May 11, 2020

State-By-State Information On Reopening And Aid Programs

As Connecting the Dots has noted previously, while the U.S. government has provided ample guidance about actions governors should take in the face of COVID-19, it is the chief executives in each state who will decide when to open their respective state’s economy. So far, at least 11 U.S. states and territories have lifted stay at home orders, though even these states still require or recommend some form of social distancing standard.

To help businesses navigate the various state-based public health guidance, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) has launched a state-by-state interactive map that contains critical information for U.S. businesses in the states where governors have begun to reopen local economies. The National Association of Manufacturers also is tracking state orders.

States often are taking vastly different approaches to public health and safety guidance, including when it comes to:

  • Health Screening. In many states, employers are required or requested to conduct a health screening of employees. In some states, this is to be done at the beginning of each shift, in others at the beginning and the end. In some states, this involves temperature checks, in others health questionnaires.
  • Social Distancing. While most states call for six feet of separation, some layer on other requirements including occupancy limits and limits on the size of gatherings.
  • Protective Gear. In some states, masks are suggested, in others they are required. States also differ when it comes to how individuals must wear this gear.

To attempt to guide states’ decisions, on April 22, the National Governors Association (NGA) released its Roadmap to Recovery: A Public Health Guide for Governors. This document outlines ten key steps and related operational considerations for governors to guide critical decisions in support of the public’s health and well-being in the weeks and months ahead. Like federal guidance, the NGA’s document is merely a suggestion for governors to take into account.

States also continue to help businesses that are ailing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant Thornton has an overview of COVID-19-related tax changes enacted in the U.S. states. Click here to access that report, and here. Thomas also is tracking all state tax relief and loan programs available to small businesses. Click here to review that information.