Ward Law LLC is dedicated to keeping our clients informed about all things COVID-19 related. Our business is to ensure that you have all the information you need to keep your business going. In that regard, please read below for an update on how states are handling their reopening.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, states are under intense pressure from government officials, businesses, and the public. Impassioned calls to “keep everything open” or “keep everything closed” have made it difficult for states to find firm footing. Each state has navigated this push-pull differently and will continue to do so as they dip their toes into the re-opening waters. The following is the status of states where Ward Law practices:
Governor Tom Wolf announced, starting Friday, May 1st, the construction industry may resume work and golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips, and privately owned campgrounds may re-open. However, for those businesses that re-open, they are required to follow guidelines established by the Governor’s office for social distancing and mitigation. By Friday, May 8th, more businesses will be allowed to re-open, including in-person retail establishments. Restaurants and bars will remain closed to all but carry-out and delivery orders. Gyms, movie theaters, and health and wellness facilities will also remain closed. Again, any business that is permitted to re-open must follow the Governor’s restrictions.
Governor Cuomo has not issued any orders or provided any firm dates on when the state’s re-opening plan will begin (not surprising given that New York has been the epicenter of the virus in the United States). But on April 27th, he did lay out a structure and noted that federal guidance states that before re-opening the state, the regional hospitalization rate must be in decline for 14 days. The Governor stated, “We’re going to re-open in phases,” which will be based on a regional analysis, particularly economic regions. The first phase will include construction, manufacturing activities, and low-risk businesses. This phase would likely start upstate and could go into effect as early as May 15th. Phase two would utilize a business-by-business analysis using a matrix that determines each business’s overall importance and risk in re-opening. “When we get there, we need businesses to do that analysis” Cuomo stated.
New Jersey has recently seen consistent reductions in key data, including hospitalizations. Therefore, Governor Phil Murphy will re-open state and county parks and golf courses, effective Saturday, May 2nd. Playgrounds, picnic areas, restrooms and visitor centers will remain closed, while running, hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding, and kayaking will be allowed. Parking lots at re-opened parks and golf courses must be capped at 50% capacity, and social distancing rules still apply. Masks are not required but are strongly recommended. The Governor said he made this decision based on data, science, and facts.
Governor Ron DeSantis has garnered quite a bit of national exposure lately due to his recent press conference with the President and the recently revealed plan for re-opening the state. One may recall that the Governor was one of the last to issue a statewide stay-at-home order after incremental restrictions proved largely ineffective. The statewide stay-at-home order came only after the Governor consulted with the President and surmised that the President “had a change in demeanor.” On April 29th, the Governor indicated that phase I of the state’s re-opening plan would begin on Monday, May 4th and would closely follow guidelines from the White House. Restaurants will be allowed to offer outdoor seating with six-foot separation between tables. Restaurants and retail stores can allow customers inside, but only at 25% capacity, and people must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Elective and non-urgent surgery may resume. Gyms, fitness centers, bars, movie theaters, and places that offer personal services such as hair styling will remain closed, although the Governor stated that they will be included in the next stages of re-opening. It should be noted that the re-opening plan that begins on May 4th will not include the counties of Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade, which are those that have the highest concentration of infections in the state.
For any questions about how your state is handling its reopening, please email the Ward Law helpline any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.