States reopen in US as coronavirus pandemic persists

Updated 9:57 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020
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6:23 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Mississippi governor to allow outdoor gatherings of up to 20 people

From CNN's Pamela Wessmann

A person walks by the Mississippi State Capitol building in Jackson on Wednesday, April 8.
A person walks by the Mississippi State Capitol building in Jackson on Wednesday, April 8. Rory Doyle/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said outdoor gatherings for up to 20 people will be allowed.

“I don’t want to wait if there are steps that we believe we can safely take now to ease the burden on Mississippians fighting this virus," he said.

He will also allow dining in restaurants subject to strict guidelines. The guidelines include that servers wear masks and there be no more than 50% capacity in the restaurants.

"Hopefully it will help overcrowding in grocery stores," he said.

6:19 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Illinois governor says people "persistently defiant" of stay-at-home order "can be put in jail"

From CNN's Raja Razek

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a press briefing on May 3.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a press briefing on May 3. Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service/Getty Images

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he believes local law enforcement needs to step in if people continue to defy the state's stay-at-home order.  

"When people are being persistently defiant, I do think that local law enforcement needs to step in. You know, but it's up to the mayor, and it's up to the local law enforcement to make those decisions," Pritzker said at a news conference today.

In response to a question about the church in Lena, whose pastor held service with dozens of people in attendance last weekend, Pritzker said, "We have always asked local enforcement, local officials to enforce these orders. The best way to do that, of course, is a reminder to the pastor and to the parishioners that they are putting themselves and others in danger by holding a service like this."

As for people in any county defying the stay-at-home order of no more than 10 people, the governor said, "We are asking them to disperse...we just don't want people getting sick."

"I will say, however, if people are persistently defiant, they can be put in jail," he added. "And I am not suggesting that that's the best answer or the first answer, but it is something that is an option for local law enforcement."

Numbers in the state: Illinois reported 2,341 new COVID-19 cases today, bringing the total to 63,840, with 2,662 deaths in the state. 

6:15 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

More than 250,000 people have died from coronavirus around the world

Workers remove a body from a home in Manaus, Brazil, on May 4.
Workers remove a body from a home in Manaus, Brazil, on May 4. Michael Dantas/AFP/Getty Images

The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus worldwide has surpassed a quarter of a million, according to a tally of cases by Johns Hopkins University.

Johns Hopkins reported 250,687 deaths and 3,573,864 total confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide as of 6 p.m. ET Monday.

6:01 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Kentucky to start the second phase of reopening health care

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Kentucky will begin the next phase of reopening health care in the state on Wednesday, according to Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack.

This second phase will include outpatient gastrointestinal procedures, radiology procedures, diagnostic non-urgent cardiac procedures, outpatient orthopedic procedures, outpatient ophthalmological procedures, outpatient ear, nose and throat procedures, and outpatient dental procedures, Stack said.

The Battelle system will also be available to all health care providers for use to clean N95 masks.

Gov. Andy Beshear also announced that the state has started a partnership with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Distillers Association. The groups will provide masks and hand sanitizer to small businesses as the state reopens its economy.

5:54 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Small communities in Washington can open earlier than the rest of the state, governor says

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Businesses in many smaller communities in Washington state may be allowed to reopen this week under an order signed Monday by Gov. Jay Inslee. 

Counties can ask for an exception to state coronavirus regulations on businesses, which remain some of the strictest in the country.

In order to apply, a county must have fewer than 75,000 people, with no new Covid-19 cases for three consecutive weeks.

Some context: Washington begins “Phase 1” of its reopening plan across the state Tuesday. 

Nonessential businesses will still be prohibited from having customers in their stores, but some non-contact businesses like lawn care and car washes can resume. This phase is set to last for at least three weeks.

5:48 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Workers at Tyson Foods pork plant in Iowa return to work

From CNN's Dianne Gallagher and Pamela Kirkland 

The Tyson Foods pork plant is seen on April 22, in Perry, Iowa.
The Tyson Foods pork plant is seen on April 22, in Perry, Iowa. Charlie Neibergall/AP

Tyson Foods resumed operations at its pork processing plant in Perry, Iowa, today, the company confirmed to CNN.

"All team members returning to work at our Perry facility have been tested, and we have implemented enhanced safety protocols to ensure our efforts meet or exceed local, state and federal guidelines," Tyson said in a statement.

The new safety protocols include taking the temperatures of workers, conducting wellness checks and screening employees for symptoms and requiring the use of face coverings, according to the statement.

The plant closed down more than two weeks ago to "test team members and conduct deep clean of the entire facility," according to Tyson.

It is not known how many Covid-19 cases are linked directly to the Perry plant, since neither Dallas County Public Health nor Tyson Foods have made that information available. 

The Tyson plant in Waterloo is now the only pork plant with operations fully suspended at this time. 

5:37 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Restaurants in Kansas are now open as safer-at-home order expires

From CNN's Janine Mack

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly tweeted Monday that the state's "safer-at-home" order has ended.

"Today (Monday) begins Phase One of my administration’s plan to cautiously and gradually reopen our state. For Kansans, Phase One means you can go to restaurants – so long as they adhere to proper public health guidelines and can maintain at least 6 feet between customers," Kelly's tweeted.

Libraries and childcare facilities also may open, she said.

Phase Two will occur no sooner than May 18, which includes bars and clubs reopening at 50%, according to Kelly's “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas” website.

Phase Three will take effect no sooner than June 1, which includes schools reopening and nonessential travel resuming, according to Kelly.

Read Kelly's tweet:

5:37 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Missouri governor does not wear a mask during business reopening tour

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson speaks during a media briefing in Jefferson City, Missouri, on May 4.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson speaks during a media briefing in Jefferson City, Missouri, on May 4. Missouri Governor's Office

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson visited businesses Monday as the state began reopening stores, but he did not wear a mask even when greeting others wearing face coverings. 

When asked why he did not wear a mask at an outdoor store in Springfield and a thrift store in Joplin, the governor responded, “I chose not to.”

Parson went on to say, “If you want to wear a mask when you go into a business, then wear a mask. But if you don’t, I don’t think it’s government’s place to regulate that.”

Parson did wear a mask when visiting a Covid-19 temporary intensive care unit at a Springfield hospital, but he declined to weigh in why many legislators were not covering their faces as they returned to work at the Capitol. 

“The House of Representatives need to make that choice, not the governor’s office for them," he said.

By the numbers: The state Department of Health and Senior Services reported 358 new Covid-19 cases Monday, the highest single day number reported in Missouri since the start of the outbreak. 

Parson downplayed the increase in the one-day total, saying, “The numbers –– you can pick any of them out and make any case you want.”

5:00 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Massachusetts reports 1,000 new cases of Covid-19

From CNN's Mirna Alsharif

Massachusetts reported 1,000 new positive cases of coronavirus today, bringing the statewide total to 69,087, according to numbers released by the health department.

The commonwealth reported 86 new deaths, bringing the total to 4,090.

Five percent of all cases across Massachusetts are currently hospitalized.