May 19, 2020

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Govs On Deck, Latest News

Govs On Deck – May 19, 2020

Good Tuesday afternoon and welcome to today’s edition of “Govs on Deck.” We’re still here, we’re still daily, and we hope you are all still safe and healthy.

Questions or suggestions? Send me a note at amestoy@dga.net. You can find us all on Twitter too – @A_Tall_Turner@CEAmestoy@JerusalemDemsas, and @andersonkayjay.

We want this to be helpful, so let me know what other info/what other formats you’d like to see for these updates.

Dem Govs Get It Done:

NOTE: This is an overview of recent actions, not a comprehensive roundup of everything our incredible governors are doing to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Want more examples? Send me an email and I can help you track down answers.

Regional efforts:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT and RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced their intention to align the reopening of hair salons and barbershops in their respective states in early June.

Federal funding:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS, in collaboration with legislative leadership, announced the allocation of $1.674 billion in federal funds from the CARES Act that will immediately support the state’s response to the COVID-19 crisis as well as key investments needed for economic recovery. 

Reopening efforts:

  • CALIFORNIA’s Department of Health announced a new attestation opportunity for counties to move through Stage 2, opening additional sectors of their economy at their own pace. To qualify, counties must attest that hospitalization and test positivity rates are stable or declining; that they have a significant level of preparedness with testing, contact tracing, PPE and hospital surge; and that they have adequate plans related to county-wide containment. The Department also announced that starting today some sectors of the economy statewide can begin reopening with modifications, including office spaces and counseling services in places of worship, curbside libraries and drive-in movie theaters.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order setting the state up for its Reopening Phase 1 on May 20th, including repealing several previously enacted executive orders and modifying certain statutes and regulations to permit the enforcement of sector rules as certain businesses reopen.
  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY issued updated guidance for churches and other houses of worship in Delaware. The guidance encourages virtual services but expands the ability for churches and other houses of worship to conduct in-person services with restrictions.
  • HAWAII Gov. David IGE unveiled the re-opening and recovery plan for the state. According to the plan – the state will start to gradually re-open medium-risk businesses and operations beginning in June – assuming the state’s COVID-19 activity remains manageable. The re-opening of high-risk businesses and operations will eventually follow, as long as Hawaii’s disease activity continues to remain manageable.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order allowing for the reopening of retail businesses, office work that cannot be done remotely, and restaurants and bars with limited seating in the Upper Peninsula and Traverse City regions. The partial reopening will take effect on Friday, May 22nd.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY unveiled a multi-stage approach to execute a responsible and strategic economic restart to put New Jersey on the road back to recovery. The multi-stage blueprint, guided by the Governor’s Restart and Recovery Commission and complementary Advisory Councils, plans for a methodical and strategic reopening of businesses and activities based on the level of disease transmission risk and essential classification.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew. CUOMO announced the state is bringing in international experts to help advise the state’s reopening plan. Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and Dr. Samir Bhatt, Senior Lecturer at Imperial College London will work with the state to provide technical advice and analyze data/metrics throughout the state’s reopening process and help track the state’s progress.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that Western New York has met all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state’s regional phased reopening plan starting today. 
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that East Matunuck State Beach and Scarborough State Beach will reopen on Memorial Day, May 25th, in a limited capacity. 

Public gatherings:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order extending the prohibition of large gatherings through June 20th.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that the state is targeting allowing in-person faith services the weekend of May 30th. Guidelines will be available on ReopeningRI.com later this week. 
  • RHODE ISLAND’s Department of Environmental Management announces that all Rhode Island state parks, including Rocky Point State Park and Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick, are now open to visitors.

Elections:

  • MICHIGAN’s Secretary of State announced that all of Michigan’s 7.7 million registered voters will be mailed absentee ballot applications so they can take part in elections in August and November without the risk of in-person voting if they choose to do so.

Schools:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order prohibiting summer school programs from starting prior to July 6th and requiring the commissioner of the Department of Education to issue guidance on the limited operation of summer school programs that are permitted to engage in-person classes after that date.
  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY and the Secretary of Education announced a public strategy to plan for the safe reopening of Delaware school buildings. Three COVID-19 School Reopening Working Groups will advise the Delaware Department of Education, Delaware school districts, and charter schools on ways to safely and effectively reopen Delaware school buildings.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced a diverse set of education stakeholders participating in the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Education Work Group to help chart a path forward for determining how schools can safely reopen later this year. The group is comprised of representatives from Virginia’s public and private early childhood, K-12, and higher education systems, and includes teachers, superintendents, parents, college presidents, state agency personnel, special education advocates, museum directors, and student perspectives. 

Business operations:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that the state has released an online guide to help small businesses comply with COVID-19 safety guidance and manage the broader reopening process. The Small Business Reopening Resource Guide includes information on financial needs, employee training and support, physical layout, and a geographic list of suppliers.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order allowing certain outdoor activities at recreational businesses, including archery ranges, batting cages, golf driving ranges, horseback riding, shooting ranges, and tennis clubs as well as community gardens to open with required social distancing measures in place. The order takes effect on Friday, May 22nd.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued guidance for resuming pet grooming operations in Phase 2.

Health care:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT released the guidance document providing best practices for dentist offices that are considering expanding their operations beyond emergency care in the coming days. The guidance was developed through a collaborative working group of dentists, hygienists, and assistants organized by his administration. 
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced the state’s plan for all elective procedures to resume. Each medical or dental practice will assess their own readiness and their communities’ COVID-19 activity to determine whether, and to what degree, they will reopen.

Testing and tracing:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced that Colorado has reached a critical goal, and now has the supplies and capacity to test anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, any individual who is employed as a health care worker, nursing home worker or first responder, and any essential worker who directly interacts with the public while working, per state or employer guidelines.
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced the Illinois Contact Tracing Collaborative, a locally-driven approach to scale up contact tracing in Illinois.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced the appointment of Mark Carter as executive adviser leading the contact tracing efforts in the Office of the Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced that the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has eliminated its testing prioritization system and is now allowing health care providers in Maine to seek testing for anyone they suspect of having COVID-19.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced new efforts to bring more tests to nursing home facilities to help these facilities meet new guidelines mandating that all nursing homes and adult care facilities test all personnel for COVID-19 two times per week. The state is connecting nursing home facilities with labs to get more tests to these facilities, and so far the labs have reserved at least 35,000 tests per day just for this purpose. The state is also sending 320,000 test kits to nursing homes statewide this week.

PPE/medical supplies:

  • MAINE’s Emergency Management Agency is providing 1900 cloth face coverings to the Maine Association of Broadcasters for distribution to the state’s broadcast media outlets.
  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK announced that Montana received a shipment of 500,000 N95 masks from FEMA to the state’s warehouse. The N95 masks, which are in high demand, are for health care workers only. 

Family support:

  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced that Louisiana has received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help feed as many as 611,430 students during the coronavirus pandemic. Under the new Pandemic EBT program, families of children who normally receive free or reduced-price meals at school may get financial assistance to replace those meals.

Child care:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order prohibiting day camps that were not already operating as of May 5th from beginning operations for the season until June 22nd, enhancing health procedures for all day camps, and prohibiting the operation of resident camps for the duration of the civil preparedness and public health emergency.

Worker support:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order to ensure robust protections for Michigan workers as she continues to re-engage parts of the economy. This executive order requires all businesses to adhere to strict safety guidelines to protect their workers, their patrons, and their communities from infection.

Homeowner/renter support:

  • HAWAII Gov. David IGE signed an emergency proclamation extending the eviction moratorium that prevents evictions from residential dwellings for failure to pay rent through June 30th. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that many older homeowners, renters and people with disabilities will receive early rebates through the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. Rebates are typically issued starting July 1, but the governor and treasurer are issuing the rebates starting tomorrow to approved applicants. 

Task forces/relief funds:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS and the Colorado COVID Relief Fund announced the third round of grants given to Colorado organizations working with those who have been impacted by the coronavirus. Through the three rounds of funding, 505 organizations have received grants for a total of $11.1 million. 
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that members of the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group’s community committee will hold a roundtable discussion today at 2:00 PM.
  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK announced that Caleb Cage has been appointed to serve as the State of Nevada COVID-19 Response Director. Cage, the former head of the State Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and most recently the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Workforce Development and Community Colleges at the Nevada System of Higher Education, will help direct and coordinate the statewide response to COVID-19 through the end of December from the Office of Governor.

Inter-state travel:

  • HAWAII Gov. David IGE signed an emergency proclamation extending the 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving in the state, as well as for inter-island travelers through June 30th.

Other efforts:

  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS and U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden convened a Zoom conference call to discuss the State’s response to COVID-19 and the Congressional Delegation’s work in Congress to support the State’s efforts.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO encouraged major sports teams to plan reopening without fans and offered the state’s help on this effort.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF stressed the critical roles the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and PA National Guard play in coordinating the state’s preparedness and response to COVID-19.

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!