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US Shots at the Shore, WWII vet’s PSA, lifted curfews: News from around our 50 states

17:50  01 june  2021
17:50  01 june  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

COVID protocol-related absences: 05/23/21

  COVID protocol-related absences: 05/23/21 Each day, the NHL will publicly release the list of players that are unavailable to their respective teams due to being in COVID-19 Protocol. Here is today’s list: St.St.

Alabama

Montgomery: The pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in the state has fallen to a level not seen since the earliest days of the immunization campaign, even though less than 30% of the state’s population is fully inoculated. Statistics from the Alabama Department of Public Health showed Friday that the number of people getting shots in recent days was similar to the rate in January, when vaccine supply was still very limited. Officials are worried that large numbers of residents are simply refusing to get shots, meaning the coronavirus’ threat will remain higher than necessary. “It’s very distressing because we have vaccine, and we have it in every corner of Alabama,” said Dr. Karen Landers, assistant state health officer. Several vaccination sites have closed because of the lack of demand, and some areas have considered turning down vaccine shipments. In Opelika, East Alabama Medical Center said “very low demand” and plenty of vaccine supply meant a community clinic would close after giving patients a second round of shots June 14. With just about 28% of its population fully immunized, Alabama’s vaccination rate is better only than that of neighboring Mississippi. And at roughly 11,140 lives lost, the state’s overall death rate from COVID-19 is the eighth-worst in the nation, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

NHL announces blank COVID protocol-related absences list

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Alaska

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Anchorage: Rangers who keep an eye on North America’s highest mountain peak say impatient and inexperienced climbers are taking more risks and endangering themselves and other climbers after a year off because of the coronavirus pandemic. Denali in southern Alaska is 20,310 feet above sea level and requires a level of expertise and acclimation to high altitudes not needed for climbing most peaks in the U.S. “We have seen a disturbing amount of overconfidence paired with inexperience in the Alaska Range,” the National Park Service wrote in a statement Thursday. The remoteness and extreme weather in Alaska pose extra risks, even for climbers who may have a good deal of experience at elevations up to 14,000 feet in the Lower 48. After no deaths were reported in 2018 and 2019, at least two people have already died on the mountain in 2021. Two others were seriously injured, authorities said. Last month a skier from Colorado died after falling into a crevasse. A climber from Idaho was killed by a falling block of glacier ice, according to rangers. The rangers issued their statement after a Canadian climber was seriously injured in a nearly 1,000-foot fall. He was not wearing ropes. Other climbers reported the fall, and a nearby helicopter doing glacier surveys was able to rescue the man, park officials said.

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Arizona

Phoenix: COVID-19 vaccine outreach is increasing in the Arizona-Mexico border area in an effort to use up doses before they expire this month. There’s waning demand for the shots in Arizona, and a 10-day pause on administration of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine in April because of safety concerns has fueled an excess vaccine supply. Health care providers, in partnership with binational government entities, are working on getting the COVID-19 vaccines to vulnerable groups along the international border before doses expire. Those groups include temporary agricultural workers and Mexican truck drivers who often cross the border several times a day. Still, some doses may go to waste. The pause on use of the J&J vaccine “really slowed down demand for it,” said Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association. In the meantime, production of the drug continued, and orders placed prior to the pause were still delivered, he said. “You can decide not to order some, but once you’ve ordered it, you can’t send it back,” said Humble, who is a former state health director. Maricopa County as of Thursday had 15,610 doses of the J&J vaccine that are set to expire June 23.

Mumsnet user said neighbours wants her to pay £800 in vet bills

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Arkansas

Little Rock: Nearly 60,000 doses of the state’s allotment of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are nearing their expiration date and would have to be discarded if not used by the end of June, according to a state health official. The J&J doses administered so far include 11,150 given May 1 through Friday – an average of fewer than 400 per day, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “What we have done is move them around” to various vaccination sites “so that the earlier expiring doses get used,” state epidemiologist Jennifer Dillaha told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “States everywhere are in a similar situation where they’re not ordering doses.” Health officials in several Arkansas counties last month slowed or stopped their orders for doses, and demand for the shots decreased. The health department reported more than 2.6 million total doses of vaccines have been received and more than 1.9 million doses administered, including to nearly 898,000 people who are fully immunized. There have been 341,130 total coronavirus cases in Arkansas since the pandemic began, the department reported Friday, and 2,016 cases are active.

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California

Sacramento: Workforce regulators recommended Friday that the state stick with a July 31 deadline for updating certain employer pandemic safety rules instead of adopting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mid-June lifting of mask and distancing requirements in most social settings. Revised rules to be considered Thursday by the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board have relatively few changes from an earlier proposal that drew extensive criticism from business and agricultural groups. Cal/OSHA’s staff withdrew their initial proposal last month so they could take into account new federal guidance that fully vaccinated people can now skip face coverings and distancing in virtually all situations. California is delaying that recommendation until June 15 in social settings, and business groups hoped the workplace regulators would adopt the same date. The timing of the standard board’s emergency hearing this week means the new regulations could take effect in mid-June, but several of the proposed revised rules affecting masking and physical distancing still include a date six weeks later. That broad mask requirement could mean a shortage of the most effective N95 masks for health care workers and agricultural workers entering what is expected to be another drought-driven wildfire season, critics said.

Factbox-Back to pubs, gyms and movies: plotting the road back to normal

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Colorado

Denver: Two sheriff’s deputies who contracted COVID-19 have died in less than two weeks. The Denver Sheriff’s Department announced the death of Deputy Daniel “Duke” Trujillo on Thursday. The former Marine was a seven-year department veteran who worked for the city’s downtown jail. His death followed the death of Deputy James Herrera, announced May 17. Herrera worked for the department for 25 years and was assigned to the downtown jail. After Trujillo’s death was announced, criticism of some of his social media posts that seemed to express skepticism about COVID-19 vaccinations surfaced, such as one Facebook profile photo update that said “I have an immune system.” Following Herrera’s death, Trujillo changed his profile photo to one of Herrera and a badge with a black band. Like other workplaces, the sheriff’s department does not require its employees to be vaccinated, spokesperson Daria Serna said. It has tried to educate employees about vaccinations, including by inviting a doctor to speak to them during a town hall. This week, the department will offer vaccination clinics for deputies in its jails after previously offering clinics in sites nearby, she said. Sheriff Elias Diggins said he was designating the deaths of both deputies as happening in the line of duty, a move that provides certain rights and benefits.

Connecticut

Hartford: Gov. Ned Lamont held his last regular COVID-19 briefing for the media Thursday – a sign that he and his administration believe the state is well on its way to finally emerging from the pandemic. But Lamont said he wasn’t proclaiming “mission accomplished” after about 15 months of giving regular, televised updates. He warned there could still be some flare-ups of infections, especially with variants of the coronavirus, in parts of the state where vaccinations have lagged, such as eastern Connecticut and some urban areas. “So that’s why we are not taking our foot off the accelerator when it comes to getting everybody vaccinated,” he said. Also, new data released Thursday showed persistent racial disparities in vaccine distribution in the state. Fifty-nine percent of white residents have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 36% of Black residents, 41% of Hispanic residents, 45% of American Indian/Alaskan residents and 58% of Asian/Pacific Islander residents. But the Democratic governor said the state’s infection numbers are “where we want them to be.” Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases in Connecticut has decreased by 59.8%, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins.

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Delaware

a close up of food on a table: Pasta dishes change hands at the St. Anthony's Italian Festival. © WILLIAM BRETZGER/DELAWARE NEWS J, WILLIAM BRETZGER/DELAWARE NEWS J Pasta dishes change hands at the St. Anthony's Italian Festival.

Wilmington: St. Anthony’s Italian Festival in the city’s Little Italy neighborhood is back this year with a pandemic twist. The carnival atmosphere is still a no-go even as social distancing guidelines ease, but the festival, one of the most popular in the state, will be offering takeout Italian fare June 8-11. Wilmington’s Greek Festival is also featuring a to-go version this week, from Wednesday through Saturday. More details are available on the festival’s Facebook page. Organizers say they hope to be back Sept. 7-11 for a bigger festival outside Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. St. Anthony’s Italian Festival, a celebration of Italian Amerian culture and heritage, has been a Delaware institution since the early 1970s, but its roots go back even further in the neighborhood that has been home to many Italian immigrants. The eight-day festivities – featuring rides, beer tents, live music, and food and wine booths – are widely considered one of the state’s most popular tourist attractions. President Joe Biden, when he served as a senator and later as vice president, often visited the festival, especially during the Procession of Saints parade, which won’t take place this year. In 2020, the festival was canceled due to COVID-19. It was the first time in almost 50 years the church called off the celebration.

District of Columbia

Washington: A majority of child care centers in the city reported zero coronavirus outbreaks between July and December, even as cases citywide spiked by more than 500% over that same period, WUSA-TV reports. COVID-19 outbreaks in about 6% of the 469 licensed D.C. child care facilities accounted for almost half of all cases linked to child care facilities from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2020, and represent only a quarter of all facilities that reported at least one case, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data also shows that more than half of the people who tested positive for the virus were teachers or staff members at the facilities. This suggests that the following of CDC safety guidelines stopped the virus from spreading to others even when a case was identified. It was also reported that COVID-19 outbreaks were more likely to happen in newer facilities than older, more established ones. The research suggests this may have happened because the older centers had more experience using resources to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. The CDC said delays of more than three days in testing for symptomatic people were associated with COVID-19 outbreaks.

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Florida

Tallahassee: A former Florida Department of Health employee has received whistleblower status a year after being fired for repeatedly violating the agency’s policy about communicating with the media. Rebekah Jones had raised questions about Florida’s COVID-19 data after being ousted as the data’s curator. State officials said she was fired for insubordination after being reprimanded several times, according to state records. The Miami Herald reports the Office of the Inspector General told her attorneys Friday that “the information disclosed does meet the criteria for whistleblower status as described by … Florida statutes.” Jones, who helped build the state’s online presentation of its COVID-19 data, received national attention a year ago when she sowed doubt about the information being reported by the state when Florida was an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. She suggested that Health Department managers wanted her to manipulate information to paint a rosier picture and that she pushed back. A letter from Inspector General Michael J. Bennett, the Herald reports, said Jones’ complaint demonstrates “reasonable cause to suspect that an employee or agent of an agency or independent contractor has violated any federal, state or local law, rule or regulation.”

Georgia

Atlanta: Gov. Brian Kemp declared Friday that public schools no longer have his permission to require masks for coronavirus protection, though his executive order fell short of banning such mandates outright. The Republican governor’s written order came two days after he gave a preview in a Fox News Channel interview Wednesday, declaring: “The time for mandates is over.” “We’re not going to have a mask mandate for our kids,” Kemp said. “Our teachers have had the ability to get vaccinated. It certainly doesn’t keep anyone from wearing a mask.” The actual order adjusting Georgia’s few remaining coronavirus restrictions isn’t so strongly worded. Instead, Kemp’s order says his COVID-19 emergency declaration “does not include the authority for local school districts to rely on the Public Health State of Emergency as a basis for requiring students or workers to wear a face covering” on school campuses. In other words, Georgia school districts can no longer claim their authority to require masks comes from the governor. Anthony Michael Kreis, a constitutional law professor at Georgia State University, said school boards can likely require teachers and students to wear masks without the governor’s permission.

Hawaii

Wailuku: Hawaiian Airlines is ending service between Honolulu and the rural islands of Molokai and Lanai in Maui County. Citing significant cost and an inter-island travel market that has been limited by restrictions due to the pandemic, Hawaiian Airlines said it will terminate its ’Ohana by Hawaiian service to the two islands, The Maui News reports. “With our focus on rebuilding and restoring our mainline interisland, North America and international service, we cannot responsibly justify incurring the startup costs and weakening our financial outlook,” Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram said in a statement. “We do this as stewards of our company, with a firm eye on ensuring that Hawaiian Airlines is positioned to not only survive but thrive as we exit the pandemic.” Travel to Hawaii has increased as pandemic restrictions have eased. Hawaiian Airlines announced last week that it has 400 open positions and is offering a $2,000 bonus for many positions on Maui, where the need for workers is high. “While we have seen a strong recovery for our North America routes, Neighbor Island and international demand continues to be suppressed by travel restrictions,” Hawaiian Airlines spokesperson Alex Da Silva said.

Idaho

Boise: Gov. Brad Little on Friday issued an executive order repealing a mask mandate prohibition put in place by the lieutenant governor while he was out of the state. Little described Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin’s actions as a tyrannical abuse of power and an “irresponsible, self-serving political stunt.” The governor had previously been reserved in his comments about his fellow Republican, a member of the far-right who has worked to undermine Little’s handling of the pandemic. Last month McGeachin announced her run against him for governor. Her executive order Thursday banning mask mandates in schools and public buildings is widely seen as part of that campaign, and she is already using the order in fundraising efforts. Little has never issued a statewide mask mandate, but counties, cities and schools have issued their own directives. “I have opposed a statewide mask mandate all along because I don’t think top-down mandates change behavior the way personal choice does,” Little said in a statement about his repeal of McGeachin’s order. “But, as your Governor, when it came to masks, I also didn’t undermine separately elected officials who, under Idaho law, are given authorities to take measures they believe will protect the health and safety of the people they serve.” Little was attending the Republican Governors Association conference in Nashville, Tennessee, and returned late Thursday.

Illinois

Springfield: Both state fairs this summer will boast a unity theme: “One Illinois.” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the theme is to inspire the state to come together after the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation last summer of the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and the DuQuoin State Fair. “Coming off a year where the fair was canceled for the first time since World War II, we want to convey a show of unity and strength when people return to the fairgrounds in August,” Illinois State Fair Manager Keven Gordon said. Both fairs will host on-site mobile vaccination clinics for their duration so that any fairgoer who wants a COVID-19 shot can get inoculated. The “One Illinois” logo will be featured throughout the grounds of both fairs and on merchandise. The Illinois State Fair is scheduled for Aug. 12-22 and the fair in DuQuoin for Aug. 27-Sept. 6.

Indiana

Lafayette: While Indiana University faces political backlash over its plans to require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations for all students and employees, Purdue University is offering a chance at winning a full year’s tuition for students who get the shots. Purdue’s “Old Golden Ticket” drawing makes students who submit proof of a COVID-19 vaccination by July 15 eligible for one of 10 prizes paying $9,992. That is the equivalent of a year’s undergraduate tuition. Purdue has avoided criticism of its plans to require students and employees to either provide proof of vaccination for the fall semester or participate in frequent coronavirus testing. IU said Thursday that it “will further consider our process for verifying the requirement,” a day after the state attorney general issued a nonbinding opinion that the policy was illegal under a new law banning the state or local governments from issuing or requiring so-called vaccine passports. Many Republican legislators have also come out against IU’s plan, with a letter signed by 35 GOP state senators calling it a “heavy-handed mandate.” IU officials have defended the vaccine requirement as a way to safely resume full in-person classes and events on all the university’s campuses across the state.

Iowa

Iowa City: A man who left a threatening voicemail telling Gov. Kim Reynolds she should be hung or shot “for treason” for imposing coronavirus restrictions has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge. Harvey Hunter Jr., 48, pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree harassment, accepting a plea agreement offered by Polk County prosecutors. In a written guilty plea, he said he “did threaten to commit bodily injury to a government official” in his Jan. 5 voicemail. Prosecutors will recommend that Hunter serve a one-year term of probation, pay a fine, have no contact with the governor and undergo a mental health evaluation. A judge will not be bound by the recommendation when Hunter is sentenced this week and could impose stricter penalties. Hunter left the voicemail on a governor’s office phone line set up to gather input on the partial statewide mask mandate. He called the governor a dictator and said that “every single one of you need to be hung for treason for pushing this COVID scam.” He also called Reynolds two derogatory names for women and said that “you need to be put in front of a firing squad.” Hunter had defended his comments as free speech in April interviews with the Associated Press, saying he was expressing opposition to what he considered “tyrannical” COVID-19 restrictions.

Kansas

Topeka: Advocates for renters are troubled by the end of the state’s ban on evictions and foreclosures on home mortgages for people who are struggling financially because of the coronavirus pandemic. Top Republican lawmakers on Friday rescinded the executive order from Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly imposing the ban. State law gives leaders of the GOP-controlled Legislature the power to rescind such orders. Republicans have long argued that the state’s moratorium prevents landlords from getting paid. Many landlords have their own mortgages to pay on the properties they rent. But advocates said ending the state’s ban is troubling because of questions about how long a nationwide ban from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will stay in place. The CDC ban, imposed through June, would prevent evictions and foreclosures in Kansas, but it could be nullified by a federal lawsuit. “If that goes away, I think we’re going to be in for a world of hurt,” said Dustin Hare, a Wyandotte County organizer. Hare said the CDC’s ban was more effective. But Vince Munoz, an organizer with the advocacy group Rent Zero Kansas, said providing rental assistance is not as helpful as “simply saying we aren’t going to have evictions.”

Kentucky

Frankfort: The state ushered in the Memorial Day holiday weekend by relaxing pandemic-related limits on crowd sizes as COVID-19 vaccinations continued to climb. Friday marked the start of a two-week stretch in which Kentucky businesses and events are allowed to operate at 75% capacity. The state also lifted its coronavirus-related curfew on bars and restaurants. All of the state’s pandemic-related capacity restrictions will end June 11. “We are safely and sustainably easing restrictions to limit the spread of COVID as more of our young people get their ‘shot of hope’ and we end this pandemic,” said Gov. Andy Beshear, who recently announced the new round of relaxed restrictions. In urging more people to get inoculated, Beshear warned that the return to larger gatherings “comes with a heightened risk” for the unvaccinated. While more than 80% of people 65 and older in Kentucky have been vaccinated, inoculation rates have lagged among younger residents. The Deocratic governor on Friday praised Kentuckians ages 12 to 17 for their willingness to roll up their sleeves for the shots to “protect themselves and others.” “These vaccines are a miracle – and they are the key to safe classrooms for our students, teachers and staff,” Beshear said on social media.

Louisiana

Baton Rouge: A statewide “Shot for a Shot” campaign offering free drinks for people who get vaccinated against COVID-19 begins this month, officials said Thursday. Participating businesses will provide a free alcoholic or nonalcoholic drink to people who can prove they’ve been fully vaccinated within the previous seven days, the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control said. Just under 31% of Louisiana residents have been fully vaccinated, compared to 40% nationwide, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Several bars and restaurants in New Orleans held “A Shot for a Shot” events in April. Establishments in Baton Rouge also have held such events. The LA Wallet app or the state-issued vaccination card can be used as proof of inoculation, the news release said. The state office will collect drink tallies from participating bars and restaurants for the Louisiana Restaurant Association, which will provide partial reimbursements. No taxes will go toward the reimbursements, it said. The campaign will run “between June 1 and June 30 or until funds are exhausted,” the statement said.

Maine

Augusta: Legislative leaders are keeping in place a mask requirement for the State House, despite Republican opposition. The Legislative Council on Thursday took no further action on the mask mandate, despite an uproar among Republicans who say lawmakers shouldn’t be subjected to different rules than the public. The governor has lifted requirements for masks indoors, though businesses can choose to continue requiring them. On May 24, seven Republicans defied the rule by entering the State House without masks. House Speaker Ryan Fecteau, a Democrat, responded by stripping them of their committee assignments. Fecteau said he had received “veiled threats” over the decision and was still unwavering in the decision to keep the mask rule. And some GOP lawmakers are vowing to continue to flout the rules. “We will not have a House that is not in order,” Fecteau said, referencing a common order of the presiding officer of the chamber. Rep. Chris Johansen, R-Monticello, one of the seven lawmakers who were punished for not wearing masks, said he was exploring whether legal action could be taken against Fecteau.

Maryland

Annapolis: Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed more than a dozen measures Friday, including one aimed at creating greater transparency in emergency procurements – such as the one that made headlines when Hogan confidentially purchased 500,000 coronavirus tests from South Korea that later stirred controversy. The bill would require the governor to provide a legislative panel notice within 72 hours after the execution of the contract or the expenditure of funds when authorizing a certain emergency procurement during a state of emergency.In his veto letter, Hogan said that “extraordinary measures were necessary to keep Marylanders safe from this deadly virus.” But Del. Brooke Lierman, a Democrat who sponsored the legislation in the House, said that “it’s incredibly disappointing and quite frustrating that our governor would be opposed to shining a light on how his administration is spending taxpayer dollars.” Last month, a state audit found that the Hogan administration failed to follow state procurement regulations when it bought the 500,000 tests last year. The first batch that later had to be replaced at an additional $2.5 million cost had not been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Hogan has adamantly defended the purchase of the tests.

Massachusetts

Boston: Gov. Charlie Baker signed an order Friday officially lifting Massachusetts’ pandemic state of emergency June 15, and the state lifted nearly all COVID-19 restrictions Saturday, in an indication its battle against the coronavirus has turned a sharp corner. “I would pretty much say it’s over,” Gov. Charlie Baker said, cautioning that the pandemic has thrown a number of curves in the past year. “I do believe it’s certainly on the run.” There are still locations where masks will be required, including public transportation, Baker said. The mandate was replaced with a mask advisory that echoes recommendations from federal health officials. Baker also said businesses may still require customers and visitors to continue wearing masks inside. More than 3.5 million residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, he said, predicting the state will hit its 4.1 million goal by mid-June. Massachusetts is also launching a new campaign to encourage diners to start eating out in their favorite restaurants. Restaurants are among the businesses hit hardest during the pandemic, and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said Friday that the Baker administration wants to send the message that restaurants are open, and vaccinated people should go out and dine to help those eateries bounce back.

Michigan

Lansing: Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is defending her decision to stick with appointment-only visits to branch offices after the coronavirus pandemic, amid pushback from lawmakers who say people should again be able to go without an appointment. Half of all appointments are next-day appointments – an option for drivers with urgent business such as renewing an expiring license or transferring a vehicle title. Benson conceded they fill up quickly but contended the system, while “not perfect,” is better than residents having to potentially wait hours in line, as they did before COVID-19 struck. Critics note that other appointments are months in the future. Benson is pledging to add appointment slots – which are booked online or by phone – saying fewer staff will be out sick and fewer offices will be closed as infections continue to subside. The state is on track, in July, to implement a new law that requires in-person visits for new license and ID photos every 12 years instead of eight. “That will dramatically reduce the demand for office visits for a number of years,” Benson, a Democrat, told the Republican-led House Oversight Committee this past week. She said the department is continuing to work through a backlog caused by a 13-month grace period for driver’s license and ID renewals in the pandemic.

Minnesota

St. Paul: Several breweries and distilleries are offering a shot and a beer to adults to encourage them to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Gov. Tim Walz announced the “Cheers to the Vaccine” campaign Friday in partnership with the Craft Brewers Guild and the Minnesota Distillers Guild. It’s separate from a list of incentive giveaways he announced Thursday, including Minnesota State Fair tickets, fishing licenses and state park passes. As of Friday, all statewide coronavirus restrictions for Minnesota bars, restaurants, event centers – and all other businesses – were lifted under a plan Walz announced earlier. However, local governments and individual businesses can still maintain restrictions. Masking and social distancing mandates remain in effect in Minneapolis, St. Paul and some other communities, for example. Establishments participating in “Cheers to the Vaccine” will offer free or discounted drinks through June 30 to Minnesota residents 21 and older who provide proof that they have received at least one vaccine dose. The limit is one drink per person. Several of the breweries and distilleries are also planning on-site vaccination clinics in the coming weeks. Details will be announced by the establishments themselves.

Mississippi

Jackson: Outdoor enthusiasts weren’t spared when the pandemic put the world on pause in 2020, leading to the cancellation of the Wildlife Extravaganza and what would have been the first Mississippi Ag & Outdoor Expo. But both events are on track for this summer. The Wildlife Extravaganza on July 30-Aug. 1 falls on its traditional weekend but will be held in a new location and promises a fresh look. The event will be held at the new Sheraton Refuge Hotel & Conference Center in Flowood in Rankin County near Jackson. The development offers a hotel, golf course, restaurants, a swimming pool and lazy river, among other amenities. It also features a 12-acre lake and outside space to exhibit larger products such as hunting blinds, trucks and boats. The Mississippi Ag & Outdoor Expo, expected to be the largest outdoor show held in Mississippi, is scheduled for Aug. 6-8 at the new Mississippi Trade Mart at the Mississippi Fairgrounds in Jackson. It is hosted by the Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. Organizers said there will be a petting zoo and vendors with special items for kids, possibly to include an indoor trout pond where younger children can experience catching a fish. And a concert is in the works, too.

Missouri

Jefferson City: The Missouri Supreme Court is lifting directives for the state’s courts aimed at protecting the safety of employees and the public during the coronavirus pandemic. Court officials said the restrictions were being lifted June 15 because of a decrease in the national and local levels of COVID-19 cases and the effectiveness and availability of vaccines, the Jefferson City News Tribune reports. The Supreme Court last revised its directives in March, saying local courts could operate in one of four operating phases. Each phase reflected differing approaches to in-person proceedings, personnel and staffing, and courthouse operations. The new order applies to Missouri’s appellate and circuit courts, including associate, family, juvenile, treatment, municipal and probate divisions. Court officials said local chief and presiding judges may determine whether to continue precautions, based on local health conditions and recommended federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The state Department of Health and Senior Services reported that as of Friday, more than 2.5 million Missouri residents, or 41.6% of the state’s 6.2 million people, had received at least a first vaccine shot.

Montana

an empty parking lot in front of a house: A rendering of a new wellness center planned for the Fort Peck Reservation. © Courtesy of Dave Glaser, MoFi A rendering of a new wellness center planned for the Fort Peck Reservation.

Great Falls: A new wellness center on the Fort Peck Reservation has received about $5 million in funding that will help bring the 20-year project “across the finish line,” according to a news release. The project is expected to be complete by January 2022. Financing for the $23 million wellness center came through investment from the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes and New Markets Tax Credits from Missoula-based community development lender MoFi. Jackie Weeks, tribal operations officer for the Fort Peck Tribes, said the funding “provided the bridge ... to complete the project.” The 50,000-square-foot center aims to address the disparity in life expectancy and provide a supportive space to promote long-term health and wellness among tribal members. The wellness center is expected to create 70 new full-time jobs with benefits. The genesis for the Fort Peck wellness center came in 2001, when local high school students partnered with Harvard Medical School to study disparities in life expectancy among members of the Fort Peck Tribes. The group found that the average life expectancy for an individual living on the Fort Peck Reservation was nearly 20 years lower than the average life expectancy in Montana, according to a release.

Nebraska

Lincoln: Restaurants can now offer carry-out alcohol permanently under a new state law inspired by Gov. Pete Ricketts’ efforts to help struggling businesses during the pandemic. Ricketts announced Wednesday that he signed the measure into law. It went into effect immediately. The governor issued an executive order to allow carry-out alcohol in March 2020 to aid restaurants that were struggling financially because of the pandemic and social distancing restrictions. The order proved popular with the public, and some restaurants reported that it had helped their sales. Ricketts said the order showed that the previous restriction on carry-out alcohol was unnecessary. The law applies to restaurants and farm wineries with the proper liquor licenses. To-go alcohol must be sold in a sealed, tamper-evident container and not partially consumed. Lawmakers approved the measure 45-0.

Nevada

Las Vegas: Uber and Lyft will be able to resume surge pricing in the state after Gov. Steve Sisolak ended a ban meant to prevent price gouging amid the pandemic. The Democratic governor’s emergency order late Friday took effect immediately. App-based ride-hailing firms, known formally as transportation network companies, generally raise their prices during periods of high demand, which they say reduces wait times by encouraging more drivers to work. But that’s been banned during the public health emergency declared in March 2020. Uber said last month that the loss of surge pricing led to a shortage of drivers because it depressed their earnings, and the company urged users to pressure Sisolak to ease the restriction. The Nevada Transportation Authority said peak wait times have jumped 225% since March 2021, with some riders waiting as long as 30 minutes, according to documents released by Sisolak’s office. In future emergencies, surge pricing will only be banned for 30 days.

New Hampshire

Concord: The state is moving toward making it easier for paramedics and others to become nursing assistants to address workforce shortages exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. The state Senate passed a bill Thursday that would allow certain military personnel, emergency medical technicians and paramedics to take the licensed nursing assistant exam without having to take the standard courses. The bill passed the House last month. It now goes to the governor’s desk. Meanwhile, Gov. Chris Sununu once again renewed New Hampshire’s state of emergency declaration Friday, but for only 14 days instead of the usual 21. Sununu first declared a state of emergency because of the coronavirus pandemic March 13, 2020, and has renewed it every three weeks since then. Friday’s decision came six weeks after Sununu eliminated the statewide mask mandate and three weeks after the lifting of business restrictions. “Today’s action to renew the State of Emergency allows the legislature to take up our various critical emergency orders that have brought flexibility to manage through this pandemic, and I call on the House and Senate to move swiftly in this charge so that we can move out of a State of Emergency as quickly as possible,” he said in a statement.

New Jersey

Belmar: The second summer of COVID-19 at the Jersey Shore is shaping up to look far different from last year’s: Many virus restrictions have been lifted, nightclubs and dance floors are packed again, and restaurants and bars can serve full crowds indoors. Shore towns have reported brisk beach badge sales as they drop capacity limits put in place last summer to keep people further apart on the sand. Ocean City was closing in on $1 million worth of beach badge sales by the end of April – the earliest they had ever reached that mark. “It’s been exceptionally busy,” city spokesperson Doug Bergen said. The lifting of outdoor capacity limits has cleared the way for large-scale concerts to resume at venues including the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, which lists upcoming shows including Luke Bryan, Lady A and the Jonas Brothers. Summer rentals are seeing strong bookings. Meanwhile, beachgoers at three popular spots were able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 over Memorial Day weekend. Gov. Phil Murphy said the “Shots at the Shore” effort would offer free jabs Saturday and Sunday at Sandy Hook, Long Branch and Asbury Park. “We’re going to make it possible for beachgoers to get some sun and at the same time get their first shot,” the Democratic governor said.

New Mexico

Albuquerque: Drug overdose deaths in the state in 2020 increased by 25% from the previous year, continuing a trend seen before the pandemic. Increased abuse of the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl pumped up the number of overdose deaths to 721 in 2019, up from 574 in 2019, the Albuquerque Journal reports. The provisional numbers were gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and broken down by QuoteWizard, a division of LendingTree, according to the Journal. Fentanyl is an extremely potent opioid that is prescribed for legitimate medical uses, including treatment of cancer patients and in surgical anesthesia, but it also is smuggled into the United States from Mexico and often trafficked illegally in counterfeit pills known as “blues.” “The pervasiveness of fentanyl on the illicit drug market in New Mexico is one of the most daunting public safety issues we face,” said Fred Federici, acting U.S. attorney for New Mexico. “Over the past several years, we have seen the prevalence of fentanyl rise from occasional seizures to an alarming number of cases.”

New York

New Paltz: A 102-year-old Army veteran is comparing his World War II service to the campaign to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19 in a public service announcement released by officials in Ulster County. “When our nation needed us, and Uncle Sam came calling, we answered. We fought the Nazis and stormed the beaches of Normandy,” veteran Bill Swetow says in the video released Saturday by County Executive Pat Ryan. “And over 75 years later, we are at another moment where we need every American to do their part.” The Daily Freeman of Kingston reports that Swetow, who lives in New Paltz in the Hudson Valley, joined the Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and went on to serve as a cryptographer and a statistical control officer. Swetow says in the minutelong PSA: “We are not asking you to fire a gun, dig a trench or go to a foreign land. But we are asking you to join the fight, the fight against COVID-19. And we want you to get vaccinated.” The ad will air on local TV and radio stations as well as social media sites. Two-thirds of adults in New York state have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to recent federal data.

North Carolina

Durham: A former deputy is suing a sheriff over his requirement for employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Christopher Neve is asking a court to force Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead to reinstate him with back pay and to rule that vaccine mandates are unconstitutional, The Herald-Sun of Durham reports. The lawsuit, filed in April in federal court, argues that mandating a vaccine that has only emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration and not formal approval violates federal law. The Durham County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment Friday, citing the ongoing litigation. In January, Birkhead sent a notice to employees that the COVID-19 vaccine would be mandatory except for medical or religious objections, according to court documents. After Neve and other deputies failed to schedule a vaccine appointment, Birkhead sent an email Jan. 25 reminding deputies to schedule their appointments. Neve continued to refuse, according to the lawsuit, and his badge and other equipment were confiscated in March. Public employers can mandate that employees receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the N.C. Department of Labor and Diane Juffras, a professor of public law and government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

North Dakota

Bismarck: The state Capitol is resuming public tours after suspending them for more than a year, officials said Thursday. Tuesday’s reopening comes on the heels of data that showed the number of active COVID-19 cases dropped about 51% last month, going from 995 on May 1 to 508 on May 26. “As we resume normal activities, we are anxious to again offer this service to the public. We know it is appreciated by visitors to the Capitol at all times of the year, but especially during the summer travel season,” Office of Budget Management Director Joe Morrissette said. Face coverings are required for those who are not fully vaccinated. Tours are conducted Monday through Friday.

Ohio

Fans weren't allowed in the stands at Great American Ball Park last year, and so far this season they've faced capacity restrictions. © Liz Dufour/The Enquirer Fans weren't allowed in the stands at Great American Ball Park last year, and so far this season they've faced capacity restrictions.

Cincinnati: Wednesday is “Re-Opening Day” in the city after it went without its baseball opening day traditions the past two years because of the pandemic. The afternoon game with the Philadelphia Phillies will mark the return of full seating capacity at the Reds’ Great American Ball Park home after most seats were closed off to begin this season. City and county leaders said it will be a “half-day holiday,” and they want everyone to wear red and to gather in downtown entertainment venues to celebrate. Tickets as low as $5 each were being sold for the game. “No city does Opening Day like Cincinnati,’ said Jill Meyer, President and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. She called June 2 a time to “celebrate the future and honor what we have been through together as a community.” In announcing the half-day holiday Thursday, officials said everyone should get vaccinated against COVID-19 so they can be safe while visiting Great American Ball Park, as well as local bars and restaurants. “If you haven’t gotten one, get one – don’t be stupid,” Mayor John Cranley said.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma City: State agencies will be barred from requiring a mask or COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of being allowed to enter a state building or office under an executive order signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt. “It is time to return to normal,” Stitt said in a statement after signing the order Friday. “Every Oklahoman must have access to all government services whether or not they choose to be vaccinated or wear a mask.” The order, which does not apply in medical settings with patients, was announced after Stitt signed into law a bill prohibiting schools and colleges from adopting mask or vaccination requirements. Stitt refused to issue a statewide mask mandate but in November required masks inside state buildings. That order was lifted in March. The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Friday reported 452,777 total coronavirus cases since the pandemic began and 1,214 currently active cases in the state.

Oregon

Salem: Significant coronavirus-related staffing shortages at the Oregon State Hospital prompted health officials to call for the National Guard’s assistance at the psychiatric facility last week. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the state’s health authority, which oversees the hospital, requested 30 nurses from the National Guard. “We need your help,” Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen wrote to state employees. “OHA has exhausted all other staffing options for the hospital’s Salem Campus, and our circumstances are dire.” Officials say the hospital, which employs 1,800 people and has more than 600 patients, is full and temporarily stopped new admissions. The hospital treats some of the state’s most vulnerable: those found guilty except for insanity, civil commitment patients, and those ordered to the hospital by a judge on aid and assist orders. The staffing crisis at the hospital has persisted on and off throughout the pandemic. But the number of staff out on coronavirus-related leave has increased dramatically since February. Hospital Superintendent Dolly Matteucci told state lawmakers last month that nearly 700 employees had taken some form of COVID-19 leave, and from February to March there was a 45% increase in direct-care staff taking leave.

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia: The Philadelphia Phillies will soon be able to pack their ballpark, and the city said Friday that it will lift nearly all its pandemic restrictions more than a week ahead of schedule, as new coronavirus infections decline to their lowest point since September. Capacity limits for businesses and events and social distancing rules will go away Wednesday. The city had planned to eliminate the restrictions June 11, but officials said the relatively low number of new cases and a test positivity rate of less than 3% made it possible to do it earlier than planned. The city’s indoor mask mandate and an 11 p.m. last call at bars and restaurants will continue until at least June 11, the city said. After the city’s announcement Friday, the Phillies announced that seating at Citizens Bank Park will be increased to 100% capacity starting next Friday, June 4, the club’s next home series.

Rhode Island

Providence: A bill that gives the state’s nursing homes the highest staff-to-patient ratio in the nation has been signed into law by Gov. Daniel McKee, despite objections from industry leaders who said it will lead to nursing home closures. Advocates, however, say the staffing mandate will improve resident safety and lead to better pay for workers – problems that were highlighted during the coronavirus pandemic. “Today we take a step forward for staff, residents and their families,” McKee said during the signing ceremony Thursday. “Stronger staffing standards and funding for direct care staff will help raise the bar on resident care in our state.” The law establishes an average of at least 3.58 hours of direct nursing care per resident, per day, starting next Jan. 1 and 3.81 hours starting Jan. 1, 2023, which both sides agree is the highest staff-to-patient ratio in the nation. Nursing home owners warned of mass closings due to mounting losses and years of state cuts to Medicaid reimbursement. The Rhode Island Health Care Association, a coalition of nursing homes, said the bill attempts to legislate “the impossible.” Association President Scott Fraser said nursing homes already have a hard time filling open positions.

South Carolina

Columbia: A top Democratic lawmaker wants the state to use some of its COVID-19 relief money to offer $1 million prizes to people who get vaccinated for the disease, similar to a program in Ohio. That type of program might get South Carolina, where just 36% of residents are fully vaccinated, out of the bottom 10 in the percentage of residents who have completed their COVID-19 immunizations, House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford said. “I think the message of the State of South Carolina should be clear. Get vaccinated: protect yourself, protect those around you, and you just might win a million dollars,” the Columbia Democrat said in a statement. Ohio saw an increase in vaccinations after announcing its prizes. South Carolina senators considered more modest incentives during April’s budget debate, including a $250 scholarship to college students who get vaccinated or $100 for the first 500,000 people to get a COVID-19 shot. Senate Minority Leader Brad Hutto compared it to how crazy people get when prizes worth only several dollars are offered at sporting events. “When they drop the things at the ball games, people jump all over themselves to get a Chick-fil-A sandwich gift card,” said Hutto, D-Orangeburg. Both proposals failed with minimal support from the Republican majority.

South Dakota

Sioux Falls: Sanford Health has closed its mass vaccination clinic on its Medical Center campus in the city. The health care system opened the clinic in the Sanford Imaginetics building in December. “And five and a half months later, we’ve seen over 102,000 patients at this location alone,” said Terri Carlson, executive director at Sanford Health. On the mass vaccination clinic’s final day Thursday, 14-year-old Rayna Goehring got her first dose, KELO-TV reports. “It feels good; hopefully it’ll stop me from getting COVID too,” Rayna said. “It shocked me how old they will allow people to get vaccinated.” She’s looking forward to when things are back to normal, especially at school, she said. “And finally it’s kind of starting to get back to normal, but it’s the new normal, people will say.” Carlson said Sanford still offers the vaccines at its primary care facilities in the Sioux Falls area. Getting to the point where the clinic can be closed is surreal, she said. “It’s emotional when I think about it,” Carlson said. “What we’ve been able to accomplish is very humbling, and it’s very rewarding to be able to see people being able to start living their lives again and seeing hugs again and families together and hearing all those good stories.”

Tennessee

Nashville: The owner of a hat shop is dealing with pushback after posting a photo of herself to social media wearing a yellow patch resembling the Star of David with the words “not vaccinated.” The photo posted by Gigi Gaskins, owner of HatWrksNashville, shows her smiling and wearing the badge that looks similar in shape and color to those that the Nazis forced Jews to wear in Europe during the Holocaust. A caption with the photo advertised the patches for $5 apiece. “People are so outraged by my post? But are you outraged with the tyranny the world is experiencing?” Gaskins said on Instagram. “If you don’t understand what is happening, that is on you not me. I pay much more respect to history by standing up with the fallen than offering silence and compliance.” Gaskins later deleted the photo and issued an apology Saturday. “In NO WAY did I intend to trivialize the Star of David or disrespect what happened to millions of people. That is not who I am & what I stand for,” Gaskins wrote. “My intent was not to exploit or make a profit. My hope was to share my genuine concern & fear, and to do all that I can to make sure that nothing like that ever happens again. I sincerely apologize for any insensitivity.” The photo was shared widely on social media and prompted hat maker Stetson to announce it was pulling its products from the store. Hat maker Goorin Bros. of San Francisco said on Instagram that it was “horrified” by the patch.

Texas

Austin: A bill that would curb the governor’s powers during a pandemic has died after a committee of appointed members of the state House and Senate missed a midnight Saturday deadline to issue a compromise report on the measure. The initial version of what was known as the Pandemic Response Act would have created an oversight committee with powers to strike down any governor’s order, waiver or suspension. The legislation, a priority for House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, came in response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s use of sweeping powers under the state’s disaster declaration during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many conservative Republicans chafed at Abbott’s coronavirus restrictions, which followed the recommendations of public health experts, including state health officials and the governor’s medical advisers. Abbott’s pandemic performance, however, was not a central feature of debate about the bill. Phelan has called the legislation “the House’s blueprint for pandemic response,” and Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock Republican, the top lieutenant of the speaker, carried the measure. The House version of the bill would have continued to allow the governor to suspend state laws and trump decisions by local officials, a change denounced by Democrats, including Austin Mayor Steve Adler.

Utah

a group of police officers riding on the back of a truck: Zion National Park shuttles transport visitors through the park Thursday, May 6, 2021. © Chris Caldwell / The Spectrum & Daily News Zion National Park shuttles transport visitors through the park Thursday, May 6, 2021.

St. George: Zion National Park has ended a shuttle ticket system that was implemented to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Masks are still required while in line and while riding the shuttle, but seating capacity will now be similar to pre-COVID-19 levels. The change was announced Thursday, shortly before the Memorial Day weekend, a busy time for visitation. More than 85,000 visitors are expected this year. Tickets are no longer required, though anyone who has already purchased one will be prioritized in the shuttle queue at or after the ticket’s time and date. Otherwise the shuttle will be boarding first-come, first-served during the day from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. The shuttle ticket system was installed last July, with removed seats in the buses to allow for social distancing. Tickets were $1, which had increased to $2 apiece just two weeks ago.

Vermont

Montpelier: Restaurants, bars and social clubs can now stay open past 10 p.m. Gov. Phil Scott announced Friday that he’s lifting the curfew because the rate of 18- to 29-year-olds getting vaccinated against COVID-19 had risen from less than 30% to over 50% in the past month. He said he expects Vermont to reach 80% of the eligible population – ages 12 and up – getting at least one dose by this week, at which time he will drop the remaining pandemic-related restrictions. As of Thursday, 77% of eligible Vermonters had been vaccinated, he said. But Vermont will not let up on efforts to get as many people vaccinated as possible, particularly with variants of the coronavirus circulating, including one report of a strain first identified in South Africa, said Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine. Walk-in vaccine clinics were held Friday at various sites and over the weekend, including at Thunder Road in Barre, and there will be more than 130 walk-in vaccine sites, including at many pharmacies, this week, Scott said. “Get vaccinated, and help protect yourself and those around you,” Levine said. “Because the good news is that vaccines are showing tremendous success against the virus in general, and this includes variant strains.”

Virginia

Harrisonburg: James Madison University has announced it will require students to provide verification that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus in the fall, according to a post on its website. That includes undergraduate, graduate, and full-time and part-time students who attend in-person classes or participate in in-person studies, research opportunities or any other on-campus activities. “I’m grateful that JMU is not only prioritizing the safety of professors and students by requiring the vaccine,” said Maddie Painter, a rising JMU sophomore. “But I’m also relieved to know that the local community will not have to worry about transmission of the virus from students.” Locally, JMU joins Mary Baldwin University and Bridgewater College in requiring its students to receive a COVID-19 vaccination before the start of fall semester. “Exceptions will be accommodated for medical conditions, religious beliefs or in cases where individuals agree in writing to the conditions set forth in an assumption-of-risk exemption,” JMU said in the post. “All individuals who do not complete vaccination for any reason must complete an Assumption of Risk form, which defines the mitigation strategies that will be required of students who have not been fully vaccinated.”

Washington

Lynnwood: Bicycle store owners have raised concerns over a shortage as more people are buying bikes during the coronavirus pandemic. Gregg’s Cycle General Manager Marty Pluth said most of the racks are empty, and the remaining bikes have already been sold and are awaiting pickup, KING-TV reports. He said the wait to buy a bike is now at least four to six weeks. “I joke that we’ve become the toilet paper of the pandemic,” said Pluth, who operates the store in Lynnwood, about 15 miles north of Seattle. “People have been calling us from as far away as Oregon and California. The supply chain is pretty much broken.” Currently, Gregg’s Cycle only has about 10% of its normal inventory, with 8,000 bikes on backorder. Pluth attributes the increase in demand to the coronavirus. He said more people started buying bikes for transportation and exercise as mass transit and gyms closed to limit the spread of COVID-19. Harvy’s Bikes, also in Lynnwood, is seeing that increase in demand, too. Owner Harvy Massoud said the store is doing double the number of repairs but having trouble getting bike parts from manufacturers. Industry experts believe it will take another year or two before supply catches up with demand again.

West Virginia

Charleston: The state will step up its prizes for vaccines, enrolling all residents who have received a COVID-19 shot into a lottery for the chance to win a college scholarship, an F-150 pickup truck or cash rewards. Republican Gov. Jim Justice announced the plan for the new incentives Thursday, but more details are expected to be finalized this week. The governor has aimed to turn around a vaccination drive that drastically slowed down after a strong early start. “We’re going to make a few West Virginians millionaires before this is over,” Justice said. The program is expected to be paid through federal pandemic relief funds. Vaccinated residents ages 16 to 35 are already set to receive a $100 savings bond or gift card. Half of the state’s residents have received at least one vaccine dose, according to state data. Justice projects more than two-thirds of eligible residents will be vaccinated by the time the state removes its mask mandate June 20. He said he wanted to beat Ohio’s $1 million prize incentive program. “We’ll blow Ohio out of the water,” Justice said. Giveaways will include 10 Rocky Ridge version Ford F-150 trucks, which can cost around $80,000. The state will also follow its northwestern neighbor’s prizes, which include full-ride college scholarships and $1 million rewards.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Dells: One of the state’s major tourist attractions was making do with fewer workers over Memorial Day weekend, hoping more will arrive during the summer. Tom Diehl, president of the Attractions Association and Tommy Bartlett Inc. in Wisconsin Dells, said they’re ready to welcome visitors, but labor is a problem. “We don’t have the young people that we used to have, and then we put on top of that the enhanced unemployment,” he said. Diehl said due to the pandemic, there’s also a shortage of so-called J1 workers from other countries who come to the United States on work visas. He said they typically get 3,200 employees from around the world, but they’re “going to be lucky” to get 1,000 workers this year, WMTV-TV reports. Noah’s Ark Water Park General Manager Roland Reyes said the park is working to get back to a full staff of 500 employees. He said he expects more J1 workers as the summer continues. “We’re very optimistic – so much so that we’ve added eight operating days to our calendar season,” Reyes said. The water park will now be open on eight Tuesdays from June 22 through Aug. 10, when it was previously planning to close. As embassies start to approve more applications, Diehl is hopeful new workers will come to start filling the gap.

Wyoming

Cheyenne: A coronavirus outbreak among staff has indefinitely closed a local animal shelter to the public, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports. The Cheyenne Animal Shelter said Sunday morning that positive tests among essential staffers and related quarantines took out too many workers to allow public access for the time being, but those pets already in custody “are being well taken care of and loved upon,” according to the newspaper.

From USA TODAY Network and wire reports

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Shots at the Shore, WWII vet’s PSA, lifted curfews: News from around our 50 states

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