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COVID-19 Updates for the U.S. Retail and Real Estate Industry

With numerous 'states of emergency' being declared across the country – providing governors and their staff flexibility to react to the constantly changing conditions resulting from COVID-19 – this page summarizes the actions taken by states and localities.

As this situation is rapidly evolving, we encourage you to visit the web pages of the state government that you are researching or to contact your governors’ offices or local government agencies


Sept. 1:  Alabama’s safer at home order, which includes the mandatory use of face masks in public, has been through Oct. 2.


Sept. 8: Anchorage movie theaters are reopening with pandemic precautions in place.


Sept. 10: Pandemic resources and guidelines are available online.


August 14: Gov. Hutchinson has extended the state of emergency due to COVID-19 through October 14. The public health order requiring individuals to wear face coverings in public places has also been extended to October 14.


Sept. 20: Gov. Newsom signed SB 1383. This measure provides that no employer, regardless of the number of employees it employs, may discharge or in any way discriminate against an employee who is a parent of one or more children of the age to attend kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, inclusive, or a childcare provider, for taking time off from work to address a school or childcare provider closure or unavailability due to a state of emergency declared by a federal, state, or local government agency. He also signed AB 685. This measure requires employers to provide notifications to employees about potential COVID-19 exposure.

Sept. 12: Gov. Newsom and the California Department of Public Health released new guidelines for social gathering. It applies to public and private gatherings and other gatherings not covered by existing sector guidance.

Sept. 10: Map shows which counties can, can't reopen under Newsom's new 4-tier system.


Sept. 21: Gov. Polis has extended the Safer at Home Executive Order, which includes the last call order. The last call order will now take effect, based on what level a county is in according to the COVID-19 dial. Last call is 12 a.m. in Level 1, 11 p.m. in Level 2, and 10 p.m. in Level 3.

Sept. 13: Gov. Polis extended an Executive Order ordering individuals in Colorado to wear a face covering due to the presence of COVID-19.

Sept. 8: Gov. Polis extended the Protect Our Neighbors phase of reopening until October 6.


Sept. 8: Gov. Lamont signed an Executive Order that renews and extends all of the unexpired executive orders that were issued under the March 10, 2020, public health and civil preparedness emergency declarations through November 9, 2020, unless an order already has a specific expiration date, in which case the specific expiration date will remain in place.


Sept. 4: Gov. Carney issued an order combining all active COVID-19 restrictions into a single order. Governor Carney’s modification also formalizes the latest restrictions around bar service in Delaware beach communities and requires that businesses more strictly enforce face-covering requirements among their employees. Under this revised order businesses and individuals responsible for indoor and outdoor spaces open to the public are required to require customers and visitors to businesses, indoor or outdoor spaces open to the public to wear face coverings. They must post signage outlining alternatives to entering the business, indoor or outdoor space open to the public without a face covering (i.e. curbside pickup, in-person appointment or appointment by video or phone). Signage must include contact information for customers in need of alternative accommodation.

District of Columbia

Sept. 21: Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the investment of $4 million through the new Streatery Winter Ready Grant program to assist restaurants as they winterize their outdoor dining areas and maintain outdoor dining operations through the colder months.


Sept. 14: Florida bars will be allowed to reopen at 50% capacity.

Sept. 4: Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has extended the state of emergency until November 3.

Sept. 1:  South Florida restaurants and casinos reopen as governor vows no more COVID-19 shutdowns.


Sept. 8: The state of Georgia will remain under the Public Health State of Emergency through October 10.


August 18: Gov. Ige announced that the state will push back plans to reopen transpacific travel until "at least" October 1.


Sept. 8: Idaho is in Stage 4 or reopening.


Sept. 17: Gov. Pritzker announced the second round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) to assist small businesses. The $220 million second round of BIG aims to provide relief for all types of small businesses, but with a particular focus on businesses downstate, in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs), and for heavily impacted industry and regions – representing businesses that have been unable to reopen or operating at a severely diminished capacity since the spring.  


July 31: Gov. Holcomb issued an order continuing the pause of the state's reopening efforts. All counties must adhere to directives of Stage 4.5 until August 27. All individuals shall continue to wear face coverings in public places. The order extends the prohibition on residential property evictions and mortgage foreclosures. The order also outlines the mask requirements for public and private schools.


Sept. 22: Gov. Little announced that the state will remain in the fourth stage of reopening for another two weeks due to high hospitalization counts.


Sept. 15: Kansas is extending its state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic. The order has been extended to October 15.


Sept. 5: Gov. Beshear announced that he extended his mask mandate for another 30 days to combat the spread of COVID-19.


Sept. 23: Louisiana Department of Treasury has launched a Main Street Recovery Grant Program.  $275 million dollars have been allocated for the program. The program has multiple benefits for small businesses and creates another bridge of time (Grants up to $15,000.00). The application deadline is November 4, 2020.


Sept. 22: Gov. Mills announced her administration will launch a second phase of the Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program beginning September 23. Phase 2 will make available approximately $95 million in remaining funds from Phase 1 and expand access to the program by increasing the number of eligible businesses and non-profits.

Sept. 2: Gov. Mills extended the State of Civil Emergency (PDF) through October 1, 2020. 


Sept. 8: Maryland is currently in Stage Three of its reopening plan.


Sept. 22: The Department of Labor Standards re-issued an emergency regulation to establish a uniform set of COVID-19 Workplace Safety Rules for all enterprises operating brick and mortar premises across the Commonwealth. All businesses authorized to open brick and mortar premises are required to adopt social distancing and hygiene protocols, worker training and response plans, cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

Sept. 5: The Department of Public Health issued an emergency rule that requires individuals to wear face masks and coverings inside pharmacies and other establishments. The Department published a notice of the final rule in the register.


August 6: A measure has been introduced that amends the Worker's Disability Compensation Act of 1969 to extend workers' compensation to essential workers who contract COVID-19. This measure amends the definition of "personal injury" to include any injury or illness relating to an essential worker's contraction of COVID-19. "Essential worker" is defined as an employee whose employer requires the employee to work outside of the employee's home during the COVID-19 emergency as declared by the Governor.

August 4: Gov. Whitmer issued a directive to state departments and autonomous agency heads to review the allocation of their resources to ensure that enforcement of COVID-19-related laws is a priority, such as limitations on capacity and the requirement to wear a mask when entering a Michigan business. The directive requires departments to consider violations of law when determining eligibility for licensing for businesses and individuals.


Sept. 10: The state is currently in Phase 3 of reopening.


Sept. 10: Guidelines for businesses can be found here.


Sept 11: Guidelines for businesses can be found here.


Sept. 4: Gov. Bullock announced a new program that allows Montana businesses to take out a new loan to support economic recovery. The new Montana Working Capital program uses an unused portion of the $125 million allocated to the Montana Loan Deferment program that was launched in June.


Sept. 11: Most of Nebraska to move to phase 4 of reopening.


August 31: Gov. Sisolak issued an order temporarily banning evictions and foreclosures. This directive has been amended by ED025. This has been amended to allow the court to proceed with a summary eviction hearing under the prescribed timeline. Additional amendments include deeming Section 3 to expire August 31 at 11:59 pm; authorizing limited residential summary eviction actions; authorizing landlords of commercial premises to proceed as authorized by NRS 11 SC.200, effective June 30, 2020, at 11:59 pm; commercial landlords may initiate or reinitiate summary eviction notices to pay or quit pursuant to NRS 40.2542, effective June 30, 2020, at 11:59 pm; and more. Refer to ED025. Directives 008 and 025 have been extended through October 14 by Directive 031.

August 3: Gov. Sisolak and the Nevada Health Response team unveiled a new long-term mitigation strategy, Road to Recovery: Moving to a New Normal. The strategy outlines a sustainable response model that emphasizes (i) critical statewide metrics, (ii) monitoring county criteria, and (iii) ongoing communication and collaboration.

New Hampshire

August 11: Gov. Sununu issued an order requiring face coverings be worn for all persons who attend or are otherwise present at gatherings of 100 people or more for social, spiritual, and recreational activities including but not limited to community, civic, public, private, leisure, faith-based, political or sporting events; parades; concerts; festivals; conventions; fundraisers; and similar activities.

July 27: Gov. Sununu issued an executive order terminating the previous order banning reusable shopping bags.

July 17: Gov. Sununu vetoed HB 1166. The measure would have required employers to provide, arrange access to, or provide paid time off for COVID-19 testing, at the request of an employee and provide personnel protective equipment for employees in any workplace where there are 10 or more employees or customers on a regular basis. This measure also required employers to comply with all applicable state and federal standards and guidance related to COVID-19. 

New Jersey

Sept. 1: Gov. Murphy signed Executive Order No. 183, which establishes rules for the resumption of indoor dining on Friday, September 4 at 6:00 a.m., provided businesses comply with the health and safety standards issued by the Department of Health. The Governor’s Executive Order also contains requirements for movie theaters and other indoor entertainment businesses, where the number of patrons for performance will be limited to 25 percent capacity, up to a maximum of 150 people.

New Mexico

Sept. 22: Gov. Lujan Grisham extended the emergency order through October 18.

New York

Sept. 22: Gov. Cuomo announced an executive order extending the moratorium on COVID-related commercial evictions until Oct. 20.

Sept. 4: Gov. Cuomo extended an order implementing outdoor dining. The order also gives commercial building owners, retail store owners and those authorized on their behalf to manage public places within their buildings and businesses the discretion to require individuals to undergo temperature checks prior to being allowed admittance as well as the discretion to deny entry to those who refuse to undergo a check and those who have temperatures above that prescribed by the New York State Department of Health Guidelines. He also announced that indoor dining may resume in New York City on September 30 at 25% capacity and pursuant to additional safety protocols. All patrons must have temperatures checked at the door; one member of each dining party must provide contact tracing information to the restaurant; service must cease at midnight; masks must be worn when not seated at tables; restaurants must install enhanced air filtration systems; and bar service will not be allowed.

Sept. 3: Gov. Cuomo announced malls in New York City will be allowed to reopen starting September 9 with a 50% occupancy limit. All malls that choose to reopen will be subject to strict safety protocols, including strict enforcement of face coverings, social distancing, additional staff to control occupancy, traffic flow and seating to avoid crowding and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols. Malls must also have enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards in place in order to open.

North Carolina

Sept. 22: Gov. Cooper announced a $40 million relief program to help offset fixed costs like rent, mortgage interests and utility bills. Eligible applicants include: amusement parks, bars, and movie theaters (not including drive-ins).

North Dakota 

August 12: The Economic Resiliency Grant is available to businesses to help cover costs associated with improvements to reduce the risk of infection and instill consumer confidence.


Sept. 14: Gov. DeWine signed HB 606. This measure states a person who provides services for essential businesses and operations is immune from liability in a civil action for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that was caused by the transmission of COVID-19.


Sept. 11: The latest guidelines can be found here.


Sept. 1: Gov.  Brown extended her declaration of a state of emergency regarding COVID-19 for an additional 60 days, until November 3, 2020. She also extended protections from foreclosure for Oregon homeowners and business owners through executive action, until December 31. Executive Order 20-37 will extend House Bill 4204’s current moratorium on foreclosures, as allowed by that legislation.


Sept. 21: Gov. Wolf has issued an executive order allowing bars and restaurants to operate at 50% capacity if they enroll in and comply with the Open and Certified Pennsylvania Program by October 5.  The Secretary of Health has issued an order prohibiting the sale or dispensing of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption past 11:00 p.m. No patron may possess alcoholic beverages within the establishment after midnight.

Rhode Island

August 28: Gov. Raimondo has issued the Phase 3 reopening guidance. This measure requires any person who travels for nonwork-related purposes to quarantine for 14 days upon their return. This measure prohibits indoor and outdoor gatherings of more than 15 people are prohibited. Restaurants or those with licensed caterers on-site may have outdoor gatherings of no more than 100 and indoor gatherings of no more than 50. Indoor venues of assembly may operate at 66% capacity or up to 125 people. Outdoor religious services may operate at 66% of capacity to a cap of 250 people. Retail businesses will be open to customers subject to capacity limitations. A limited number of alcohol may be sold with take-out orders. A restaurant's indoor capacity is 66%. Personal services may operate in a limited capacity. Elective medical procedures and other medical services may continue pursuant to plans submitted by healthcare providers and approved by RIDOH.

South Carolina

Sept. 8: The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control launched a new pledge project to further engage the Palmetto State’s business community in the fight against COVID-19. It encourages business leaders to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace by following four major workplace safety practices that can lower the risk of infection for employees, customers and clients, and other important stakeholders.

South Dakota

Sept. 9: Gov. Noem has laid out a framework for up to $400 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) to assist South Dakota’s small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.


August 25: Gov. Lee announced that businesses eligible for the Tennessee Business Relief Program have until September 25, 2020, to confirm their information with the Department of Revenue so they can receive up to $30,000 in no-cost funds from the state.

August 18: Gov. Lee signed SB 8002 to enact the Tennessee COVID-19 Recovery Act. This measure limits liability for any person relating to loss, damage, injury, or death from COVID-19.


Sept. 7: Gov. Abbott renewed the state disaster proclamation.

August 25: The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has adopted an emergency rule that would enable retailers who sell alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption to more easily qualify for a food and beverage certificate and open to the public. Bars will now be able to reclassify as restaurants by partnering with food trucks and outside food vendors.

August 8: Gov. Abbott has issued a proclamation indefinitely extending the COVID-19 Disaster Declaration for all counties in Texas.


Sept. 22: Gov. Herbert extended the state of emergency to October 20, 2020.


Sept. 20: Gov. Scott announced that bar seating in restaurants will be permitted effective immediately. Food and drink service can take place at the counter but there needs to be a minimum of 6 feet between parties and a Lexan barrier between the customers and the staff behind the counter. Additionally, lodging facilities are permitted to rent all their rooms, with mask and physical distancing requirements and travel and quarantine requirements.


Sept. 22: Gov. Northam announced that Rebuild VA is expanding its eligibility criteria to allow more small businesses to apply. Businesses that received funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and supply chain partners of businesses whose normal operations were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are now eligible to receive grants of up to $10,000. Businesses that have received federal funds must certify that they will only use the Rebuild VA grant for recurring expenses and that the grant will not be used to cover the same expenses as the other CARES Act funds.


August 1: Gov.  Inslee ordered that existing statues relating to the renewal of business licenses and the imposition of penalties for late renewals are waived and suspended until midnight on April 17, 2020. This order has been further extended until September 1.

July 31: Gov. Inslee has extended the state of emergency through August 29.

July 28: Gov. Inslee has issued various updates and changes for gatherings, restaurants and bars, family entertainment, and movie theatres. Indoor movie theaters are prohibited until Phase 3. In Phase 3, indoor movie theaters are limited to a capacity of 25 percent.

West Virginia 

Sept. 10: The latest guidelines can be found here.


Sept. 22: Gov. Evers has issued an extended executive order requiring every individual over the age of five to wear a face covering in all indoors or enclosed spaces. Face coverings are strongly recommended in all other settings.


July 28: Gov. Gordon has extended through August 15 his previous order related to the limited capacity opening of theaters and on-premise consumption of food at restaurants and food courts.

July 13: Gov. Gordon previously announced that the State Health Officer has ordered restaurants, brew pubs, food courts, pubs, and the like to follow strict protocols including but not limited to implementing social distancing; providing hand sanitizer; having staff wear gloves when handling certain items; screening employees and more. The order allows theaters and the like to reopen in a limited capacity under strict protocols similar to food establishments. The order has been extended again through July 31.