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At least 21 states pause reopening or take new steps to limit the spread of COVID-19

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 59 mins ago Joshua Bote and Grace Hauck, USA TODAY

Days after the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expressed concern about “significant increases” in coronavirus cases, the United States tallied 50,000 new cases Wednesday. 

That milestone was reached as governors and other state leaders grapple with plans to reopen their economies. Some are postponing further reopening while others are tightening rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

a man wearing a mask posing for the camera: Angela Hernandez has her hair washed at Kosmo Salon on Friday, May 8, 2020. Barbershops and nail salons reopened on Friday, May 8, 2020 as part of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's plan to reopen after coronavirus closures. © Courtney Sacco, Corpus Christi Caller-Times Angela Hernandez has her hair washed at Kosmo Salon on Friday, May 8, 2020. Barbershops and nail salons reopened on Friday, May 8, 2020 as part of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's plan to reopen after coronavirus closures.

Among the measures: shutting down high-capacity businesses such as bars and gyms, halting elective surgeries and requiring people to wear masks.

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Map: Take a look at coronavirus trends, reopening status and mobility 

Here is a look at which states have paused their reopening or taken other steps. This list is continually updated.


Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order mandating bars, gyms, theaters and water parks to shut down Monday evening. 

The order follows mounting pressure to respond to the ballooning COVID-19 numbers that followed his accelerated reopening plan, which he announced in May.

"Arizonans have been, by and large, terrific, fantastic and responsible," the governor said. "But, we have found some situations in categories where we need to take more aggressive actions, and that's what we're going to do today."

Arizona has confirmed nearly 4,900 new COVID-19 cases and 88 additional deaths on Wednesday, by far the highest number of cases and deaths the state has seen. The cases now total 84,092.

– Maria Polletta and Rachel Leingang, Arizona Republic


Nearly two weeks after moving into phase two, which allowed for two-thirds capacity in restaurants and other businesses, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he's not ready to ease business restrictions further as the state experiences a spike in coronavirus cases.

As of Wednesday, the state has recorded over 21,000 confirmed cases, more than a quarter of which are currently active. The number of new cases Wednesday, per the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, are the lowest in a week.


As California faces an explosion of new COVID-19 cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered 19 counties — including Los Angeles, Orange and Santa Clara — to shut down businesses with indoor operations for three weeks. That includes theaters, wineries, museums and restaurants, among others.

Parking lots at state beaches are also closed statewide, per KFMB-TV in San Diego, ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.

The state obliterated its record for the most cases confirmed in a day Wednesday: more than 8,600, according to the Los Angeles Times. More than a third of those took place in Los Angeles County. As of Wednesday, California has 232,416 confirmed cases of COVID-19.


Delaware did not move into phase three of its economic reopening plan as scheduled at the beginning of the week. The announcement, issued last Thursday by Gov. John Carney, postponed official action until this week so that officials "can get a better handle on what’s going on in Delaware and around the country." 

“Too many Delawareans and visitors are not following basic public health precautions," Carney said.

Carney also announced plans Tuesday to shut down bars in Delaware beach towns ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.

The state reported 11,510 total cases as of Wednesday, with 509 deaths.

– Jeff Neiburg and Meredith Newman, Delaware News Journal


As COVID-19 cases skyrocket across the state, Gov. Ron DeSantis questioned the wisdom of keeping people away from the surf as the Fourth of July weekend approaches.

“By and large, the virus doesn’t like the sunshine, heat and humidity,” DeSantis said during a press conference in Daytona Beach on Wednesday. “There’s been very few outbreaks linked to a park or a beach. I’m more concerned about people crowding into air-conditioning.”

The number of COVID-19 cases in Florida increased by another 6,563 on Wednesday, bringing the total to nearly 159,000.

Last week, the state's Department of Business and Professional Regulation announced it would suspend on-premise consumption of alcohol at bars statewide. Bars will still be able to serve drinks in to-go containers.

Halsey Beshears, the department secretary, said the action was taken because of an increase in COVID-19 cases and noncompliance by some businesses. Restaurants that serve alcohol will be allowed to stay open.

– Jane Musgrave, Palm Beach Post and Dave Osborn, Naples Daily News

Travel advisory: NY, NJ, CT add states to quarantine order, bringing total to 16


Gov. Brad Little announced last week that the state will remain in phase four of its reopening process, after a nearly monthlong spike in COVID-19 cases. Phase four allows for visits to senior living facilities and corrections facilities, and lets nightclubs and sporting venues open with limited capacity. It is the last stage before full reopening.

The state has reached a total of 6,370 confirmed and probable cases as of Wednedsay, and approaching 100 deaths.


Gov. Eric Holcomb announced a new stage of reopening Indiana will begin on Saturday, July 4.

Stage 4.5 will temporarily pause increases in capacity to restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, among other items.

"This virus is on the prowl," Holcomb said. "In some places it's gaining momentum. It's not slowing down." 

The new stage is set to last from July 4 through July 17. Under the governor's initial five-phase plan to reopen the state, Stage Five was set to begin in most of the state on Saturday.

– Ethan May, Indianapolis Star


Gov. Laura Kelly said Monday that she plans to sign an executive order this week in time for the Fourth of July weekend that would mandate mask use in public spaces statewide. The governor pointed to an upward trend in new coronavirus cases in the state as a reason for mandating mask use.

Although Kelly’s mask mandate will require anyone in a public space where social distancing is not possible to wear a mask, counties have the ability to fight the order and not enforce it.

The mandate follows a recommendation last week that communities remain in phase 3 of reopening, which allows for bars, nightclubs and personal care facilities such as nail salons and barber shops to remain open with reduced capacity. However, the governor cannot enforce this statewide.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 14,990 positive COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday morning. The agency has reported 272 deaths across the state.

– India Yarborough and Brianna Childers, The Topeka Capital-Journal  


Louisiana topped 60,000 total coronavirus cases Wednesday as the state's hospitalizations and ventilator use continued to rise. That's a reversal from less than a month ago when both were on the decline. 

Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a 28-day order last week to keep the state in phase two of reopening. Phase two allows restaurants, malls, gyms, theaters, museums, bars and other businesses to operate at 50% capacity.

"The fact of the matter is we're not getting better; we're getting worse," Edwards said Friday. "Before it gets out of control we have to get better compliance."

However, he said Wednesday he won't roll back Louisiana's reopening or mandate masks for now.

The state reported 2,083 new cases Wednesday, the largest single-day total since April, for a total of 60,178.

– Greg Hilburn, Monroe News-Star


A week after Gov. Janet Mills indefinitely postponed the reopening of indoor bar service, she issued a mandate requiring restaurants, stores and other businesses in the city's southern and coastal regions to enforce mask-wearing.

According to the Portland Press Herald, Mills said was necessary to deal with an uptick in cases in those areas after "they lifted restrictions dramatically."

More venues in the state, including movie theaters and museums, reopened Wednesday as part of its third phase of reopening – with a 50-person cap and a checklist of requirements.

As of Tuesday, the state has registered a total of 3,253 cases and 105 deaths. No new deaths were reported.


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday closed indoor bar service in south and central Michigan, saying the step was needed to control an increase in the spread of the coronavirus.

The change takes effect at 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Only in the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula can indoor bar service remain open, under her order.

The governor also signed a package of bills allowing cocktails-to-go at bars and restaurants, which she said would help these businesses serve more Michiganders during this time. 

– Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press


Gov. Steve Sisolak will sign an emergency directive extending phase two of the state’s COVID-19 recovery plan through the end of July, according to a Monday news release from the governor’s office. Churches, salons, bars and gyms, all at limited capacity, were part of the state's second phase.

The move fulfills a promise Sisolak made last week, when he announced a statewide mask-wearing mandate and said “any discussion of entering phase three will be tabled” until further notice.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nevada hospitals has reached 454 cases as of Wednesday, the highest mark since the outbreak began. The known number of Nevadans who have tested positive for COVID-19 reached 19,101 on Wednesday, along with 511 deaths.

– Brett McGinness, Jenny Kane and Marcella Corona, Reno Gazette Journal

New Mexico

Following trends in other states, especially in neighboring Arizona and Texas, New Mexico health officials announced Wednesday that COVID-19 transmission is rising in every region of the state. 

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said that as a result, the state will pause the next phase in reopening businesses that have been closed or are operating under restrictions, and the state would begin to enforce mask-wearing in public. Violators could be fined $100. 

The announcements came as the state registered 500 deaths from COVID-19. Another 130 cases were announced Wednesday, bringing the total to 12,276.

– Algernon D'Ammassa, Las Cruces Sun-News

New Jersey

Indoor dining in New Jersey will not come back Thursday after all, a major blow to an industry that has struggled to survive since the coronavirus outbreak began in March.

Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday that after seeing a spike in coronavirus cases in states that have reopened indoor dining, he is postponing its return indefinitely. Murphy said he does not anticipate allowing restaurants to reopen indoor dining for weeks.

"It brings me no joy to do this, but we have no choice," he said.

As of Tuesday, the state has 171,928 confirmed cases and 13,224 confirmed deaths.

— Terrence T. McDonald,

North Carolina

Gov. Roy Cooper moved to extend its current reopening phase for another three weeks, through July 17, rather than reopen further. The state is adding a new requirement that people wear face coverings in most public spaces.

Cooper announced that he would not address reopening plans for the 2020-21 school year, which had been planned Wednesday.

Cooper vetoed another attempt by Republican legislators to accelerate the state's reopening. 

North Carolina COVID-19 hospitalizations on Tuesday were the second highest since the novel coronavirus pandemic started, with 908 people. The state has registered 64,670 cases, with 1,343 deaths.

– Todd Runkle and Mackenzie Wicker, Asheville Citizen Times; Brian Wicker, USA TODAY Network


Gov. Tom Wolf announced Wednesday that masks are now mandatory "whenever anyone leaves home."

The decision will only permit "limited exceptions," and anyone found violating the order will "be tasked with education" by officials or law enforcement.

The state currently has 87,242 cases and 6,687 deaths. Per the Philadelphia Inquirer, Wednesday showed the largest one-day increase in cases in the past month.

“It is essential that Pennsylvanians wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the state's Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said in a release.

“While cases increase in some areas, we cannot become complacent. My mask protects you, and your mask protects me. Wearing a mask shows that you care about others, and that you are committed to protecting the lives of those around you.”


As cases of coronavirus continue to soar in Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee extended his state of emergency declaration on Monday, along with a host of other provisions that were set to expire this week.

Tennessee will remain in a state of emergency until at least Aug. 29, according to Lee's latest order. The state of emergency expanded access to telehealth services, allowed restaurants to offer take-out and delivery alcohol services and eased access to unemployment benefits. 

As of Tuesday, Tennessee has had at least 43,515 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, 604 deaths and more than 2,600 hospitalizations since the outbreak began. The latest figures show the largest single-day increase the state has seen yet, with 1,806 new cases on Wednesday.

– Joel Ebert, Natalie Neysa Alund and Brinley Hineman Nashville Tennessean 


Rolling back an aggressive reopening process, Gov. Greg Abbott paused plans for the state last week. He closed Texas bars and limited restaurant occupancy, leading to a lawsuit from a state group, and prohibited elective surgeries.

His restrictions were in sharp contrast to Lt. Gov Dan Patrick, who in a Tuesday evening interview on Fox News said he will no longer listen to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

State health officials reported more than 8,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, a record for the state and about 1,000 more than the previous record set the day before.

Hospitalizations have been climbing over the last month. Almost 7,000 people were hospitalized throughout the state on Wednesday, a new high. 

– Nicole Cobler, Austin American-Statesman


Troubling numbers prompted Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to mandate masks at all state facilities last week. Earlier this month, he announced a pause in reopening.

The state ordered 500,000 masks and planned to send them to teachers and students for the upcoming school year, according to KSL-TV in Salt Lake City.

The state has counted 22,716 total cases as of Wednesday.

– The Spectrum


While Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday that the state would begin its third phase of reopening, he has decided to prohibit bar seating as of Wednesday morning.

Restaurants and bars may still be able to house guests as long as they're eating at tables 6 feet apart, per a statement from the governor's office. “I am watching what is happening in other states — we are taking a cautious approach as we enter Phase Three and maintaining the current restrictions on bar areas,” Northam said in the release.

Phase three allows businesses to increase capacity to 75% and other entertainment sites to 50%. As of Wednesday, Virginia has over 63,000 total cases of COVID-19, with just over 6,200 total hospitalizations and nearly 1,800 deaths.


Days after Gov. Jay Inslee delayed phase four of reopening amid a surge in coronavirus cases, he announced a short-term extension to the state's "Safe Start" emergency guidelines through at least next Wednesday. 

Per the Seattle Times, this announcement comes "in anticipation  of additional modifications" set to come early next week.

As of Wednesday, 17 of Washington state’s 39 counties had moved into phase three of Inslee’s four-part coronavirus recovery plan, which allows for gatherings of no more than 50 people, more outdoor recreation, and theaters, museums.

As of Thursday, 17 of Washington state’s 39 counties had moved into phase three of Inslee’s four-part coronavirus recovery plan, which allows for gatherings of no more than 50 people, more outdoor recreation, and theaters, museums.

Washington had more than 33,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday evening, according to a tally by the state's Department of Health.

– Austen Macalus, Kitsap Sun

Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: At least 21 states pause reopening or take new steps to limit the spread of COVID-19

Gallery: 9 states and cities are pausing or reversing their reopenings as coronavirus cases spike — here's how their plans are changing (Business Insider)



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