U.S. States Reopen During COVID-19 Pandemic
Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, is allowing her state to start reopening on April 30, 2020, after her stay-at-home order expires. “As of this week, we no longer believe our hospitals will see an overwhelming amount of ICU patients who need ventilators, as we once believed, and that is sure good news,” Ivey said.
The new order, dubbed safer at home, allows retailers to welcome customers inside. State beaches can reopen, and elective procedures can resume. Other businesses, including restaurants, salons, and gyms, aren’t yet permitted to reopen.
Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy allowed some sectors of the economy to begin reopening on April 24, 2020, with restaurants allowed to offer dine-in service. The new guidelines also allow retail stores like barbers, nail salons, and hairdressers to reopen. May 8 is the tentative date set for the second phase of reopening.
Dunleavy told reporters on April 28 that officials are waiting to see whether the first phase leads to outbreaks of COVID-19: “I have no doubt there will be an occasional setback or two. We’re going to forge ahead, we’re going to protect the health of Alaskans. But we’re going to deal with this not in an atmosphere of fear, but more in an atmosphere of understanding what needs to be done.”
The stay-at-home order issued by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey is currently in place until April 30, 2020. Ducey has not outlined when businesses can start to reopen. Even if the governor doesn’t allow businesses to reopen, some business owners plan to welcome customers starting April 30.
“If I don’t reopen my business, I will lose everything I’ve worked so hard for,” Arlica Hernandez, owner of Beauty Bar in Peoria, told ABC 15. Ducey is letting elective surgeries restart on May 1.
Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who hasn’t issued a stay-at-home order, said phase one of reopening will involve state parks on May 1, 2020. Residents will be able to camp with recreational vehicles on that date, the governor said on April 28. Officials are targeting May 15 for the second phase. Restaurants, museums, and retailers, among others, will be allowed to reopen then.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who ordered Californians to stay at home except for essential trips in mid-March 2020, said on April 28 that the first phase of reopening will see restrictions lifted from businesses deemed low risk, including offices, retailers, and manufacturing facilities. Childcare facilities might be allowed to reopen in phase one. Newsom did not set a date for phase one.
Democratic Gov. Jared Polis’s stay-at-home order shifted on April 27, 2020, to a phase called Safer-at-Home, featuring relaxed restrictions, including allowing real estate showings to resume and curbside retail sales to start. Some businesses can reopen under restrictions on May 1 and some office work can resume on May 4.
“I want to reiterate, the Safer-at-Home phase is not going back to life as normal. It’s not a major adjustment from where we have been,” Polis said in a statement. “Safer-at-Home means most Coloradans should continue to limit social interactions to the greatest extent possible to just individuals in your household and wear facial masks when you are out.”
Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said on April 27, 2020, that businesses could reopen as soon as May 4, depending on whether the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals continues to declines.
“It’s not a straight line, but we’re about seven days into this down slope and that means in another seven to 10 days, we can start making some announcements about places that we can go and places that can be opened,” Lamont told reporters. Lamont has previously targeted May 20 for reopening, but the adjusted plan would see some businesses open beforehand.
Democratic Gov. John Carney, who ordered residents to stay at home in March 2020, outlined criteria for reopening in an April 23 release. Citing federal guidelines, he said reopening would not start until the state sees two weeks of declining symptoms and presumed positive cases, as well as the ability to treat COVID-19 patients in hospitals without crisis care. The number of new cases has only dropped once in recent days, meaning the state is—at minimum—two weeks from reopening.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order on April 1, 2020—one of the last in the nation to do so. The current order is set to expire on April 30. DeSantis recently allowed local officials to reopen beaches across the state. He told reporters that Phase 1 of an economic reopening will happen soon.
“For Florida, going from where we are now to phase one is not a very big leap. We’re going to approach it in a very measured, thoughtful, and data-driven way,” the governor said.
A slew of businesses began reopening on April 24, 2020, including restaurants, movie theaters, and bowling alleys. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who ordered residents to stay at home in March, significantly loosened his order, but it is still in place until April 30. Some restrictions remain in place; bars, nightclubs, amusement parks, and performance venues are still closed, while older and “medically fragile” Georgians are still required to stay home.
Democratic Gov. David Ige on April 26, 2020, extended his stay-at-home order to May 31. The state imposed some of the most stringent measures in the country, requiring anyone entering the state to quarantine for two weeks, blocking cruise ships, and closing beaches. The updated order allows Hawaiians to use beaches for exercise, and allows facilities to resume elective surgeries.
“This was not an easy decision. I know this has been difficult for everyone. Businesses need to reopen. People want to end this self-isolation, and we want to return to normal,” Ige said in a statement. “But this virus is potentially deadly, especially for the elderly and those with preexisting conditions.”
Republican Gov. Brad Little announced on April 23, 2020, a four-step plan to reopen the state. Little’s original order remains in effect through April 30, but he plans to soon open houses of worship, day cares, organized youth events, and camps. The first phase of the plan is slated for May 1.
“I think we will meet the criteria for stage one unless something significant happens moving forward,” Little said during a telephone town hall.
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker on April 23, 2020, announced an extension of his stay-at-home order, previously due to expire on May 1, through the end of May. The altered order requires all residents older than 2 years of age to wear a mask or face covering when in public places, unless they cannot “medically tolerate” such a covering.
The order also eased some restrictions, allowing state parks to reopen and letting nonessential businesses take online or phone orders and deliver them or offer curbside pickup. The extension was partially blocked by a circuit judge on April 27, and Pritzker appealed the decision.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb extended his stay-at-home order on April 20, 2020, through May 1. The modified mandate permits hospitals to conduct nonemergency procedures, and allows nurseries, garden centers, and some other businesses to reopen. Most restrictions stayed in effect.
“I want to thank Hoosiers in every corner of our state who have stayed socially distanced and hunkered down. Lives are being saved, and we’re slowing the spread,” Holcomb said in a statement. “Continuing the course at this time is essential to flattening the curve while we also prepare to safely reopen Indiana for business.”
Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said on April 27, 2020, that restaurants, fitness centers, and retailers in most counties can open at 50% capacity starting April 30. Churches and other houses of worship will also be allowed to operate under limited conditions. Reynolds previously allowed elective surgeries to resume and for farmers markets to start back up on April 27. Reynolds did not issue a stay-at-home order, but her cumulative restrictions now resemble the stay-at-home orders of other states.
Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, who issued a stay-at-home mandate in March 2020, said at a briefing on April 23 that she hopes to reopen the state on May 3, when her order is set to expire. Kelly says she is finalizing plans for loosening restrictions on May 4.
Phase 1 of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s reopening plan, which focuses on healthcare, started on April 27, 2020. Dentists, chiropractors, and other medical businesses were allowed to take appointments not designated as emergencies, provided they do not permit people to wait inside and screen them before they enter. The next phase of reopening will happen on May 11, the governor said, but bars, nightclubs, youth activities, and childcare won’t be allowed to reopen or restart until June 2020.
The stay-at-home order from Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards was slated to expire on May 1, 2020, but on April 27 he extended the order until May 15.
“The worst thing I can do is ignore the reality and pretend we’re in a better place than we are,” he said at a press conference. Edwards said the first phase of reopening will likely start on May 16.
Retailers, personal care businesses, and houses of worship will be allowed to open at 25% capacity. Restaurants may be allowed to reopen but officials haven’t decided as of yet.
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills on April 28, 2020, extended her stay-at-home order to May 31. It was previously set to expire on May 1. The updated order contains new exceptions, and Mills wants to start reopening some businesses on May 1, including barber shops, hair salons, golf courses, state parks, auto dealerships, and car washes. Houses of worship can hold drive-in services, and drive-in movie theaters are being allowed to welcome customers. Phase 2 is scheduled for June 1.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan on April 24, 2020, unveiled a roadmap for recovery and reopenings. Businesses will be grouped into low, medium, and high risk, with low-risk businesses allowed to reopen first. Hogan has not targeted a start date for reopening and has been the most cautious Republican governor in the country. He says reopening will depend on the number of new cases, deaths, and hospitalizations from the virus.
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who issued a stay-at-home mandate March 2020, extended his stay-at-home order to May 18.
“I know pushing these dates back a couple weeks is probably not what people want to hear,” he said at a press conference. “Believe me, I’m just as frustrated as anybody else. We all look forward to stepping in front of this podium to tell you that we’re starting to reopen for business. I know we’ll get there soon, but we have to be smart in how we do it.”
Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who imposed some of the strictest rules in the nation, including stopping the sale of seeds, announced April 24, 2020, she was extending her stay-at-home order through May 15. The amended order requires people to wear masks or other face coverings while in grocery stores and other indoor spaces, while easing some restrictions on businesses, allowing landscape companies, nurseries, and bike shops, among others, to reopen.
Whitmer told reporters on April 27 that construction workers will be able to return to work within the next week or two. Her administration is working on details for reopening for industrial sectors.
Democratic Gov. Tim Walz allowed some businesses to reopen on April 27, 2020. Walz, who issued a stay-at-home mandate in March, said the move will allow 80,000 to 100,000 residents to return to work in industrial, manufacturing, and office settings that generally don’t involve direct interactions with customers or the general public. As many as 20,000 businesses are reopening, according to the governor’s office.
In Minneapolis, officials are shutting down more facilities, closing basketball courts, athletic fields, tennis courts, playgrounds, volleyball courts, and skate parks on May 1. Officials said the city has received more than 125 complaints of large groups at parks.
Republican Gov. Tate Reeves, who issued a shelter-in-place mandate on April 1, 2020, allowed retail businesses to reopen starting April 27 if they follow social distancing guidelines. Store owners must adhere to limits on the number of shoppers. Other businesses that are now allowed to reopen include movie theaters, bars, museums, gyms, and spas.
Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican who extended his stay-at-home order through May 3, 2020, is considering reopening businesses on May 4. Parson announced his plan on April 27, saying all businesses can reopen next Monday provided business owners and residents follow social distancing requirements. The main requirement is keeping six feet of distance between individuals and those not in their household.
“We are successfully flattening the curve,” Parson said. “With the help of all Missourians, our plan is working. The healthcare system is not overwhelmed and we are winning the battle.”
Businesses started reopening on April 27, 2020, after Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, who issued a stay-at-home order in March, announced a phased reopening plan on April 22. Retailers can open if they adhere to social distancing requirements, while houses of worship were allowed to open on April 26 with similar measures.
“There are very few states in the country that can say they have seen the number of positive cases decline over these past weeks. Montana can say that because, together, we have made that decline in cases possible,” Bullock said in a statement. Dine-in restaurants and bars will be allowed to open their doors on May 4 but will be required to operate at 50% capacity, and have plans to keep customers at appropriate distances. Students can return to schools on May 7, pending decisions by local school boards, in what appears to be the earliest planned reopening of schools in the nation.