses and other activities starting on May 4. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson). As Missouri enters Phase 2, there will be no statewide health order. All statewide restrictions will be lifted, though local officials will still have the authority to put further rules, regulations, or ordinances in place.
    • Phase 1 is set to expire June 15. “It is truly incredible to think about how far Missouri has come since March. At that time, no one knew what to expect. There was a lot of uncertainty, worry, and concern,” Gov. Parson said. “Here we are today, just over 90 days since our first COVID-19 case in Missouri, and I am proud to say we have overcome all of these challenges and more than met our four pillars to reopen.”
    • While Missouri will fully reopen on June 16, Gov. Parson emphasized the importance of social distancing and proper hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “We must remember that COVID-19 is not gone,” Gov.Parson said. “It is still extremely important for everyone to continue social distancing. Be proactive. Avoid large, congested crowds, and if you can’t social distance, take extra precautions to protect yourself and those around you.” Read more here.

 

  • Illinois – When Could Phase 4 of Illinois Reopening Plan Begin: All regions of the state are currently in Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan to reopen amidst the coronavirus pandemic. According to stipulations set and current metrics, Phase 4 could start as soon as late June. Gov. JB Pritzker has said the state will have to wait 28 days from the start of Phase 3 to move forward to the next phase. That means the earliest regions could move into Phase 4 would be June 26.
    • NBC Chicago reports the following criteria was met for phase three to begin:
      • At or under a 20 percent positivity rate and increasing no more than 10 percentage points over a 14-day period
      • No overall increase in hospital admissions for COVID-19-like illness for 28 days
      • Available surge capacity of at least 14 percent of ICU beds, medical and surgical beds, and ventilators
  • The same metrics will be used to determine when regions can move from Phase 3 to Phase 4. There must also be improvements in making testing available in all regions regardless of symptoms or risk factors. Read more here.
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