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Govs On Deck – May 26, 2020

Govs on Deck

Good Tuesday afternoon and welcome to today’s edition of “Govs on Deck.” We hope everyone had a good holiday weekend, however you were able to celebrate it.
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.
Emergency declarations:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order extending the state’s disaster declaration. 
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHIMTER signed an executive order to extend the state of emergency declaration until June 19, 2020.  

Stay at home order:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHIMTER extended Michigan’s Safer at Home order until June 12th. The order also extends the temporary closure of certain places of public accommodation such as theaters, gyms, and casinos.  

State partnerships:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the state is making its contact tracing training curriculum available at no cost to all states through the National Governors Association to speed the process of creating contact tracing programs.

Federal requests:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO renewed his call for the federal government to provide hazard pay for essential public workers on the front lines.

Reopening efforts:

  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY signed a modification to his state of emergency declaration, formalizing steps taken earlier in the week to allow restaurants to expand outdoor seating capacity. All Delaware food and drink establishments may apply to their local municipal or county jurisdiction with plans to expand outdoor seating. The Delaware Office of Alcohol Beverage Control also will review plans submitted by applicants with liquor licenses. Delaware restaurants and bars are scheduled to open their indoor spaces at 30 percent of stated fire capacity during Phase 1 of Delaware’s economic reopening, beginning June 1st.
  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY announced the state will lift the ban on short-term rental units and the mandatory 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travelers on June 1st as part of the rolling reopening of Delaware’s economy.
  • HAWAII’s O‘ahu, Maui and Kaua‘i counties are allowing medium-risk businesses and operations to reopen in accordance with Gov. David IGE’s eighth supplemental emergency proclamation.
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER released industry-specific guidelines that allow for the safe re-opening of businesses as the state progresses into the next phase of the Restore Illinois plan. All four regions of the state are on track to advance to Phase 3 of the plan in the coming days, allowing thousands of residents to return to work, and the reopening of businesses in the following industries: retail, offices, manufacturing, barbershops and salons, summer programs, various outdoor recreation activities and bars and restaurants for outdoor dining.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that new guidelines are now available for fitness centers, auto racetracks and movie theaters, which all can begin operating again June 1. Auctions also can be held starting June 1st. Horse shows can be held again starting June 8th. Bars, gatherings with 50 or fewer people and venues that hold 50 or fewer people can reopen June 29th, if they meet guidelines. Businesses that are now open at 33% capacity can expand to 50% capacity a month later, on June 22nd, if they meet the guidelines.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the Mid-Hudson Region is still on track to enter phase one of reopening today and Long Island is still on track to reopen tomorrow if deaths continue to decline. Both regions’ contact tracing operations are expected to be online by those dates.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced today that Clackamas County can begin entering Phase I of reopening.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced eight additional counties will move to yellow and 17 to green on May 29th. All remaining counties in red are expected to move to yellow by June 5th. 
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO signed an executive order extending all current directives – including the five-person limit on social gatherings, the mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone coming to Rhode Island from another state, and all of the current business and restaurant restrictions – until June 1st.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced new guidance for Phase 2 including increasing social gathering limits to 15 people, lifting domestic travel restrictions, allowing indoor dining at up to 50% capacity, relaxing capacity restrictions for non-critical retail and reopening malls, and additional allowances for the reopening of gyms and personal services. 
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE praised the state’s progress as the Washington State Department of Health announced additional counties are eligible to move to Phase 2 under the Safe Start plan.

Public gatherings:

  • CALIFORNIA’s Department of Public Health announced the statewide reopening of places of worship for religious services. Under new guidance, places of worship can hold religious services and funerals that limit attendance to 25% of a building’s capacity – or up to 100 attendees, whichever is lower – upon approval by the county department of public health. 
  • KANSAS’ Department of Health and Environment is recommending voluntary 14-day self-quarantine for those Kansans who traveled to Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, over the Memorial Day weekend and did not use protective measures, such as social distancing and face masks.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order authorizing small gatherings of 10 people or less starting immediately, as long as participants practice social distancing. 
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced he has partnered with Minnesota faith leaders on a plan for places of worship who decide to open to do so as safely as possible. Through consultation with Minnesota faith leaders, the Minnesota Department of Health has developed additional guidance for faith-based communities, places of worship, and services. Starting May 27th, places of worship may open at 25 percent occupancy if they adhere to social distancing and other public health guidelines to keep congregants safe.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order increasing the limit on outdoor gatherings from 10 to 25 people and allowing recreational campgrounds to reopen with social distancing measures in place. The limit on indoor gatherings remains at 10 people.

Elections:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER applauded the passage of a state Senate ensuring all recent voters receive a vote by mail application for the November election. 
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that a new Absentee Ballot Application Portal is now online. Voters in every county of the commonwealth can request a mail-in ballot for the June primary elections. The last day to apply for a ballot is June 15th. The primary elections in Kentucky will be held June 23rd.

Business guidance:

  • CALIFORNIA’s Department of Public Health announced that, subject to approval by county public health departments, all retail stores can reopen for in-store shopping under previously issued guidelines.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS’ administration released guidance to employers and places of public accommodation to ensure equal opportunity employment and to provide reasonable accommodations for individuals, including those with COVID-19, exposure to COVID-19, and symptoms of COVID-19.  
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order allowing restaurants, beginning tomorrow, to be able to open for in-person dining at 50% capacity of the indoor posted occupancy code limit, but they can not exceed 50 people, whichever is less. They are also encouraged to provide as much outdoor services as possible. Bars will remain closed. Establishments that do not serve food will be evaluated in June. 
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced that private campsites are now open. If a host county would like to keep campsites closed, county commissioners should consult with their local public health agency, and then notify the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and CDPHE in writing. Campgrounds in the State Park system are open. The executive order which closed ski resorts has expired. Ski resorts may work to secure approval from their local authorities in order to open.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that the Connecticut Department of Transportation has approved a permit for Mystic Pizza to use a state highway right-of-way to add outdoor dining as the restaurant makes efforts to comply with the requirements of phase 1 of Connecticut’s reopening plans . The restaurant is the first business to be issued a permit of this kind from the state which was granted under a previous executive order to help businesses without outdoor space to reopen under Phase 1 by using sidewalks or other areas that are in the state’s right-of-way.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT encouraged Connecticut farmers and producers who have been impacted by COVID-19 to sign up and receive financial assistance through the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program The USDA’s Farm Service Agency will accept applications beginning today.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order to reopen retail businesses and auto dealerships by appointment statewide today. 
  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK has set a target day of June 4th for reopening Nevada’s gaming industry pending the evaluation of trends in Nevada’s COVID-19 data, along with the results of the Gaming Control Board meeting held today. 
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced Count on Me NC, a free online training program to help restaurants, hotels and other businesses learn the best ways to protect customers and employees from COVID-19. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF signed a bill allowing the temporary sale of cocktails-to-go from bars, restaurants or hotels with a liquor license. The law takes effect immediately.

Business support:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the launch of the $100 million New York Forward Loan Fund to provide flexible and affordable loans to help small businesses, focusing on minority and women owned small businesses, that did not receive federal COVID-19 assistance. The state will take a smart, targeted approach for distributing these loans, focusing on businesses with 20 or fewer employees and less than $3 million in gross revenues. 

Schools/students:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order continuing the suspension of normal in-person instruction at all public and private elementary and secondary schools through the end of the school year.
  • NEW JERSEY’s Office of Higher Education announced that a total of $68.8 million in federal CARES Act funds will be available to New Jersey’s public colleges and universities to help institutions continue providing high-quality educational services to students amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced summer school will be conducted through distance learning this year to help reduce the risk of spread. Meal programs and child care services for essential employees will continue. School districts must also develop a plan for students with disabilities who participate in extended summer school year programs over the summer to ensure they receive instruction. The state will make a determination on the fall semester and issue guidelines in June so schools and colleges can start to plan for a number of scenarios. K-12 schools and colleges will submit plans for approval to the state in July.

Health care:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order extending Colorado’s Medicaid home health workforce and eliminating copays for COVID-19 testing for individuals who rely on Medicaid.
  • DELAWARE’s Division of Public Health announced it was awarded a $67 million Epidemiology Laboratory Capacity grant from the CDC to implement expanded testing capacity for COVID-19, and support the establishment of a modernized public health epidemiologic surveillance system.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order lifting the requirement that health care providers delay some nonessential medical, dental, and veterinary procedures statewide beginning on Friday, May 29th.
  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK has asked his Patient Protection Commission to tackle the state’s long-term response to the coronavirus pandemic. The commission had been created to deliver a top-to-bottom review of the state’s health care system.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced a grant program funded by the federal CARES Act. Totaling $100 million dollars, the funding will support providers most at-risk for financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. The providers targeted for financial assistance include emergency medical services, home and community-based services, and long-term care providers such as skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities.

Testing and tracing:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM launched California Connected, the state’s contact tracing program and public awareness campaign. As part of California Connected, public health workers from communities across the state will connect with individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and work with them, and people they have been in close contact with, to ensure they have access to confidential testing, as well as medical care and other services to help prevent the spread of the virus.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT applauded an announcement made by CVS Health that the company is opening 13 new COVID-19 test sites at select CVS Pharmacy drive-thru locations in Connecticut.
  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY provided an update on Delaware’s statewide testing plan, which aims to increase access in Delaware to 80,000 tests monthly. The plan is a partnership with the Division of Public Health, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, Delaware hospital systems, primary care physicians and other providers, Federally Qualified Health Centers, pharmacies, and community-based organizations like nonprofits and churches. Vulnerable populations are among those prioritized for community-based testing under the plan. Other priority groups include symptomatic individuals, anyone with known exposure to COVID-19, and certain front-line essential workers. The state is working with partners to transition from symptom-driven hospital-based testing operations, to a proactive, collaborative community-based testing strategy. 
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced that the state received $52.7 million in Federal grant funding from the CDC to bolster epidemiological and laboratory capacity. The state will use this funding to enhance its ability to prevent, detect, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Maine by expanding lab capacity and testing sites across Maine in the coming weeks and months.
  • MINNESOTA hosted six free testing locations across the state held at National Guard Armory sites. 
  • NEW MEXICO’s Department of Health and the State Personnel Office began accepting applications Friday to fill 200 to 250 contact-tracing positions around the state as the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic moves into the next phase.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the state is partnering with Advantage Care Physicians to establish 15 new testing sites at medical centers downstate, including testing centers in low-income and minority communities. New York State now has more than 760 testing sites across the state.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the launch of a new pilot program with 52 independent pharmacies to conduct 7,000 tests per week. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Virginians can now use COVIDCheck, a new online risk-assessment tool to check their symptoms and connect with the appropriate health care resource, including COVID-19 testing.

PPE and medical supplies:

  • NEW JERSEY has launched the PPE Supplier Registry to connect suppliers of personal protective equipment that can prevent the spread of COVID-19 with potential buyers. Wholesale vendors with PPE inventory such as surgical or other protective masks, hospital gowns, hand sanitizer, or COVID-19 test kits can submit details on supplies they have available and hospitals, medical organizations, and private businesses can purchase. 

Worker support:

  • CONNECTICUT’s Department of Labor has been awarded a $2.33 million federal grant to create temporary disaster relief jobs for dislocated workers and other eligible individuals, along with employment training services and any necessary support. The Disaster Recovery National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grant was awarded to assist the state as it continues to respond to the challenges resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. 
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER announced a temporary, $2-per-hour pay raise for direct care workers providing Medicaid-funded in-home behavioral health and long-term care services to Michigan’s most vulnerable residents during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • NEW JERSEY’s Department of Health, Agriculture, and Labor and Workforce Development have issued guidance on working conditions as well as testing and treatment procedures to assist agricultural businesses and seasonal farm workers in minimizing the risk and potential exposure to COVID-19.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that state and local governments will provide death benefits for frontline workers who died from COVID-19 during this emergency.

Family support:

  • CONNECTICUT’s Department of Social Services announced that because of the cancellation of in-person, pre-K to grade 12 classes at all schools in the state for the remainder of the academic year, the families of students who participate in the free or reduced-price meals program will soon receive additional, emergency SNAP benefits under the federal Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer program to ensure that children continue to receive nutritious meals while learning from home during the pandemic. 
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order requiring health insurance policies to continue providing coverage for birth to three programs after a child’s third birthday in the event that school closures may delay a child’s transition to other services for older children.
  • KENTUCKY’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services Department for Community Based Services and the Kentucky Department of Education are partnering to provide food assistance to families who have lost access to free or reduced-price school meals. Kentucky families with students who normally receive free or reduced-price meals at school may get financial assistance to replace those meals through the USDA’s Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that more than 10,000 households on Long Island have received Nourish New York products. Additionally, six new Nourish New York distributions are scheduled for Long Island this week.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF’s administration will be awarding more than $9 million to non-profit entities for projects to fight hunger and prevent food waste. The awards come from the expanded Food Recovery Infrastructure grant program announced in April.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Virginians who receive SNAP benefits will be able to pay for their groceries online and have them delivered, after the USDA approved Virginia to participate in an innovative online purchasing pilot program. 

Child care and summer camps:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order allowing children’s day camps and youth sports camps will open on Monday, June 1st. Residential overnight camps will be closed in June. Decisions for July and August overnight camps will be made in mid-June. Children’s residential camps that choose to operate as day camps must work with the Colorado Department of Human Services and their local public health agency for approval. Day camps, including mobile, youth sports camps, and outdoor camps, must operate with restrictions and strong precautionary measures, as specified in the guidance. 
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced the state’s plan for a gradual reopening of child care in Phases 3 and 4 of Restore Illinois. Based on the advice of public health experts, the new group size limits will be roughly 30% lower than their pre-pandemic levels for centers. For licensed homes which tend to be smaller, most will be able to operate at standard capacity. Collectively, these efforts would bring Illinois to three-quarters of the previous child care capacity in the state.
  • KENTUCKY’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary announced that on June 8th, in-home child care programs can open. On June 15th, center-based licensed child care programs can reopen to all families. The maximum group size will be 10 children per group. Children will remain in the same groups all day and staff will be assigned to the same children each day to reduce exposure. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF’s administration issued frequently asked questions to provide guidance to parents, summer camp operators, public bathing places, part-day school-age programs, and other entities that provide necessary child care and enrichment and recreational activities for children and youth during the summer months.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced new regulations and guidelines for summer camp and summer youth programs. These programs will be allowed to begin in-person operations starting June 29th.

Public communications:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced that the state’s contact tracing program, California Connected’s public awareness campaign has started. Beginning this week, Californians across the state will hear radio ads and see billboards, social media posts and videos in multiple languages encouraging them to answer the call to slow the spread of COVID-19. Public health workers across the state – identified on caller ID as the “CA COVID Team” – will call, text and email individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and people they may have unknowingly exposed to the virus.
  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY launched the “Summer Safely” public education campaign seeking to reinforce the restrictions on the Delaware beaches and to encourage Delawareans to take the proper steps to mitigate COVID-19 as we head into the summer season.  

State budget shortfalls:

  • NEW JERSEY’s Department of the Treasury delivered a budget update to the Legislature, providing a detailed revenue report. Based on a wide variety of economic assumptions, the state is potentially facing a combined revenue shortfall of nearly $10 billion over the remaining months of Fiscal Year 2020 and through the end of Fiscal Year 2021 – a potential decline that would be worse than the Great Recession. 

Task forces:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the members of the state’s Blue-Ribbon Commission focused on improving telehealth and broadband access using new, innovative technologies.

Other efforts:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order authorizing certain state agencies to promulgate and issue emergency rules extending the expiration date of licenses and other documents due to the presence of COVID-19.  
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS amended a previous executive order concerning criminal justice, extending provisions related to the Department of Corrections’ duty to receive and take custody of individuals and DOC’s ability to utilize the Centennial south campus of the Centennial correctional facility for the housing of inmates of mixed classification. 
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order authorizing the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to reimburse funds that were collected from rent paid by any person for use of state park property, including for camping or any special event. The order also waives the requirement for guest books at private clubs.
  • CONNECTICUT’s DMV announced that as the state continues responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, its previously enacted 90-day extension for Connecticut residents with expiring credentials is being extended to a total of 180 days. Eligible DMV credentials that expire between March 10, 2020 and June 30, 2020 are automatically covered by this extension. In addition, late fees associated with eligible expired credentials will be waived during the time period of the extension for qualifying credentials.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that new guidance is now available regarding the restarting of youth sports.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order extending emergency relief from regulations for motor carriers and drivers operating in Minnesota in order to support the food supply chain, and provide exemptions in order to efficiently transport animal remains.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order extending temporary relief to farmers by exempting motor carriers and drivers operating in Minnesota from certain regulations in order to efficiently transport wood and wood byproducts for use as composting material.
  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK signed an emergency directive permitting the Board of Parole Commissioners to conduct virtual parole hearings for all parole eligible inmates. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange today to commence the reopening of the trading floor for the first time since March 23rd.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that New York professional sports leagues will be able to begin training camps in state while following appropriate health protocols.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the state is extending sales tax interest and penalty relief through June 22nd. The state previously provided relief through May 19th for returns due March 20th.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that the state’s recently launched Congregate Setting Support Team has been contacted by 44 different homes representing more than 3,000 Rhode Islanders. In each of these requests for assistance, a Rapid Needs Assessment was performed by a clinical team member. In addition, the team has helped congregate care facilities implement a number of COVID-19 safeguards.

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!