COVID-19: Restrictions return in the United States amid the outbreak of the virus

From New York to Seattle, American states and metropolises have reintroduced restrictions in recent days in an attempt to stem the blaze of the coronavirus: the number of cases identified in the United States now exceeds 11 million, with more than 246,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, on November 26, usually the occasion of large family reunions, a series of measures have been announced, which vary greatly from state to state, without going as far as confinement except in New Mexico.

Notable difference from the spring: a majority of states – 31 out of 50, including states with Republican governors generally more hostile to restrictions than Democrats – now require masks. Including very rural North Dakota, where Republican Doug Burgum imposed the measure on Saturday after refusing for a long time.

Summary of the main measures:

New Mexico

Democratic Governor Michelle Grisham instituted a two-week confinement order as of Monday: residents are called upon to stay at home except for essential travel, and only businesses deemed essential remain open.


Illinois has not imposed lockdown, but its main metropolis – Chicago, the third largest city in the United States – has done so: its inhabitants are called to stay at home from this Monday and for 30 days, except for essential travel.


Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Sunday announced the closure of high schools and universities for three weeks, forcing online education to all but the youngest.

Cinemas and dining rooms are closed, group gym classes prohibited, and those who can must work remotely. But shops, hairdressers and other “personal services” remain open.

Washington state

In this state, which was the first in the United States to deplore cases of coronavirus at the start of the year, Democratic Governor Jay Inslee announced a series of restrictions starting this Tuesday and until December 14.

In particular, residents will no longer be able to receive home if the visitor (s) have not gone into isolation at least seven days before and have not tested negative in the 48 hours preceding the visit.

However, schools and universities are exempt from new restrictions.


Twelve counties – including Los Angeles – have been classified as a maximum restriction zone by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, with most indoor business activities either closed or limited to 25% of capacity.

Schools can only open at 25% of their capacity and only receive students deemed to have priority.


Even though masks are now mandatory, most businesses remain open in this state – the second most populous after California – even though it recorded more than 10,000 new cases per day on average last week. The situation is particularly worrying in El Paso, where mobile mortuaries are to be deployed.

New Jersey

In the northeast of the country, long spared by the resurgence of the epidemic, restrictions are also back, but remain limited compared to the peak in spring. Especially in New Jersey, which this weekend exploded the records of new contaminations, with more than 4,500 new cases identified on Sunday.

Governor Phil Murphy on Monday announced a 10-person limit for indoor gatherings, and 25% capacity limits for venues hosting weddings, religious services … But outdoor gatherings can still reach 150 people.

New York

In New York, where the test positivity rate remains below 3%, Governor Andrew Cuomo has since Friday imposed a curfew on bars and restaurants, which must close at 10 p.m.

In New York City itself, public schools remain open, but could close overnight. The mayor reiterated on Monday that, in line with commitments made to teachers and staff unions, he would close them if the seven-day average positivity rate exceeded 3%.

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