Shelves Bare of Toilet Paper, New State Restrictions as COVID Remains Stubborn Adversary

November 17, 2020 by Dan McCue
Advertisements for Covid-19 testing ares posted outside Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

It’s the time of year when many of us start to think “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” but for residents of an ever-growing number of states, this November is starting to look an awful lot like March all over again.

That’s because a resurgence of the coronavirus outbreak is quickly forcing state governors to backtrack on phased reopenings of their communities they’ve been implementing over the past few months.

On Sunday, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee announced new temporary state restrictions aimed at reducing a recent spike in COVID-19 cases there. Washington is currently reporting about 2,000 new cases a day.

But even as he stressed the temporary nature of the new order, he acknowledged the move might inspire another round of hoarding by his fellow citizens.

“Buying up everything really hurts everybody,” Inslee said.

“There is no necessity for it right now,” he added.

Nevertheless, supermarkets and other retailers in the state reported an immediate run on toilet paper, with several Seattle stores saying they were completely out by Sunday night.

Inslee said because of the current spike, he felt he had no choice but to reinstate restrictions “to preserve the public’s well-being and to save lives.”

“These were very difficult decisions that have very real consequences to people’s livelihoods. I recognize that and don’t take those impacts lightly, but we must act now and act quickly to slow the spread of this disease” he said.

The new restrictions took effect on Monday and will remain in effect until Monday, December 14.

The modified restrictions of restaurants, however, were set to take effect today.

Under Inslee’s new order, bars and restaurants will no longer be allowed to offer indoor seating.

Outdoor seating will be allowed as long as proper safety protocols are followed, including tables being limited to no more than five people at a time. Restaurants will still be able to offer their customers to go orders.

All in-store retail, including grocery stores, will be limited to 25% capacity, and lingering in seated areas is off-limits.

Religious services will also be limited to 25% indoor occupancy or no more than 200 people, with face coverings required at all times. No choir, band, or ensemble can perform during the service.

In addition, all business meetings are prohibited. Only professional training and testing that cannot be done remotely is allowed. Occupancy for meetings is limited to 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

Meanwhile, entertainment venues like movie theaters, bowling alleys, museums and zoos will all be banned from offering indoor service, though drive-in theaters will still be allowed to operate under previously laid out restrictions. Long-term care facilities can only offer outdoor visits, with exceptions for end-of-life care.

Weddings and funeral receptions will be limited to no more than 30 people and youth and adult sports must be held outside only with all athletes wearing masks.

Personal services, such as barber shops and salons, are also limited to 25% capacity and real estate open houses are prohibited.

The latest governor to join Inslee in imposing new restrictions was Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

In order to restrict the spread of the virus, Hogan imposed a 10 p.m. curfew for all bars and restaurants across the state and tightened capacity limits at retail outlets, religious facilities, barbershops and salons.

It goes into effect on Friday.

In addition, the new capacity limits at businesses will be capped at 50%, the governor announced.

In a related move, the Maryland Department of Health has suspended most visits to hospitals and nursing homes to protect vulnerable populations.

Hogan said “every corner of our state” is now experiencing widespread community transmission.

“This virus has been with us for so long that too many of us have become numb to staggering spiking numbers that are being announced every day,” Hogan said.

In addition to bars and restaurants, the order applies to any facility or venue where food and alcohol is served, including nightclubs and social clubs.

A curfew will begin Thursday in Ohio from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for the next three weeks, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Tuesday.

“We believe this will help reduce COVID-19 spread,” he said. “I’m also asking each Ohioan every day to do at least one thing that reduces your contact with others.”

DeWine said the curfew will not apply to people going to and from work, or to anyone getting groceries, picking up takeout, or picking up medicine.

“The goal is to have fewer contacts,” he said. “The whole idea is if you can slow these contacts down it will go a long way in slowing this virus down.”

DeWine asked Ohioans to cut down contact with non-household members by 20 to 25%.

“Paired with mask-wearing, this will go a long way from stopping our hospitals from being overrun,” he said.

Other states reimposing similar restrictions on Tuesday were Iowa and Oklahoma. On Monday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration ordered high schools and colleges to stop in-person classes, closed restaurants to indoor dining and suspended organized sports — including the football playoffs — in an attempt to curb the state’s spiking case numbers.

The order also restricts indoor and outdoor residential gatherings, closes some entertainment facilities and bans gyms from hosting group exercise classes.

The new rules, set to last three weeks, are extensive but not as sweeping the Democratic governor’s stay-at-home order this past spring.

The latest round of restrictions came on a day when Dr. Anothny Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert, said the nation needed “a uniform approach” to the coronavirus pandemic, rather than “a disjointed” state-by-state response.

“We need some fundamental public health measures that everyone should be adhering to, not a disjointed, ‘One state says one thing, the other state says another thing,’” Dr. Fauci said.

In The News



State News

New Caucus Aims to Bring Main Street Priorities to Capitol Hill
New Caucus Aims to Bring Main Street Priorities to Capitol Hill
April 22, 2021
by TWN Staff

Eighteen members of Congress on Wednesday announced the formation of a new Congressional Caucus whose intent is to ensure that the priorities and concerns of cities and counties across America are heard on Capitol Hill. The bipartisan Congressional Caucus of Former Local Elected Officials was formed... Read More

35 States at Extreme Risk of Partisan Gerrymandering
In The States
35 States at Extreme Risk of Partisan Gerrymandering
April 16, 2021
by TWN Staff

Thirty-five states are at extreme or high risk of partisan gerrymandering, according to an in-depth report by the nonpartisan RepresentUs organization. The Gerrymandering Threat Index rates all 50 states, and its authors argue their findings underscore the urgent need to pass the redistricting reforms within the... Read More

Plan Afoot to Extend PPP Deadline to May 31
In The News
Plan Afoot to Extend PPP Deadline to May 31

WASHINGTON - A bipartisan bill to extend the Paycheck Protection Program to May 31 is gaining support in the House and the Senate and will likely be voted on before lawmakers head back to their districts at the end of the month. The proposal to extend... Read More

Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Date Announced
District of Columbia
Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Date Announced
March 2, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - It’s hard to believe it’s almost that time of year again, but on Monday came word that the peak bloom for the cherry blossoms ringing the Tidal Basin in Washington is currently expected to occur April 2-5.  That means the most vivid of blooms... Read More

Once the Mainstream Model, Michigan GOP Embraces Right Wing
In The States
Once the Mainstream Model, Michigan GOP Embraces Right Wing

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Josh Venable, a longtime Michigan GOP operative and chief of staff to former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, can trace the arc of the state's Republican Party clearly."This was the state where to be Republican was defined by Gerald Ford and George... Read More

What NY Prosecutors Could Learn from Trump's Tax Records
In The States
What NY Prosecutors Could Learn from Trump's Tax Records

NEW YORK (AP) — Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. fought for a year and a half to get access to former President Donald Trump's tax records.Now, thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, he will soon have them. But what will that mean for... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top