Biden, Northam Celebrate New COVID-19 Case Lows, End of Virginia’s Social Distancing and Capacity Restrictions

Virginia’s COVID-19 social distancing and capacity restrictions ended Friday morning at midnight. On Friday afternoon, President Joe Biden and Governor Ralph Northam highlighted Virginia’s progress on COVID-19 case numbers and vaccinations in a stop at Sportrock Climbing Center in Alexandria.

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Whitmer’s Administration Rescinds COVID Rule She Broke Days Earlier

Gov. Whitmer at restaurant with large group

Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration has rescinded the rule that Whitmer broke over the weekend.

Whitmer apologized Sunday after photos posted over the weekend showed her dining with at least a dozen others at The Landshark Bar & Grill in East Lansing, Michigan. Breitbart News first reported the news on Sunday.

Michigan’s May 15 order formerly mandated that no more than six people may be seated at the same table, and the governor has faced heavy criticism throughout the pandemic for strict COVID restrictions that have forced many Michigan restaurants and businesses to shutter their doors.

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Georgia Universities Drop Mask Mandates for Vaccinated Students

Woman sitting alone with a mask on.

The University System of Georgia announced that it plans to drop mask mandates for fully vaccinated students and employees in the Fall 2021 semester, marking a return to relative normalcy. 

“Fully vaccinated individuals can resume campus classes and other activities without wearing a mask. Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to continue wearing a face covering while inside campus facilities,” a press release said. 

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Fully-Vaccinated Virginians No Longer Need Masks in Most Settings

Fully-vaccinated Virginians no longer need to wear masks in most places, including indoors. On Friday, Governor Ralph Northam updated his mask mandate, effective Saturday, to align with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance released Thursday.

“Virginians have been working hard, and we are seeing the results in our strong vaccine numbers and dramatically lowered case counts,” Northam said in his announcement.

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Virginia’s COVID-19 Case Numbers, Hospitalizations Down to Spring 2020 Levels

Virginia’s COVID-19 case numbers hit a new milestone on Monday: just 336 reported cases, according to the Virginia Department of Health; the last time numbers dropped below 400 was in June and April of 2020. According to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, COVID-19 hospitalizations are low as well, with the seven-day moving average at 775 on Thursday; that number hasn’t been below 800 since late March 2020.

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DeSantis to Pardon Floridians Who Defied COVID Rules, Says He Will Grant Clemency

In a Wednesday appearance on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced that he will pardon and grant clemency to those facing legal battles for breaking mask mandates and social distancing orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

DeSantis joined Laura Ingraham along with Michael and Jillian Carnevale, who own a gym in Broward County. Last summer, the pair became a target of the Broward County authorities, according to a GoFundMe  for their legal bills. They were both arrested and their business was shut down when they refused to comply with the county’s mask mandate. 

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Northam Expects to End Virginia’s Social Distancing Requirements in June

Governor Ralph Northam anticipates ending COVID-19 social distancing and capacity restrictions on June 15. In a Thursday briefing, Northam credited vaccinations with driving COVID-19 case numbers down.

“The data gives us a very clear message. The vaccines are working,” Northam said.

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Northam Announces Relaxed Guidelines for Social Gatherings, Sports, and Restaurants Effective in May

Citing increasing numbers of vaccinated Virginians, Governor Ralph Northam announced Thursday relaxed COVID-19 restrictions to take effect May 15. The new guidelines allow 100 people at indoor social events and 250 at outdoor gatherings, up from 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Other restrictions at restaurants, entertainment, and sports venues are also relaxed.

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Michigan County Experimenting with Social Distancing Guidelines in Schools

After a damning New York Times report in which a Virginia Tech virologist said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) six-foot social distancing guidelines appeared to be pulled out of “thin air,” one Michigan county is experimenting with three feet of social distancing in schools.

“The Kent County Health Department is in the middle of a study that officials hope will reduce the social distance requirements in all pre-k through 8th grade classrooms,” a WZZM report said. “During the six-week pilot study, any student that has been within three feet of a COVID-positive student for 15 minutes or more — within 48 hours — must quarantine at home for 10 days. Before that, quarantine was triggered at a distance of six feet.”

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Wedding Venue Sues Northam For Not Allowing Expanded Capacity at Outdoor Weddings

Outdoor wedding venue Belle Garden Estate (BGE) is suing Governor Ralph Northam over Executive Order 72.  The governor has begun relaxing restrictions on outdoor activities, allowing the lower of either 1,000 people or 30 percent capacity at many outdoor venues. However, outdoor wedding venues are not included in those relaxed restrictions.

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Out-of-Court Settlement Reached to Provide Space for Virginia Legislators to Meet With Constituents

On New Years Eve, Senator Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach) struck a deal with leaders of the Virginia General Assembly that will provide space for constituents to meet with legislators near the Capitol grounds even though the Pocahontas Building and Capitol Building remain closed to outsiders due to COVID-19.

DeSteph said the out-of-court settlement was a win. “This will allow citizens, subject matter experts, and other professional staff to meet face-to-face with legislators during the upcoming regular session. This is a huge victory for the First Amendment and for open access to government for all Virginians,” the press release states.

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MTS Nutrition CEO Marc Lobliner Floats 2022 Run Against Governor Bill Lee, Discovers He’s Not Eligible

Marc Lobliner announced that he would run in 2022 against Governor Bill Lee – if not for the state’s residency requirement. According to the law, an individual must reside in the state for at least seven years prior to the gubernatorial election. Lobliner moved to Tennessee at the end of last summer.

The massive fitness influencer issued the statement in response Governor Bill Lee’s latest executive order. Since Sunday, in-person gatherings have been limited to 10 or less people. The order didn’t indicate what the punishments were if not followed. The order also “strongly urged” employers to implement remote working, and for individuals to maintain social distancing and practice health department guidelines for weddings, funerals, and worship services. The order ends in about a month, on January 19th. 

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John Rich to Host Election Night Watch Party in Downtown Nashville

Big and Rich country singer John Rich will host an election night watch party at his downtown bar, Redneck Riviera. The Tennessee Republican Party emailed invitations to the event on Monday.

Currently, President Donald Trump is favored to win Tennessee. The same holds true for Republican Bill Hagerty in his senate race against Democrat Marquita Bradshaw. 

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Governor Lee Extends State of Emergency Through End of Year

Governor Bill Lee has officially extended the state of emergency for the remainder of 2020.
The executive order followed Lee’s own quarantine due to exposure from the coronavirus. The extension of the order means that Tennessee will receive further federal funding, mayors can continue to implement their own guidelines, and government officials can continue to meet virtually.

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CDC Report Indicates Masks May Increase Chance of Infection with COVID or Other Respiratory Illnesses

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report last month in which the nearly 71 percent of individuals infected with COVID-19 reported “always” wearing their mask. This opposed to the 4 percent of infected individuals who “never” wore masks.
The number of individuals infected with COVID-19 positively correlated with the consistency of mask-wearing. The report didn’t address the possible correlation between face mask hygiene and COVID-19 infection, such as proper handling and disposal of masks. It also didn’t differentiate the respondents’ mask types.

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Arlington County Enforcing Social Distancing on Crowded Sidewalks

Arlington County is beginning enforcement of a new ordinance mandating social distancing in some of its busiest areas. For now, the law is focused on three sections in the Clarendon neighborhood, a zone with several restaurants and bars. The ordinance requires pedestrians to stay six feet away from each other and to be in groups of three or less.

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National Parks Service Approves 50,000-Person March on Washington, Will Not Enforce Masks, Social Distancing

A permit for the 57th March on Washington obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation shows that organizers anticipate around 50,000 people will attend the Washington, D.C., event Friday.

The permit for the annual march from the National Park Service grants permission to “conduct a public gathering” to Rev. Mark Thompson and the National Action Network (NAN) to commemorate the 57th March on Washington despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has led to limitations on public gatherings.

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Minnesota Department of Health to Allow Visitors into Nursing Homes at the End of August

People wanting to visit their loved ones residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities will be able to starting August 29, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced Monday.

This will be the first time visitors have been allowed into long-term care facilities since March 31.

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Health Professionals Advocate for School Reopening Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

Health professionals nationwide released statements in a Tea Party Patriots Action Second Opinion Project email on Thursday that they believe schools should reopen and that it is the safest option for kids.

The consensus among the physicians, that kids would benefit academically, socially, and health-wise from schools reopening this fall, echoes a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released on July 10 addressing the issue of schools reopening in the fall.

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Commentary: Sweden’s COVID-19 Strategy Is Quietly Becoming the World’s Strategy

Sweden’s unique approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has been drawing a great deal of scrutiny for weeks, including both admiration and criticism.

The Swedes, unlike most other nations, have eschewed the hardline approach that has led to mass economic shutdowns and skyrocketing unemployment. Restaurants, bars, public pools, libraries and most schools remain open. While the nation’s “laissez-faire” approach has drawn rebuke from some quarters, it is also beginning to draw praise.

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Using Smartphones to Gauge Social Distancing Raises Privacy Concerns

Some governments are using smartphone tracking to make sure people are following social distancing rules in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Google announced it will use its massive collection of mobile location data to measure how closely people across the globe are following government directives to remain at home.

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New Jersey City Is Deploying a Chinese Firm’s Drones to Enforce Social Distancing

by Chris White   Elizabeth, New Jersey, is using a Chinese company’s drones to police citizens who fail to employ social distancing guidelines. Past reports suggest the drones are feeding China data. Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage is deploying drones from Chinese-based company DJI to warn Elizabeth citizens who are walking outdoors…

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Ohio’s Warren Police Department Asks for Informants to Identify Mourners in Vigil for Murder Victim So They May Be Punished

The mayor and police of Warren, Ohio, have decided it is illegal to hold vigils to mourn for murder victims, and they have been encouraging citizens to become informants to help them punish the participants.

Last week, the Warren Police Department posted pictures of mourners on its Facebook page and asking people to identify them.

We are asking for your assistance in identifying the following individuals that were involved in a gathering in the 1000 block of Kenmore SE on Saturday-April 11th, 2020. If anyone has any additional information and/or video that may be of assistance, please forward it to the Warren Police Department

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Tennessee is Close to Containing COVID-19 But Needs to See Continued Drop in Cases as Well as Better Testing and Tracing, Vanderbilt Modelers Say

A model by Vanderbilt University Medical Center says social distancing has brought Tennessee close to — but not close enough to — the point at which COVID-19 is being contained.

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Colorado Dad Handcuffed in Front of Young Daughter for Allegedly Violating ‘Social Distancing’ Rules

A father was arrested and cuffed in front of his 6-year-old daughter at a park in Brighton, Colorado, Sunday afternoon, after he allegedly violated the state’s social distancing guidelines and refused to show his identification to the police.

Now Matt Mooney, 33, thinks the police owe him an apology, according to FOX31.

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Governor Walz Declares Peacetime Emergency, COVID-19 Spreads to Rural Counties

Health officials identified seven new cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota Saturday morning, including the first case in a rural county.

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