- An usually busy Main Street in Livingston, Montana, after Gov. Steve Bullock ordered the closing of restaurants, bars, and theaters on March 20 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
- William Campbell-Corbis via Getty Images
- All 50 states have eased at least some of their lockdown restrictions and allowed certain businesses to reopen.
- There are significant differences in the way states are reopening, with varying rules about retail, restaurants, and masks.
- Puerto Rico has maintained its original lockdown rules.
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All 50 states US states have loosened restrictions put in place earlier in the pandemic, allowing some businesses to reopen. Some cities and counties in states that are reopening still have their full lockdown policies in place, however, as do Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.
The goal of shelter-in-place rules is by now well understood: to minimize close contact between people, thereby reducing the spread of the coronavirus and flattening the epidemic curve so healthcare systems don’t get overwhelmed.
Given that, many states that are reopening still call for social distancing. In Colorado, restaurants can only have up to 50 occupants, and tables must be at least six feet apart. Alabama’s retail stores are permitted to operate at 50% capacity, and workers in Kentucky will be screened for fever before their shifts.
A map of US lockdowns
The current status of statewide orders is represented on the interactive map below. Red indicates the states with ongoing stay-at-home orders: Delaware and New Jersey (though both have eased some restrictions). Partial state lockdowns are represented in tan, marking states in which at least one city or county still has a stay-at-home order for residents.
The map also shows the patchwork of more specific regulations across the country regarding retail, restaurants, and mask-wearing.
Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming never issued statewide stay-at-home orders, though many non-essential businesses closed in most of those states, and some cities within them issued local lockdowns.
The definition of an essential business varies by location, but nonessential tends to apply to most recreational businesses. Grocery stores, banks, and pharmacies have stayed open, but in some places, restaurants have had to convert their operations to takeout. Museums are mostly still closed. Rules about salons, construction operations, parks, and marijuana dispensaries vary by region.
At the peak of the US lockdowns, 94% of the population was affected
At the end of March, 42 states and more cities and counties were under stay-at-home orders - a total of 308 million people, or 94% of the US population.
Even as some states have reopened, however, many counties in them have extended local stay-at-home orders. That's the case, for example, in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles area in California; for at-risk populations in Lake County, Florida; and in Harris County, Texas (where Houston is).
States are reopening differently
The states beginning to loosen restrictions aren't all taking the same approach. For example, California, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington have all allowed rural counties that haven't been hit as hard to reopen, while harder-hit urban counties remain under stricter rules.
Nearly every state has allowed retail operations to reopen, though some only for curbside pickup. Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, and Washington state have been allowing curbside pickup since early May.
Other states (including Alabama, Alaska, Indiana, Iowa, North Carolina, and Tennessee) allow retailers to open at lower capacity. In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster's order allows retail businesses to be open as long as there are no more than five customers per 1,000 square feet. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey allowed retailers to open on May 8, provided that customers stay 6 feet from one another and employees.
Under most stay-at-home orders, restaurants were allowed to continue to sell food for takeout and delivery. Now, many states are allowing restaurants to reopen for dine-in customers, with restrictions. Some states limit diners to outdoor seating, cap the number of diners inside a space to 25% or 50% of its capacity, or keep dine-in experiences reservation-only. In Nebraska, for example, restaurants can operate at half capacity. In Alaska, restaurants are reservation-only and can operate at 25% capacity. Utah restaurants are allowed to open as long as they exercise "extreme precautions." In Florida, outdoor seating areas at restaurants can open, and indoor seating areas can operate at 25% capacity.
A timeline of reopenings
Alaska was one of the earliest states to let its stay-at-home order expire - it lifted on April 24. Similarly, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp allowed some businesses there - such as tattoo parlors, gyms, bowling alleys, and massage parlors - to reopen on April 27, and the state's stay-at-home order expired April 30. Colorado Gov. Jared Pollis replaced the stay-at-home-order with a "safer-at-home" order on April 27, which allows curbside store pickups and real-estate showings. Tennessee allowed restaurants to reopen that same day.
The orders in Alabama, Idaho, Maine, and Texas all expired on April 30. Alabama and Maine transitioned to "safer-at-home" models, which prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people and limit the capacity of retail stores, but allow outdoor parks and beaches to be open. In most of Texas, malls, movie theaters, and strip clubs are open again.
Stay-at-home rules in Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia all expired on May 4. Mississippi's mandatory lockdown order ended May 11.
Arizona's stay-at-home order expired on May 15, but Gov. Doug Ducey had previously greenlit some commercial business reopenings, such as retail and elective surgeries. Nevada's stay-at-home order ended the same day, as did South Carolina's, though some businesses had resumed operations the week before. Oregon also lifted its stay-at-home order for 31 rural counties on May 15, though it remains in effect in the rest of the state.
North Carolina's stay-at-home order ended May 22.
Oklahoma was never under a stay-at-home order, but Gov. Kevin Stitt has reopened some nonessential businesses that were closed, including hair salons, barbershops, pet groomers, and nightclubs.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended the state's stay-at-home order through June 12, but has allowed retail to reopen with social distancing. In some areas of the state, restaurants and bars are open as well.
Mask requirements vary
Masks and face coverings are required in 14 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky Maryland, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
Some local regions in states also require masks, such as Birmingham, Alabama; Anchorage, Alaska; the Bay Area and LA county in California; Baltimore, Maryland; Durham, North Carolina; and Washington, DC.
The US has reported more than 1.7 million coronavirus cases and more than 101,000 deaths.
Aylin Woodward contributed reporting for this story.