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Govs On Deck – May 21, 2020

Govs on Deck

Good Thursday 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 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.
Programming update: Govs on Deck Daily will be on hiatus until Tuesday (May 26th). Wishing everyone a lovely, much-needed holiday weekend.
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.
Reopening efforts:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced updates to Phase 3 of the state’s Restore Illinois plan. Bars and restaurants can open for outdoor seating, and all state parks can reopen. In the coming days, the state and IDPH will be issuing formal industry-specific guidance, particularly around workplaces and childcare, for business owners and employees in these and other sectors.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced the phases in his Stay Safe Plan, including allowing limited outdoor dining at restaurants and bars starting June 1st. Salons and barbershops will be allowed to open June 1st at 25 percent occupancy to ensure the safety of both the employees and the customers inside.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary announced that North Carolina will move into Safer At Home Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions on Friday, May 22nd. After two weeks in Phase 1, the state’s overall key indicators remain stable but the continued increases in daily case count signal a need to take a more modest step forward in Phase 2 than originally envisioned.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced today that Marion and Polk counties can begin entering Phase I of reopening on Friday, May 22nd under her framework for building a safe and strong Oregon.

Public gatherings:

  • CONNECTICUT’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection released an operation plan that outlines current guidelines around the operation and use of Connecticut state park grounds, trails, beaches, boat launches, and other areas amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that beginning Thursday, May 21st, religious gatherings of no more than 10 people will be allowed statewide where strict social distancing measures are enforced and all participants wear masks. Additionally, drive-in and parking lot services will also be allowed beginning Thursday. The state is convening an Interfaith Advisory Council to discuss proposals to safely bring back religious services.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that houses of worship, when they begin reopening the weekend of May 30th, will be limited to 25% of their overall capacity.


  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order allowing all registered voters in Connecticut to vote absentee in the August 11th primary elections.


  • MONTANA’s Superintendent of Public Instruction announced that she has formed two task forces to provide feedback and guidance on how to open the 2020-2021 school year this fall in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Montana Learn 2020 Task Force is made up of students, parents, educators, and community partners to assess what resources families and educators need to be successful in learning and teaching in distance or mixed-delivery models.

Health care:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order allowing the operation of alternate care sites in Colorado in the event that a COVID-19 infection surge threatens to overwhelm the state’s healthcare resources.

Testing and tracing:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that there will be a new testing partnership with Kroger with locations in Henderson, Bowling Green, Louisville, and Lexington next week.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY, Walmart, and Quest Diagnostics announced that seven Walmart stores across New Jersey will open COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites beginning on May 22nd.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the results of the state’s antibody testing survey at churches in lower-income New York City communities and communities of color show 27 percent of individuals tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, compared with 19.9 percent of New York City’s overall population. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the state is continuing its partnership with Ready Responders to expand testing from eight to 40 public housing developments across New York City to address the continued high infection rates in low-income and minority communities. The state is also partnering with SOMOS to establish 28 additional testing sites at churches and community-based providers in predominantly minority communities, for a total of 72 faith-based testing sites in the state in partnership with Northwell Health and SOMOS. The state will also work to stop community spread in these neighborhoods by increasing PPE availability, providing hand sanitizer, enforcing social distancing, and expanding public health and education in these communities.

Worker support:

  • CONNECTICUT’s Insurance Commissioner announced that additional frontline health care workers and volunteers in Connecticut are now eligible to receive up to $25,000 of free term life insurance. The Connecticut Insurance Department has expedited approval of the expansion of HealthBridge, a new Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company life insurance product that offers free guaranteed issue policies to frontline health care workers and eligible volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Family support:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER and the Illinois Department of Human Services announced the state’s plan to enable 1.8 million SNAP recipients to purchase food from participating grocery retailers online has been approved by the federal government. This new purchasing option will begin on June 2. All Link customers will be alerted when they can use their card to make food orders online.
  • KANSAS’ Department of Children and Families with the Kansas State Department of Education has announced the creation of the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Program. This program will help provide food to families that have impacted by school closures due to COVID-19 for their children. The program will provide a one-time benefit of up to $291 on a Kansas Benefits Card to Kansas families whose children between 5-years-old and 18-years-old would receive free or reduced-price meals at participating schools.
  • NEW JERSEY’s Human Services Commissioner announced that New Jerseyans enrolled in the state’s SNAP will be able to use their benefits to order groceries online starting next week.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced the Wisconsin Farm Support Program, a $50-million investment to provide direct payments to Wisconsin farmers in support of the agricultural sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a $15-million Food Security Initiative to combat hunger in Wisconsin.

Child care:

  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that in the state’s new Safer At Home Phase 2, child care facilities, day camps and overnight camps will be open with enhanced cleaning and screening requirements. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced an initial distribution of $51 million of funding from the CARES Act funding to support child care providers around Pennsylvania. Distributed in partnership with the General Assembly, this initial funding will reach nearly 7,000 child care centers.

Homeowner/renter support:

  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced the launch of a $25 million Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program for Wisconsinites who have experienced income loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program will provide direct financial assistance for owed rent, security deposits, and wrap-around services for program eligible individuals.

Task forces/relief funds:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced a $300 million award to city and county governments as part of the CARES Act.
  • NEW YORK Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa and the New York State Council on Women and Girls announced the creation of a new task force to find innovative solutions to domestic violence crisis that has spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic. The task force will identify solutions to help domestic violence survivors, with the specific goal of looking beyond the traditional ways that services have been provided in the past. The task force will make recommendations to Gov. Andrew CUOMO by Thursday, May 28th, and the governor will make a final policy determination.

Public communications:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the five finalists for the Wear a Mask New York Ad Contest, which was launched on May 5th. Over the past two weeks, the state collected more than 600 submissions from New Yorkers across the state. New Yorkers can vote for the winning ad until Monday May 25th at 

Other efforts:

  • CONNECTICUT’s Department of Public Health released report findings of deficiency in infection control in nursing homes. The findings relate to infection control and were made following focused infection control surveys of all 213 nursing homes in Connecticut that were conducted in partnership with the Connecticut National Guard and inspectors from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
  • ILLINOIS’ Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Office of Broadband announced the new Illinois Connected Communities grant program designed to assist local governments, schools, and community organizations with building broadband capacity. 
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order extending and further enhancing protections for the health and safety of residents and employees of long-term care facilities. The order expands on protections provided in a previous order and provides clear procedures for facilities and hospitals to follow when residents test positive for or experience symptoms of COVID-19. The order takes effect immediately and continues through June 17th.
  • OREGON Governor Kate BROWN issued a statement about the State of Oregon May revenue forecast.

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!