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.
“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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Biden spends $1.65 trillion taxpayer dollars while vacationing in St. Croix
While vacationing in the island of St. Croix for the holidays, President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law the massive $1.65 omnibus spending package.
The whopping 4,155 pages was supported by only nine House Republicans and 13 Senate Republicans. Majority of criticism from the GOP includes concerns that the bill was rushed and crammed with wasteful spending by a lame-duck Democratic-dominated Congress. The recourse will punish American families by adding to the national debt and exacerbate inflation.
“Today, I signed the bipartisan omnibus bill, ending a year of historic progress. It’ll invest in medical research, safety, veteran health care, disaster recovery, VAWA funding — and gets crucial assistance to Ukraine,” Biden tweeted. “Looking forward to more in 2023.”
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell “praised the bill on the grounds that it represents a real decrease in discretionary spending. He presented it as a positive that nondefense spending jumped by only 5.5 percent, from $730 billion to $772.5 billion, amid an inflation rate of 7.1 percent” writes National Review.
“The bipartisan government-funding bill that Senators Shelby and Leahy have finished negotiating does exactly the opposite of what the Biden administration first proposed,” he said. “This bill provides a substantial real-dollar increase to the defense baseline . . . and a substantial real-dollar cut to the non-defense, non-veterans baseline,” McConnell insisted as negotiations were wrapping up.
House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, however, stated his strong disapproval of the bill before it even advanced. Affirming a letter from 13 House Republicans, McCarthy demanded the bill is reckless, irresponsible, and a “purposeful refusal to secure and defend our borders.”
For example, it failed to incorporate protections for Title 42, the pandemic policy that allows illegal immigrants to be expelled on a public-health basis, which currently hangs in the balance at the Supreme Court.
National Review adds, “The funding in the bill, which averted a federal government shutdown before the new year, includes an allocation of $45 billion in defense assistance to Ukraine. Some Republican priorities, such as Electoral Count Act reform and a bigger military budget, were nested in with Democratic appropriations, such as increased funding for Medicaid and food stamps.”
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