Across the country, record numbers of daily new coronavirus cases have been reported over the last week, and experts warn the surge is just beginning. Certain state governments have reacted by tightening restrictions and rolling back their phased returns to normalcy, with more sure to come. "We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic … leading to increasing mortality," said a Nov. 2 report from Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force. These are five states that just issued new coronavirus restrictions. Read on to see if your state is affected, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Gov. Charlie Baker has ordered curfews for businesses and an overnight stay-at-home advisory for residents from 10 pm to 5 am. Theaters, restaurants, liquor stores and convenience stores are required to close at 9:30 pm. The orders take effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday. "Left unchecked, the current COVID-19 case growth poses a risk to our healthcare system. Intervention is warranted to moderate case growth and preserve hospital capacity. It's more important than ever to follow guidance from local, state, and federal officials on how to stop the spread of the virus," read the executive order.
The state rolled back reopening plans for bars this week, while limiting indoor gatherings to 50 people. (The cap had been expanded to 100 people on Oct. 13.) Outdoor gatherings are limited to 100, and occupancy limits for retailers is five people per 1,000 square feet of shopping space. "I am deeply sorry that we had to make this move and postpone the opening (of bars) … I know you were ready," said Gov. Janet Mills on Monday. "And we realize this decision is going to cause further economic hardship."
Because of a rise in coronavirus cases, on Monday Gov. Ned Lamont announced a statewide rollback from Phase 3 to "Phase 2.1" guidelines. Among them: Restaurant capacity will be lowered from 75% to 50%, with a maximum of eight people per table; restaurants and entertainment venues will be required to close by 9:30 p.m., and event venues will be limited to 25 people indoors, 50 people outdoors. "We are putting in these restrictions on a statewide basis now to make sure we don't have to do more severe things later," Lamont said Monday. "Stay safe, stay home as much as you can and otherwise be careful."
As of Monday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is requiring restaurants in the state to take customers' names and phone numbers for contact tracing if necessary. "We are taking targeted actions via the order to address areas that are particularly severe sources of spread, and we are issuing guidance that is a very clear road map for what we need to do bring cases down," said Robert Gordon, the director of the Department of Health and Human Services.
This week, Gov. Steve Bullock set maximum capacity at bars, restaurants, casinos, cafes, gyms and movie theaters at 50 percent. All in-person gatherings were limited to 50 people, regardless of whether they're indoors or outdoors. (The previous limit was 250 people indoors and 500 outdoors.) "I approached this from the beginning as the biggest public health crisis that we've had in a century and the big economic crisis, not looking at it through a political lens. My top priority really has been the health of Montanans, both their physical and their economic," Bullock told NBC.
How to Stay Healthy
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.