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Dem governors begin lifting covid restrictions

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Gavin Newsom California Governor

A number of states across the United States are beginning to loosen their respective’ COVID-19 restrictions.

California on Monday announced that a regional stay-at-home order is being lifted, saying that there are “positive signs” about the spread of the coronavirus.

Back in March, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) instituted the first statewide shutdown. This most recent regional stay-at-home order was enacted back in early December.

RELATED: Companies linked to Gov. Newsom received nearly $3 million in PPP loans

“Nearly all” of the regions that were previously affected by a stay-at-home order will return to the Golden State’s tier system for COVID-19 restrictions in the most extreme “purple” tier, a release by the California Department of Public Health reported. “Most indoor businesses are closed” in that tier, but places of worship and many outdoor businesses are allowed to open, albeit with modifications, according to Fox News.

As the number coronavirus cases has been plateauing in New York State after the holiday travel season, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Monday that New Yorkers should expect to see some restrictions be lifted later this week, with the governor stating he expects to make an announcement in the middle of the week.

“From the increased celebrations we believe [coronavirus cases] went up […] we believe we’re seeing a flattening and reduction,”’ Cuomo said during a Monday press briefing. “When [cases] are down, open up the valve, allow more economic activity through the pipes.”

This comes after Cuomo reversed course earlier this month and said publicly that “we must reopen the economy.”

“We simply cannot stay closed until the vaccine hits critical mass,” he tweeted on January 11. “The cost is too high. We will have nothing left to open. We must reopen the economy, but we must do it smartly and safely.”

On Monday, public health officials in Illinois announced that indoor dining would return to four counties on Tuesday as new case numbers stagnate, according to WGN9 Chicago.

This also comes as teachers in Chicago public schools on Sunday voted against returning to in-person classes after the school district had voted in favor of resuming in-person learning.

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) said that its members “chose safety” in its ongoing dispute with Chicago Public Schools (CPS), according to NBC News.

“We are not negotiating class size, benefits or staffing; we are bargaining for minimal risk of COVID-19 infection, and minimal risk of death,” the union said.

While not a U.S. state, starting this past Friday, the District of Columbia has allowed for the return of indoor dining in the nation’s capital, with them permitting 25% capacity for indoor restaurants and bars.

Last Wednesday after President Joe Biden was sworn in, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser‘s (D) chief of staff, John Falcicchio, announced that the removal of certain barriers and fencing around the city after the high-security inauguration ceremony would correspond with the end of the “Inauguration Phase” of indoor dining.

“That aligns with the end of the Inauguration Pause on indoor dining which is set to expire on Friday, January 22, at 5 am,” Falcicchio tweeted. Restaurants will then be able to return to 25% indoor.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Nation

White House Confirms It Is Looking Into Shutting Down Oil Pipeline Amid Fuel Crisis

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Gas Pipeline

The Biden administration confirmed that it is considering shutting down an oil pipeline in Michigan despite the ongoing fuel crisis in the country.

“Revoking the permits for the [Line 5] pipeline that delivers oil from western Canada across Wisconsin, the Great Lakes and Michigan and into Ontario, would please environmentalists who have urged the White House to block fossil fuel infrastructure, but it would aggravate a rift with Canada and could exacerbate a spike in energy prices that Republicans are already using as a political weapon,” Politico Pro reported. “Killing a pipeline while U.S. gasoline prices are the highest in years could be political poison for Biden, who has seen his approval rating crash in recent months.”

Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked about the report during Monday’s press briefing, asking, “why is the administration now considering shutting down the Line 5 pipeline from Canada to Michigan?”

“So, Peter, that is inaccurate,” Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed. “That is not right. So, any reporting indicating that some decision has been made, again, is not accurate. … So, again, I would — it is inaccurate what you just stated, but —”

“What’s inaccurate?” Doocy asked.

“The reporting about us wanting to shut down the Line 5,” Jean-Pierre said.

“I didn’t say ‘wanting.’  I said, is it being studied right now?  Is the administration studying the impact of shutting down the Line 5?”

“Yeah. Yes, we are. We are,” Jean-Pierre admitted.

 

The news comes as gas prices have reached their highest since 2014, when Biden was vice president, and are currently about 50% higher than they were when Biden entered office.

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