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States across the country impose new restrictions amid soaring COVID19 cases

As COVID19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise nationwide, some states are halting phased reopening plans or imposing new coronavirus-related restrictions.  Governor Roy Cooper announced last week that additional restrictions may be coming soon if COVID19 trends don’t improve in North Carolina. In an attempt to slow the spread, Gov. Cooper reduced the mass gathering limits to 10 people ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. 

States across the country are taking steps similar to North Carolina, with several putting limits on social gatherings, adding states to travel quarantine lists, mandating face masks, and encouraging residents to stay home. These restrictions were first placed in the Spring, but have since been eased off of, but with a spike in cases, states are once again cracking down.Several states have also started to restrict business hours of operation and limiting restaurant capacity again. 

Unlike the Spring when states implemented statewide mandates, this Fall states are taking more tier and county-by-county approaches to slowing the spread.

Thirty-five states – plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico – now require people to wear face coverings in public statewide, according to a list maintained by AARP. Utah and North Dakota joined the list in recent days, and Maine, Ohio, and West Virginia strengthened their mandates this week.

Like North Carolina, Utah, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia announced additional coronavirus restrictions last week as their states see a spike in cases and hospitals becoming overcrowded. 

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert issued a statewide mask mandate late Nov. 8, hoping to stem a troubling spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. After weeks of surging coronavirus cases and deaths, Herbert introduced a new tiered “Transmission Index” that will be used to place each Utah county into one of three levels of alert — high, moderate, and low

Gov. Mark Gordon is weighing options amid a massive spike in COVID-19 cases that is straining Wyoming’s hospitals. 

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is urging but not requiring limits on public interaction, he said Nov. 10, a day of record infections and deaths. DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm asked residents to stay home and avoid social gatherings no matter the legal challenges to the state’s emergency health order.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee put new restrictions in college towns across the state, as coronavirus cases surge in those areas.

An estimated 130,000 students will be able to return to classrooms across Oregon in the coming weeks, according to new, less stringent, COVID-19 metrics Gov. Kate Brown, the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority released Oct. 30. Brown has extended her declaration of a COVID-19 state of emergency for an additional 60 days, until Jan. 2, 2021.

During an interview with NBC 10 News on Oct. 28, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said that if cases of coronavirus continue to climb, the state may slow the state’s economic and cultural reopening, with a return to phase two from the current stage, phase three. 

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Nov. 5 that new or amended public health orders might be announced early next week and that they might include a tightening of current restrictions in an effort to bring community spread back under control.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has already warned residents not to travel out of state unless it is absolutely necessary and said last Thursday that he will soon be announcing new steps to try to control the spread. 

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Nov. 5 extended the state’s face mask order until Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. 

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s released his newest county-by-county heat map Oct. 22. In purple counties, there is severe exposure and spread so residents should only leave home for supplies and services and follow guidelines for lowers levels. Due to rising COVID-19 rates in Indiana, travel to the state from Ohio is now under a travel advisory.

Travelers from 38 states and territories will now have to isolate upon entering New York, New Jersey and Connecticut after the three neighboring states expanded their quarantine list again. New York City has reopened schools, after twice delaying in-person learning. 

In 16 Mississippi counties, residents are required to wear a mask in all public areas where it’s not possible to maintain six feet of distance. In addition, all private and public social gatherings are limited to 10 people while indoors and 50 people outdoors.

Vowing stricter enforcement of coronavirus mandates, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the state is failing in its efforts to control infection rates and warned of “a difficult fall and a difficult winter” ahead. He wants local leaders to tighten up enforcement of the statewide mask mandate and to crack down on bars where people are packed together, in violation of the state’s guidelines on social distancing.

Nebraska reimposed restrictions as COVID-19 cases surge, instituting rules for indoor gatherings, bars and restaurants and wedding and funeral receptions. 

A recent spike in the region’s COVID-19 positivity rate has triggered mitigations and starting Nov. 8, bars and restaurants in Region 3 in Illinois, which includes Springfield and much of west-central Illinois, will once again be forced to halt indoor service. Also, no crowds of more than 25 people are allowed.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced a stay-at-home advisory, mask order and restaurant curfew Nov. 2 amid a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

Michigan health officials on Thursday announced new, more stringent COVID-19 restrictions as cases of the disease caused by the coronavirus surge to the highest rates to date across the state. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also called on legislators to pass a law requiring residents to wear masks in indoor places and crowded outdoor areas.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont is rolling back the reopening of the state from phase three to a modified phase two to try to bring the virus under control. Starting Nov. 6, restaurants will limit indoor capacity to 50%, from 75%. They will also close indoor dining by 9:30 p.m. and limit other gatherings.

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