- States and cities across the US including New Jersey, Philadelphia, and California have tightened their COVID-19 restrictions amid a third wave of the virus.
- Most of the restrictions focus on restricting indoor gatherings between people from multiple households.
- Some states and cities have issued new rules affecting gyms, schools, and restaurants.
- Some have also issued revised mask mandates.
- New states to enforce tougher rules include California, Iowa, and New Jersey, while Kansas City, Missouri and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania have announced their own restrictions.
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States and cities across the US have tightened their COVID-19 restrictions as cases continue to spiral.
The country is in the midst of a third wave of the virus, and state authorities are reintroducing restrictions to curb the impact on local health services.
New states to enforce tougher rules include California, Iowa, and New Jersey. The cities of Kansas City, Missouri and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania have also announced their own restrictions.
Some states have introduced dining curfews or blanket bans on on-site dining, while others have issued mask mandates or ordered that all high school teaching must be brought online.
In the week to November 16, the US recorded 1 million new COVID-19 cases, including 170,333 on Friday alone, breaking the single-day count for the fourth day in a row, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project.
This has brought total US cases to 11 million â€” almost 20% of all worldwide cases recorded since the first case of the virus in late 2019. It is the world’s highest tally.
California governor Gavin Newsom announced Monday that the state is “pulling an emergency brake” after witnessing “alarming increases” in COVID-19 cases.
Counties representing more than 94% of the state’s population will move into California’s most restrictive tier, which means that some indoor gatherings, such as for dining, are now banned.
Newsom also warned he may impose a curfew after the state recorded its fastest increase seen since the start of the pandemic. State officials told residents not to meet with people from other households.
In San Francisco, non-essential offices have to close. Gyms can stay open, but are restricted to 10% capacity.
After new daily cases and hospitalizations in Iowa doubled in two weeks, its governor Kim Reynolds introduced tighter restrictions Monday, including a limited mask mandate.
From Tuesday, residents will have to wear masks when they are indoors – but this only applies to people spending 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of someone from a different household.
Reynolds also imposed a 10 p.m. curfew on restaurants and bars, and limited indoor gatherings, including weddings and funerals, to 15 people.
Gyms are allowed to stay open, but group fitness activities are banned.
After New Jersey’s total cases reached 280,000 Monday, Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order retightening restrictions on gatherings.
From Tuesday, indoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people. However, indoor religious and political events, weddings, and funerals can continue under rules previously issues by the state, which limit attendees to 25% of a room’s capacity, up to 150 people.
On Saturday and Sunday, New Jersey recorded the first- and second-highest daily counts of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
Kansas City, Missouri
From Friday, Kansas City is reducing restaurant capacity and banning indoor gatherings of more than 10 people.
Announcing the restrictions on Monday, Mayor Quinton Lucas said the city had reached its “greatest crisis moment” since the start of the pandemic.
Lucas also issued a 10 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants and halved their capacity. Diners must wear masks at all times, except for when eating or drinking, and must remain seated.
Fitness and recreational facilities, including gyms, are also limited to half capacity and covered by a mask mandate.
On Monday, New Mexico reintroduced its highest level of restrictions and urged people to only leave the house if essential during a two-week lockdown.
Essential businesses can operate at a limited capacity, but all other businesses and activities must close. Essential stores must follow a 10 p.m. curfew.
On-site dining is banned, although food outlets can still offer delivery or curbside collection.
“We face a life-or-death situation and we cannot fail to act,”said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
On Sunday, the state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations reached a “frightening record high”, Grisham said.
North Dakota governor Doug Burgum’s executive order that limits indoor gatherings came into effect Monday.
Burgum issued a 10 p.m. curfew for all bars and places serving food, though they are allowed to operate take-out, curbside, and delivery services outside of these hours. In-person dining is limited to 50% capacity.
Event venues are limited to 25% capacity and sports activities have heavy restrictions.
A mask mandate also came into effect Friday. The State Health Officer order mandates residents to wear face coverings in indoor businesses and indoor public settings, as well as outdoor public settings where physical distancing isn’t possible.
The state introduced the measures to ensure hospitals aren’t overloaded and to keep schools and the economy open.
From Friday, high schools, museums, indoor dining, and gyms in Philadelphia must close, and indoor gatherings with people from more than one household are banned.
This includes weddings and funerals.
The city announced the new restrictions on Friday. Unlike most other state and city lockdown measures announced over the past week, which generally last a month or less, Philadelphia’s will be in place until the new year.
High schools and colleges must move to online instruction only. Food outlets will no longer be able to offer indoor dining, but can still offer take-out, delivery, and outdoor dining.
Entertainment and recreational venues such as theatres, movie theatres, museums, libraries, and casinos have to shut.
Gyms and indoor exercise classes will also have to close, although exercise groups and classes will be allowed to continue outdoors.
Stores and beauty salons can stay open at limited capacity, but all visitors have to wear a mask.
Washington’s four-week partial lockdown started on Tuesday.
Over the weekend, Washington reported more than 2,000 cases a day, and average cases in the state have doubled over the past two weeks.
“This spike puts us in a more dangerous a position as we were in March,” Governor Jay Inslee said during a press conference Sunday.
“And it means, unfortunately, the time has come to reinstate restrictions on activities statewide to preserve the public’s well-being, and to save lives.”
Leisure and entertainment facilities including gyms, movie theatres, and museums have to close.
Stores can remain open, but only at 25% capacity.
From Wednesday, restaurants and bars will also no longer be able to offer dine-in services. Diners can eat outside, but only five are allowed per table.
Michigan is entering a three-week partial lockdown from Wednesday.
Restaurants won’t be allowed to offer indoor dining, colleges and high schools must shift to online learning, and movie theatres and casinos have to shut.
Gyms and swimming pools will remain open for individual exercise at 25% capacity, but group exercise classes will be banned.
However, meeting outside as a group of up to 25, dining outdoors, and visiting parks will still be allowed.
Colleges and high schools must end all in-person teaching, but elementary and middle schools can remain open.
On November 10, the state recorded 57 COVID-19 deaths – the highest daily total since early May.
“If we don’t act now, thousands more will die, and our hospitals will continue to be overwhelmed,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said.