These States Locking Down Because of COVID
With coronavirus cases rising nationwide—and hospitalizations reaching an all-time high of 60,000—health experts worry that some states might soon be overwhelmed by the demand for medical resources and hospital beds. In an attempt to stem the tide, five states have issued new restrictions on business openings, mask wearing and gatherings, some of which may be coming to a town near you. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
This state has seen its caseload rise for 16 consecutive days. On Tuesday Gov. Kim Reynolds announced a proclamation requiring that masks be worn at every social, community, recreational, leisure or sporting gathering with more than 25 people indoors or 100 people outdoors. Groups of people attending events are limited to eight, and any event involving more than 10 people must ensure there's six feet of social distancing.
On Tuesday, Gov. Tim Walz ordered that all indoor and outdoor gatherings be limited to ten people, and all social gatherings limited to members of three households or less. Bars and restaurants must also close by 10 pm and are limited to 50% capacity.
Walz noted that more than 70% of COVID-19 outbreaks in the state from June to November have been linked to weddings, private gatherings, and late nights at bars and restaurants.
"I feel like the guy in Footloose, no dancing, no fun, no whatever," said Walz. "That is not my intention. My intention is to keep you safe so you can all dance a lot longer, and that our neighbors don't put them at risk. But I recognize this is painful, it's no fun."
On Tuesday, Gov. Phil Murphy enacted more restrictions amid the state's surging caseload, requiring all non-essential businesses to close at 8 pm each night. Starting Thursday, all indoor spaces must close by 10pm. Bar seating will no longer be allowed, but restaurants can set up outdoor "dining bubbles" for patrons.
Murphy said the new restaurant rules were caused by "restaurants turning into clubs as the night wears on … they were just becoming spreading events."
He added: "We know that people are getting sloppy in and around bars as the night wears on. I can guess why that is the case. It's unequivocal and we are going to put a line in the sand on that."
Saying the state has "crossed over into the danger zone," Gov. Larry Hogan tightened restrictions on Tuesday for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. Starting 5pm Wednesday, restaurants' indoor dining capacity will be capped at 50 percent. A new health advisory recommends a 25-person limit on indoor gatherings, and a travel advisory recommends avoiding nonessential travel to 35 states with high COVID-19 rates.
In an online speech Tuesday, Gov. Tony Evers announced an executive order urging Wisconsin residents to stay at home as much as possible and to cancel gatherings of any size. Although noncompliance carries no legal penalty, Evers said the situation in the state was serious. "The crisis is urgent," said Evers. "It's not safe to go out, it's not safe to have others over — it's just not safe. And it might not be safe for a while yet. So, please, cancel the happy hours, dinner parties, sleepovers and playdates at your home. And if a friend or family member invites you over, offer to hang out virtually instead."
How to Avoid Death During the Pandemic
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: 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.