With Covid-19 cases rising across US, here’s a look at what restrictions are being imposed to curb the spread

California health officials announced a regional stay-at-home order that will be triggered if ICU capacity drops below 15% in a given region

                            With Covid-19 cases rising across US, here’s a look at what restrictions are being imposed to curb the spread
(Getty Images)

The US recorded its highest daily number of coronavirus deaths this week as the number of people admitted to hospital with Covid-19 exceeded 100,000 for the first time since the pandemic started. According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, 2,804 new deaths were recorded on December 2, even as the total number of new cases crossed 200,000. An estimated 100,667 coronavirus patients were in US hospitals on December 3, according to the Covid Tracking Project. 

To tackle the alarming rise and reduce transmission, many states and areas in the US have announced imposed new measures and restrictions.

Alaska: Local communities in Alaska are allowed to enact travel restrictions starting November 16 to minimize the spread of Covid-19. Some other travel requirements, some involving recommendations on testing, also went into effect on November 21.

California: California health officials announced on December 3 a regional stay-at-home order that will be triggered if intensive care unit (ICU) capacity drops below 15% in a given region. It prohibits private gatherings of any size, closes sector operations except for critical infrastructure and retail, and requires 100% masking and physical distancing in all others. The order will go into effect within 24 hours in regions with less than 15% ICU availability. The order will remain in effect for at least 3 weeks and, after that period, will be lifted when a region’s projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15%. This will be assessed weekly after the initial 3 week period. 

State health officials are tracking the state by five regions: Northern California, Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. No regions currently meet this threshold but some are projected to within the next week. Residents are required to stay at home as much as possible and minimize mixing to reduce unnecessary exposure, while still being able to do important things like go to the doctor, buy groceries, pick up, take out, go on a hike, or worship outdoors. K-12 schools that are already open can remain open and retailers can operate indoors at no more than 20% capacity to reduce exposure risk.

As of November 21, Californians in counties with widespread infections have been directed to stop non-essential activities between 10 pm and 5 am.  

Colorado: Counties in the red level in Colorado will be considered at severe risk and will be subject to restrictions, which include temporarily closing indoor dining. Restaurants and coffee shops can still offer take out and delivery, and they can offer outdoor dining with a last call at 8 pm, but only to customers in groups with members of their own household. Bars remain closed.  

Gyms can operate at 10% capacity or allow up to 10 people per room with reservations. They can also operate outdoors in groups of up to 10 people. In-person personal gatherings are not permitted. While the order says that all gatherings between households of any size in any location, public or private should not be taking place while your county is in the severe risk phase, at-risk populations have been advised to stay at home.

About 100,667 coronavirus patients were in US hospitals on December 3 (Getty Images)

Connecticut: Governor Ned Lamont rolled back Connecticut’s reopening plans on November 6, which implies a 10 pm closing time for restaurants, entertainment venues like movie theaters or bowling alleys, and indoor and outdoor events. At restaurants, the last service for in-person dining is 9.30 pm, but they can stay open for takeout and delivery. Diners that operate 24 hours normally can reopen for indoor dining at 5 am. 

Delaware: The new restrictions, which took effect at 8 am on November 23, stipulates that indoor gatherings in homes must be capped at no more than 10 people, while indoor gatherings outside of homes must be limited to 30% of the venue’s stated fire capacity, up to a cap of 50 people. This includes all events, such as weddings, funerals, services in houses of worship, performances, political gatherings, and events in public spaces including fire halls.

Outdoor public gatherings are limited to 50 people. Up to 250 may be allowed with a plan approved by the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH). Restaurants must operate at no more than 30 percent of fire capacity indoors, with allowances for additional outdoor seating.

District of Columbia: Outdoor gatherings have been limited to 25 people and indoor gatherings to 10 people. 

Illinois: Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) on November 17 announced additional “coronavirus resurgence mitigations” will take effect in every region across the state in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. It aims to limit gatherings and encourages residents to stay home as much as possible and follow proper safety measures when out in public. 

Kentucky: Governor Andy Beshear unveiled wide-ranging restrictions, from shutting down in-person learning at schools to eliminating indoor seating at restaurants.

Los Angeles County: Los Angeles county has imposed a three-week stop to outdoor dining and issued a broader stay-home order. “Subject only to the exceptions outlined in this order, all persons living within the City of Los Angeles are hereby ordered to remain in their homes,” the December 2 order noted. 

All public and private gatherings of any number of people from more than one household are prohibited, except for outdoor faith-based services. Residents have been asked to stay home, except to travel to and from essential and permitted activities. With some exceptions, all businesses within Los Angeles have been asked to stop operations that require in-person attendance by workers at a workplace.

Maine: From November 20 to December 6, all outdoor and indoor amusement venues, movie theaters, performing arts venues, casinos, and businesses that provide seated food and drink service, including social clubs, restaurants, and bars and tasting rooms currently open for outdoor service, will close for the night by 9 pm. This is designed to limit extended gatherings at a time when many students and family members are returning to Maine and at a time when social gatherings are more common, both of which will likely lead to more Covid-19 transmission, explains the order.

Massachusetts: Beginning November 6, all residents of Massachusetts are advised to stay home between the hours of 10 pm and 5 am. 

Minnesota: In-person social gatherings with people outside the household are prohibited, and bars and restaurants will only be allowed to do take-out and delivery service. Gyms, fitness centers, entertainment, and event spaces will be shut, and adult and youth sports will be paused. But retail businesses, salons, and places of worship may continue to operate with proper precautions in place. The order is effective from November 20 through December 18. For the four weeks, celebrations, events, activities, and other social gatherings, are not allowed. 

In Minnesota, gyms, fitness centers, entertainment, and event spaces are expected to remain closed till December 18 (Getty Images)

Nevada: A “statewide pause” with new restrictions were announced on November 22. They will go into effect on November 24 and last three weeks. Private social gatherings are restricted to 10 people or fewer from no more than 2 households, whether indoors or outdoors. Restaurants, bars, gyms, fitness and dance studios, casinos, public gatherings, museums, zoos, churches, libraries, and other businesses are limited to a 25% capacity. 

Oregon: Governor Kate Brown announced on December 1 that counties that are facing the extreme risk of virus spread will need to continue with strict health and safety measures, similar to the two-week freeze. 

Rhode Island: Governor Gina Raimondo announced a two-week ‘pause’ that will run from November 30 to December 13. In-person colleges, universities, bars, recreational areas, and indoor sporting and gymnasium venues are to be closed while crowding restrictions will reduce capacity at high schools, indoor dining, retail, and places of worship.

Washington: On November 15, Governor Jay Inslee announced a four-week statewide set of restrictions, which will remain in effect until December 14. All K-12/higher education, child care, and courts and court-related proceedings are exempt from it.

Indoor gatherings with people outside the household will be prohibited unless they quarantine for 14 days before the social gathering or quarantine for the seven days prior to the gathering, and receive a negative Covid-19 test result no more than 48-hours before the gathering. Outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than five people. For long-term care facilities, only outdoor visits will be allowed. Indoor visits may be permitted for essential support persons or end-of-life care.

Restaurants and bars will be closed for indoor service, with to-go services and restricted outdoor dining allowed. In-store retail, grocery stores, and personal services are limited to 25% of occupancy and must close any congregate areas. Indoor service will be closed at fitness facilities and gyms, and youth and adult amateur sporting activities are limited to outdoors only with facial coverings. Bowling alleys, museums, zoos, aquariums, and movie theaters will be closed for indoor services.

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