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Govs On Deck – May 5, 2020

Govs on Deck

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.
Emergency declarations: 

  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM extended the Gallup emergency declaration through noon on May 7th, as requested by the mayor.

Reopening plans:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced that based on California’s progress in meeting metrics tied to indicators, the state can begin to move into Stage 2 of modifying the stay at home order this Friday, May 8th, with guidelines released Thursday, May 7th.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO outlined additional guidelines for when regions can re-open. The state will monitor four core factors to determine if a region can re-open: new infections, health care capacity, diagnostic testing capacity, and contact tracing capacity.  The governor also outlined which industries and businesses can open in each phase of the state’s re-opening plan. Businesses considered “more essential” with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by other businesses considered “less essential” or those that present a higher risk of infection spread. 
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO released additional details on Phase 1 of the state’s plan to reopen the economy for the retail sector, restaurants, offices, health care, and congregate care. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM laid out what ‘Phase One’ of his reopening plan will look like. The plan mimics the White House’s guidelines including the ‘stay at home’ order becomes a ‘safer at home’ advisory, vulnerable populations should continue to shelter in place, no social gatherings of more than 10, teleworking will still be encouraged but some can return to the workplace, face coverings recommending in public, and eased limitations on businesses and faith communities. Businesses like movie theaters, gyms, salons, churches, restaurants, and retailers will be able to open back up with strict social distancing rules, enhanced sanitation and safety guidelines for employees.  
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE signed a new order laying out the state’s “Safe Start” plan. Under the first phase, some businesses could re-open as early as this week. The plan allows smaller counties to apply for a variance from the order which would allow them to open even more businesses than allowed statewide.

Public gatherings:

  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM extended his executive order banning gatherings over ten people through May 14th. 

Elections:

  • PENNSYLVANIA’s Secretary of State announced that nearly one million voters have applied for a mail-in ballot for the June 2 primary election.

Schools:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that K-12 schools will remain closed through the end of the academic year. Schools will continue to provide distance learning and meal programs. 
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced that K-12 schools will remain closed through the end of the academic year.

Business operations:

  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced a new, web-based program to assist businesses and religious organizations with safely resuming operations as the public health emergency due to COVID-19 continues. OpenSafely.la.gov allows business owners and church leaders to register in order to receive up-to-the-minute information on what phase their business and/or church is considered, what phase the state is in as Louisiana moves through phases of return and what social distancing and sanitation guidelines are required for their specific operation in each phase. 
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER announced that $3.3 million in financial relief is going to 657 bar and restaurant owners across the state through the governor’s spirits buyback program pursuant to an executive order. The program offered a 100 percent cash buyback to on-premise liquor licensees for spirits they had ordered from the Commission prior to March 16, 2020. Licensees actually keep possession of the products the Commission bought back, with no bottles being picked up. Bars and restaurants have 90 days after emergency declarations are lifted to repurchase the inventory by selling it when they’re back open for business and pay the Commission back interest-free.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order permitting food trucks to operate at up to six highway rest stops in Minnesota.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO outlined new safety precautions that each business must put in place upon re-opening to help lower the risk of spreading the virus. Businesses will be required to: Adjust workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace; Enact social distancing protocols; Restrict non-essential travel for employees; Require all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent contact with others; Implement strict cleaning and sanitation standards; Enact a continuous health screening process for individuals to enter the workplace; Continue tracing, tracking and reporting of cases; and develop liability processes.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF provided guidance that details procedures businesses must follow to conduct in-person operations in counties slated to move to the yellow phase of reopening on May 8th. All businesses, including non-profits, permitted to conduct in-person operations are subject to this guidance. This guidance is based on building safety and business safety orders, under which nearly all life-sustaining businesses have been operating during the red phase.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM extended his executive order closing some non-essential businesses through May 14th.

Health care:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that under Health Care Phase 2, which will begin Wednesday, May 6th, outpatient and ambulatory surgery and invasive procedures may resume. All patients must have COVID-19 pre-procedure testing per professional association guidelines consistent with KDPH guidance. The 10 rules of reopening also apply, which includes universal masking and personal protective equipment, closed common areas, along with requirements to follow specific procedure guidance.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the special enrollment period through the NY State of Health Health Plan Marketplace will remain open through June 15th.

Testing and tracing:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced a partnership with the University of California, San Francisco and University of California, Los Angeles to immediately begin training workers for a contact tracing program. The partnership will include a virtual training academy for contact tracers. The first 20-hour training will begin Wednesday, May 6th with the goal of training 20,000 individuals in two months.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS unveiled a new interactive map of community-based testing sites that local public health departments have set up across the state. 
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced a new partnership with St. Elizabeth Healthcare to expand coronavirus testing in Northern Kentucky. 
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced the state’s plan to make Wisconsin one of the top states in testing per capita, Wisconsin is prepared to provide 85,000 COVID-19 tests per week, ensuring that everyone in the state who needs a test receives a test. 

PPE / medical supplies:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced a partnership with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association to get personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer to our small businesses as they prepare to be Healthy at Work.
  • OREGON will receive a decontamination unit that will decontaminate N-95 respirators, allowing the critical personal protective equipment to be used up to 20 times by frontline health care workers. The machine is installed at the University of Oregon.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced Wisconsin has received a donation of 10,000 procedural masks and 1,000 medical outfits from its sister state of Heilongjiang Province.

Worker support:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced the statewide expansion of a program that will make free online learning licenses available to recipients of unemployment insurance. The SkillUp CT program will significantly expand access to comprehensive online course work for thousands of Connecticut residents and will enable recently laid-off workers to upgrade their skills and earn industry-recognized certifications even while the doors to most brick-and-mortar education and training providers remain closed.

Family support:

  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order exempting federal, tribal, state, and local COVID-19 relief funds from being automatically intercepted by creditors and debt collectors.
  • OREGON’s Department of Human Services and the Oregon Department of Education announced that Oregon families with children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals will get cash benefits for the meals they would have received at school even if they have been accessing meals from schools during the closure. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service authorized DHS to provide Oregon P-EBT Pandemic School Meal Replacement Benefits to more than 351,000 students receiving free or reduced-price school meals in Oregon, including almost 147,000 students already receiving Nutrition Assistance. 

Response funding:

  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. COOPER signed into law two critical relief bills that will provide assistance to families, schools, hospitals, and small businesses as our state battles COVID-19. The relief package, which was passed unanimously, includes almost $1.6 billion in relief measures for critical expenditures related to public health and safety, educational needs, small business assistance, and continuity of state government operations. Of this amount, $1.4 billion has been appropriated and $150 million is set aside in a reserve fund for future local government needs. 

Response task forces/relief efforts:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive directive creating the Michigan COVID-19 Office of Accountability within the State Budget Office. The Accountability Office will provide oversight of all spending to address this crisis, and must report regularly on its work to the governor and the state budget director. 
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order continuing the extension for filing and remitting state and state-administered local sales tax until May 20th.

Public communications:

  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced that the state has activated a new web-based program to assist businesses and religious organizations with safely resuming operations as the public health emergency due to COVID-19 continues.

Other efforts:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order extending the rules regarding entry to care facilities designed to protect vulnerable populations and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 until May 31st The order also requires employees of facilities covered by the order to wear face coverings while working within a facility. 
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order racing a previous order which had directed the Department of the Treasury to achieve a $1.276 billion surplus by the end of this current fiscal year. The move comes as the state continues to further address the ongoing fiscal disruption and uncertainties caused by COVID-19.

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!