Today’s update begins with some significant developments from the West Coast.

The U.S. Justice Department has just issued a warning that California could be violating religious freedoms in its plan to reopen the state after the coronavirus stay-at-home order.

The letter from the Justice Department’s civil rights division to Gov. Gavin Newsom listed several objections both to the original order and the plan to slowly reopen the economy.

The Justice Department questioned why religious work was not considered “essential” while other sectors, including the entertainment and e-commerce industries, were allowed to continue operating.

Federal officials also criticized the reopening plan for allowing restaurants, shopping malls, offices and manufacturing facilities to open under Phase 2 while religious institutions could not reopen for in-person services until Phase 3, which would occur later.

In fact, the Justice Department indicates that the houses of worship should be allowed to reopen during Phase 2:

Salons, Spas Across California Call On Governor To Re-Open Early

Not only do Californians want to return to their places of worship, but they would also like to get their hair and nails done before heading to services.

Nail and hair salons across California are pushing to reopen early.

There were hundreds of protesters outside of the state Capitol on Monday demanding a speedier coronavirus recovery plan in their favor.

In Huntington Beach, business owners held a virtual town hall with Orange County Congressmember Harley Rouda, citing the financial strains of being forced to stay closed.

“They need to pay their rent. Technicians need to get back to work,” said Johnny Ngo of Whale Spa Salon Furniture. “The industry is ready to do what needs to be done to get this moving forward.”

Ngo and other salon owners have started the campaign, Nailing It For America, suing Gov. Gavin Newsom for the right to reopen and raising money to buy personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.

Oregon Coronavirus Restrictions Kept in Place

Oregon remains on lockdown, despite a judge’s recent order.

The Oregon Supreme Court late Monday halted a rural judge’s order from earlier in the day that tossed out statewide coronavirus restrictions imposed by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown. Baker County Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff had ruled that Brown erred by not seeking the Legislature’s approval to extend the stay-at-home orders beyond a 28-day limit.

The Supreme Court’s ruling stays Shirtcliff’s decision pending a review by all the high court justices.

Gov. Mike DeWine Lifts Ohio’s ‘Safe At Home’ Order

In the Midwest, it appears Ohio is opening up. It seems the governor there prefers recommendations over dictates and orders.

More of Ohio’s mandatory restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including the state’s “stay-at-home” order and two-week self-quarantine period for travelers entering the state, will be cut short, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Tuesday.

However, some key social-distancing rules, including a ban on most mass gatherings and restrictions on bars and restaurants, will remain mandatory.

The current “Safe At Home” order will be replaced with an “Urgent Health Advisory: Ohioans Protecting Ohioans” order, the governor said during his daily coronavirus briefing.

“We are now moving from orders to strong recommendations,” DeWine said. “This is a new phase in our battle against the virus.”

Virginia’s Democratic Gov Ditches Beach Restrictions After Thousands Defy His Order

Virginia’s governor has eased the state’s Coronavirus restrictions on beaches and water activities after thousands of flocked to the shoreline this past weekend.

On Friday, Northam, a Democrat, gave the green light for houses of worship and some businesses to operate at 50 percent capacity. Outdoor dining – with different parties spaced 6 feet apart – resumed with some staff required to wear masks.

…Following the weekend crowds, Northam announced during a press conference Monday that Virginia Beach would be allowed to reopen May 22 at the start of Memorial Day weekend, which normally kicks off the coast’s busy summer tourism season.

The governor said that although Virginia Beach will join Phase One of his reopening plan on Friday, other beaches in the state would remain restricted to just exercise and fishing until at least Phase 2, WWBT reported.

Oxford Vaccine May Only Offer ‘Partial Protection’ After Results of Monkey Trial

While the Moderna vaccine trial proved highly successful, the results weren’t nearly as good for the Oxford version.

Scientists have cast doubts over the coronavirus vaccine being developed by University of Oxford researchers, suggesting “concerning” results of trials in macaque monkeys indicated it might only offer “partial protection.”

The government pledged a further £65.5m for the research on Sunday, announcing it had struck a global licensing deal with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, which will see up to 30 million doses produced by September if the vaccine is successful.

Human trials of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine are already underway, after trials on mice and rhesus macaques at the US National Institute of Health’s Rocky Mountain Laboratory, the full results of which were made public last week in a non-peer-reviewed preprint.

The researchers found a single dose of the vaccine prevented all six vaccinated monkeys from developing pneumonia, but did not prevent infection outright.

 

 
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