Georgia governor urges people to wear masks and practice social distancing
From CNN’s Maria Cartaya
Gov. Brian Kemp asked people in his state “to do the right thing" when it comes to practicing social distancing, using good hand sanitation and wearing a mask.
“(It's) not that hard to do,” said Kemp, speaking from Southeast Georgia Health System in Brunswick, Georgia.
“Even on the beach do that as well (follow guidelines). We’re not going to be the nanny state. We want people to enjoy themselves, we just want them to do that in a safe way so we can continue to enjoy and have a profitable rest of the summer for the Golden Isles,” Kemp said.
Asked about Savannah’s mask mandate, Kemp said, “From a legal perspective, I really haven’t had time to look at that.”
“The mayor and I agree on the policy. You should be wearing your mask," he added.
4:34 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
California will withhold funds from people who don't comply with health orders, governor says
From CNN's Cheri Mossburg
Enforcement of health orders is contingent on local authorities, but California’s governor is again threatening to withhold funding from those who do not comply.
Part of California’s new budget included a trailer bill, which allows dissemination of funds based on contingent behavior, Gov. Gavin Newsom said. He is referring to the distribution of $2.1 billion, which includes CARES Act and realignment dollars.
The enforcement directive applies to everyone in the state, not just to businesses. Yet companies seem to be the focus of intervention, with Newsom noting that the state sent out 350,00 letters to businesses on Wednesday specifically laying out expectations and good business behaviors to protect employees and customers.
The governor said he supports the idea of issuing citations if necessary, but stresses that education and encouragement to follow the directives should come first.
4:59 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
Vice President Pence: The US "will flatten the curve"
From CNN's Nikki Carvajal
Vice President Mike Pence, on a swing of states with sharp rises in Covid-19 cases, has been changing his tone on the virus, declaring in Arizona and Florida that the country “will flatten the curve.”
In recent remarks, Pence has said the curve has already been flattened.
“We will slow the spread,” Pence said, alongside Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Dr. Deborah Birx on Thursday. “We will flatten the curve. And we will save lives and we will bring Florida’s economy back bigger and better than ever before.”
He made a similar statement in Arizona on Wednesday.
As recently as two weeks ago, Pence said he was “proud to report” that “we slowed the spread. We flattened the curve. We cared for the most vulnerable, and we saved lives,” in remarks at a steel plant in Michigan. Even at the time, that was false. Case counts were on the increase or flat in most states, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins which tracks cases across the US.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Pence said the federal government is “considering” and will be “processing in very short order” a request for additional medical personnel to deal with coronavirus cases in Florida.
But Pence still stressed the need to “keep opening back up our economy,” even as cases surge nationwide.
“Even in these challenging times,” Pence said, “we’re continuing to see America’s economy coming back, Americans going back to work.” He also thanked the DeSantis for his “efforts to open up Florida again,” before touting jobs numbers.
4:22 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
More than 34,000 new cases of Covid-19 reported in the US today
There have been at least 2,721,961cases of coronavirus in the US since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, and at least 128,496 people have died.
Johns Hopkins reported at least 34,634 new cases and 419 deaths on Thursday.
The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.
4:17 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
New Jersey extends public health emergency for another 30 days
From CNN's Melanie Schuman and Elizabeth Hartfield
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an executive order extending the public health emergency in the state.
The extension does not impact the state’s reopening, which is continuing to move ahead. The health emergency was first declared in the state on March 9.
“What today’s action means is we will have the authority to remain vigilant and prepared to act should there be another outbreak,” Murphy said during his daily briefing Thursday.
Each extension expires after 30 days unless renewed.
4:13 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
US stocks finish higher following better than expected jobs report
From CNN’s Anneken Tappe
US stocks ended in the green on Thursday, as the Nasdaq Composite soared to a new closing record.
Investors cheered a better-than-expected jobs report this morning, with a record 4.8 million jobs added in June. The unemployment rate fell to 11.1%.
Here's where the market closed:
The Dow closed up 0.4%, or 92 points.
The S&P 500 finished 0.5% higher.
The Nasdaq Composite closed up 0.5%, setting an all-time closing high.
Remember: The market will remain closed on Friday for the Independence Day holiday.
4:12 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
Columbus, Ohio, implements mask mandate
From CNN’s Rebekah Riess
Another US city will be requiring people to wear masks in public.
Beginning July 3, Columbus, Ohio, will require people to wear a face covering when out in public, the city's Health Department announced Thursday.
“We must stay the course of maintaining social distancing, washing hands and wearing facial coverings. So today I am signing an executive order to mandate face coverings in Columbus,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther tweeted.
Ginther said the city has distributed more than 40,000 masks.
Asked if employees at the Ohio State House in Columbus would be required to follow the mayor’s order, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said, “I certainly hope that everyone will follow those orders, they are not unreasonable."
"I want to congratulate the mayor and all the mayors for doing this. I think it makes eminent sense to do it," he added.
Read Ginther's tweet:
4:13 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
At least 152 Covid-19 cases linked to Michigan bar outbreak
From CNN's Melissa Alonso
There are at least 152 Covid-19 cases currently linked to a bar in East Lansing, Michigan, Amanda Darche, public information officer for the Ingham Health Department, tells CNN.
On Tuesday, 107 cases were linked to the Harper's Restaurant & Brew Pub. Health officials asked anyone who visited the establishment June 12 and June 20 to self-quarantine, CNN has reported.
The 152 current cases include "128 primary cases and 24 secondary cases," Darche says. Secondary cases are people who were infected but did not visit Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub.
On its website, Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub says patrons "voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19" when visiting.
Some more context: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Wednesday closing indoor service at bars throughout most of lower Michigan “following recent outbreaks tied to bars," she said.
6:18 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
Tulsa mayor announces new initiatives to balance economic and health risks
From CNN's Gregory Lemos
The mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma, G.T. Bynum, announced today three new initiatives as positive case rates climb to "an unacceptable new normal" in his city.
Speaking at a news conference with his chief health official, Bynum did not address any link to the rise in cases and President Trump’s June 20 rally in Tulsa.
Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department, also did not specifically address any potential community spread that may have resulted from the Trump rally, but did address gatherings where the purpose is to "congregate in close contact with other people" as "a potential risk for spreading Covid-19" and advised people to wear masks and socially distance.
As the city continues to try to balance economic and health risks, here are the initiatives announced by the governor:
A new safety certification system: Bynum said this would allow local businesses and organizations to submit a safety plan, specific to their facility, to the Tulsa Health Department for approval. The department will either suggest improvements or approve them as “certified.” "Then that organization will be able to tell their clients or their congregants that they have a Tulsa Health Department certification plan," Bynum said.
Gatherings: Bynum said organizers putting on an event with over 500 people must develop a safety plan approved by the department to move forward. The requirement goes into effect on July 16.
Face coverings: All employees of bars and restaurants will be required to wear face coverings while they are at work. "This is something that we should have put in place on May 1," Bynum said. "As we go through something as unprecedented as this, we continue to see things that in retrospect we wish we had put in place." Bynum has not yet issued a mandatory mask wearing order but said he would expeditiously if Dart deemed it necessary.
The latest numbers: Dart said at least 136 new cases were reported during the week of June 21-27.