US states represent patchwork as they mull economic restarts

Posted at 6:32 AM, Apr 23, 2020

More governors are reopening their economies by the day around the country, creating a patchwork of stay-home orders and other business restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Some states are moving faster to reopen, like Georgia, Oklahoma and Montana, where the governor on Wednesday gave the green light to schools to open back up in early May. Other states such as New Hampshire are considering extensions. And some states, such as Wyoming and South Dakota, never instituted a stay-home order to begin with.

Here’s a look at where states stand on reopening.


MONTANA: Churches can hold services on Sunday, and restaurants, bars and casinos can reopen on May 4 with reduced capacity and hours under a plan announced Wednesday by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock. Schools have the option to return to in-classroom instruction May 7.

GEORGIA: Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s call to reopen shuttered businesses lets gyms, hair and nail salons, bowling alleys and tattoo parlors open with restrictions Friday. Restaurants can resume dine-in service Monday. However, Atlanta’s mayor has questioned the logic of moving so quickly, and some business owners are reluctant to reopen. Georgia’s testing system has lagged behind much of the nation and public health experts warn that moving too quickly could fuel a resurgence in infections.

OKLAHOMA: Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt announced plans Wednesday to allow non-elective surgeries to resume and hair and nail salons, barbershops, spas and pet groomers to reopen Friday, by appointment only and if they adhere to social distancing and strict sanitation. Restaurant dining rooms, movie theaters, gyms and places of worship can open May 1 as long as businesses follow social distancing and sanitation protocols.

ALASKA: Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration announced plans to begin allowing the limited reopening of restaurants, stores, hair and nail salons and other businesses starting Friday. Restaurants, for example, would be able to provide limited dine-in services, but only able to operate at limited capacity and only seat household members at the same table.

TEXAS: State parks reopened and nonessential surgeries have resumed, and all retailers will be allowed to sell items curbside beginning Friday. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott says more relaxed restrictions are coming Monday.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, has begun to gradually allow more businesses to reopen. On Tuesday, nonessential businesses such as flea markets, department stores and boutiques could reopen and local governments were allowed to remove barricades to beaches. McMaster said the timing for additional steps depends on reports from state health officials.

TENNESSEE: Gov. Bill Lee announced earlier this week that he will not extend the state’s mandatory safer-at-home order, which expires April 30. Instead, the Republican says businesses in most counties will be allowed to reopen as early as Monday. The governor has not revealed which businesses will be the first to phase back open and says he’ll give those detail at week’s end. Large cities including Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville can decide on their own when to reopen.

FLORIDA: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has asked his state coronavirus task force for recommendations by the end of next week on a plan for the first phase of reopening the state. He says the state should look at risk factors as it starts to reopen for business, and not just what’s essential. DeSantis has already allowed beaches to reopen.

LOUISIANA: Gov. John Bel Edwards’ statewide stay-at-home order expires April 30. The Democratic governor has said he will lift some of his restrictions on businesses by May 1, but hasn’t yet described what he’ll reopen. In a first, small step, the governor announced some non-emergency medical procedures can resume on Monday.

VERMONT: Republican Gov. Phil Scott has taken steps toward loosening restrictions on nonessential businesses. Still, many of the altered provisions remain strict, such as no work crews of more than two people.

UTAH: In Utah, one of the few states where a statewide shelter-in-place order is voluntary, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has outlined plans to begin a slow re-opening of the state in early May. He allowed elective surgeries to resume Wednesday, saying that hospitals now have enough to meet short-term needs and growth in new coronavirus hospitalizations has decreased.

COLORADO: Democratic Gov. Jared Polis outlined a plan to ease statewide stay-at-home and nonessential business closures Monday. All nonessential retailers may soon offer curbside delivery and can fully reopen, at half-staff capacity and with protective measures. Offices and personal services can do the same in May. Schools, universities, gyms remain closed, along with indoor restaurant and bar service. Residents are being urged to stay at home as long as they can.


ARIZONA: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Wednesday he’s yet not ready to announce an end to his statewide stay-at-home order, but will allow hospitals to resume elective surgeries May 1. The Republican governor said his decision on whether to extend the order set to expire April 30 will be based on the virus data next week. Ducey said he does not want to lose any gains brought by the order put in place March 30. The governor said he could continue the order, modify it or let it expire.

ARKANSAS: Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Wednesday the state will ease its ban on elective surgeries beginning Monday, April 27. Hutchinson has said he hopes to begin lifting some of the state’s other restrictions May 4 and plans to announce decisions on them starting next week, beginning with one on restaurants April 29. Arkansas does not have a broad stay-at-home order but has imposed other rules.

OHIO: Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has said some businesses could reopen on May 1, without providing details. He said the reopening must involve protocols such as social distancing, cleaning surfaces, frequent hand-washing and wearing masks. DeWine said it would take much longer to resume mass gatherings like concerts and sporting events.

KENTUCKY: Gov. Andy Beshear announced plans Wednesday to ramp up coronavirus testing with new sites opening next week in Louisville and Lexington, the state’s two largest cities, along with Owensboro and Bowling Green. The Democratic governor also announced an initial phase of resuming hospital services such as diagnostic and radiology procedures will start next week.

NORTH CAROLINA: Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said that this week he’ll release more details on testing, contract tracing and case rate goals the state must meet before easing business and movement restrictions. He said he also would announce whether a stay-at-home order set to expire next week would continue.

WASHINGTON: Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee says easing the stay-home order now in place through May 4 will be gradual with decisions based on markers including adequate testing and the pace of new cases. But there are mounting calls for easing restrictions in the state that had the first major deadly outbreak, including a sheriff who says he won’t enforce the stay-home order because it violates constitutional rights.

INDIANA: The statewide stay-at-home order has been extended until May 1. Gov. Eric Holcomb Monday lifted limits on hospitals performing elective medical procedures and said he might announce steps next week toward relaxing restrictions on some businesses. The Republican said modifications could vary across Indiana and that major changes would be done in collaboration with neighboring states.

MICHIGAN: Michigan’s stay-at-home order lasts through April 30. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday she will extend the order longer but also is hoping to relax some restrictions to start reopening sectors of the economy. Some form of the order – considered among the nation’s toughest -- will be in effect for a “long time,” she said, hinting that the elderly and people with chronic lung problems may face restrictions longer than others. She is expected to speak more about her plan on Friday.

ALABAMA: Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is expected to announce next week what business closures will continue. The Republican said she is eager to reopen but urged people to continue following the order. The order, in place through April, disallows dine-in restaurant service and closes nonessential businesses such as salons and entertainment venues.

MISSOURI: Republican Gov. Mike Parson extended his stay-home order last week through May 3, but pledged that on May 4 “people are going to go back to work.” However, Democratic leaders in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas have extended local stay-home orders through mid-May.

MISSISSIPPI: Republican Gov. Tate Reeves favors gradual reopening, but has not set a timeline. On April 20, Reeves allowed nonessential, including florists and clothing stores, to start delivery or curbside pickup. His stay-home order is set to expire Monday, but Reeves says people should continue social distancing beyond then.

OREGON: Democratic Gov. Kate Brown this week circulated Oregon’s own version of a three-phase plan to lift restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, including allowing childcare facilities to reopen in phase one and possibly restaurants. But Oregon’s plan contains no time frame for reopening certain areas of the economy, and Brown has listed no specific end date for her social-distancing directives.

PENNSYLVANIA: Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has shut schools for the school year and shuttered tens of thousands of businesses. But he suggested he could let his stay-home order expire after May 8 for residents of some counties and reopen some business sectors, including construction. New rules took effect this week including requirements that essential businesses provide protective gear to employees and make customers to wear masks.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has appointed a bipartisan group of lawmakers, business leaders and state officials to examine how the state can begin to re-open its economy. The state’s stay-at-home order expires May 4, but Sununu said there likely will be further extensions.

KANSAS: Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, has promised a plan next week for a phased economic reopening, but first needs more widespread testing and better contact tracing. She’s been under increasing pressure from the Republican-controlled Legislature to outline such a plan and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, an influential business industry group, said Wednesday that a large majority of its members believe the economy should start reopening within the next two weeks.

HAWAII: A stay-home order imposed by Gov. David Ige lasts through April 30 and may be extended. The Democrat’s administration is compiling criteria for relaxing restrictions. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has extended the stay-at-home order for the state’s largest city through May 31. But Caldwell announced some initial steps to ease rules starting with allowing people to walk and jog in city parks beginning Saturday, April 25.

IDAHO: Republican Gov. Brad Little plans to discuss economic recovery Thursday, but it’s not clear what steps he’ll take. His stay-home order restricting nonessential businesses expires at the end of April. Last week, he allowed more businesses to reopen if they could offer curbside service and ensure social distancing.

WEST VIRGINIA: Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has avoided setting a timetable on lifting restrictions, repeatedly saying he’ll listen to health experts above all. Still, the billionaire coal and agricultural businessman, has recently turned his public attention to restarting the state’s economy and said hospitals will soon be able resume elective procedures if they can prove they have enough protective equipment.


SOUTH DAKOTA: Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, has resisted calls to shut down businesses or issue a stay-at-home order, even as she has come under criticism from some, especially after an outbreak infected hundreds of workers at a Sioux Falls pork plant that had to be shuttered. Noem has instead called on gatherings to be limited to 10 or fewer people and on businesses and individuals to practice safe distancing.

WYOMING: Wyoming is among a handful of states that hasn’t implemented a statewide stay-at-home order. Testing capacity for the coronavirus remains limited but Republican Gov. Mark Gordon considers the state already essentially in Phase One of the White House reopening guidelines. Gordon has ordered schools and many types of businesses to remain closed until April 30.

NORTH DAKOTA: Republican Gov. Doug Burgum ordered most businesses closed until at least the end of April and hasn’t signaled when he would lift the restrictions. Burgum said Tuesday the state plans to increase testing and contact tracing to protect residents and meet White House guidelines to put people back to work.

NEBRASKA: Gov. Pete Ricketts hasn’t imposed a stay-at-home order but has required that schools close and imposed a 10-person limit on gatherings, including at businesses. The Republican this week announced the state had launched an effort to allow the testing of up to 3,000 people per day within five weeks, up from the current average of 600 to 800 tests.

IOWA: Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has extended emergency orders requiring the closure of most retail businesses and schools. But the state’s many meat processing plants have been allowed to operate and have been dealing with numerous ill workers.


NEW YORK: The epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S. is still in the midst of crisis and not ready to start thinking about reopening. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he has enlisted former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to help create a “tracing army” to find people infected with the coronavirus and get them into isolation. New York will work on the massive effort with neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut.

NEW JERSEY: The coronavirus hot spot with nearly 100,000 cases and 5,000 deaths, is not yet reopening. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy joined the northeast group of states, including New York, to coordinate reopening, but the governor says the state has to first see its curve begin to come down. He said New Jersey also needs to increase testing and broaden contact tracing. Schools are closed by executive order at least until May 15.

MASSACHUSETTS: Gov. Charlie Baker said it’s too early to begin reopening the state’s economy. The Republican said Wednesday that new hospitalizations is a key data point, and a modest increase continues statewide. When the state does begin to emerge, the question will be less what businesses are essential or nonessential and more about what are the rules everyone will need to follow, Baker said.

CALIFORNIA: Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that hospitals can resume scheduled surgeries. It’s the first significant change to the stay-at-home order in the nation’s most populous state. Newsom said the broader stay-at-home order won’t be lifted until the state can dramatically increase its testing capacity.

CONNECTICUT: Gov. Ned Lamont said he’s is looking toward May 20 as a date when he expects to be able to start thinking about reopening Connecticut’s economy. That’s when his current executive order shutting down schools and nonessential businesses expires. The Democrat says he needs to see a see 14 days of declining COVID-19 hospitalizations, much greater testing capability and more masks and other personal protective equipment for workers who interact with the public.

MINNESOTA — Minnesota’s stay-at-home order runs through May 4, and it’s not clear when Democratic Gov. Tim Walz will announce whether it will be extended. Walz this week announced a partnership with the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic to ramp up to as many as 20,000 virus tests per day within the next few weeks — a key step for reopening the state.

NEW MEXICO: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the state is likely to extend major social distancing and business restrictions through May 15 as it convenes mayors and business leaders to help with economic recovery plans. The state has no deadline or date for starting its first phase of reopening the economy. The Democrat rejected calls to reopen nonessential businesses in several counties with no confirmed COVID-19 cases, citing new evidence of widespread asymptomatic infection.

ILLINOIS: Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-home order, which also closes nonessential businesses, expires April 30. Schools were to remain closed through the semester with remote learning for students. Pritzker hasn’t said whether he will extend the stay-home order, noting Tuesday that Illinois’ virus cases won’t out before mid-May, later than initially projected.

RHODE ISLAND: Gov. Gina Raimondo has cautioned those in her state not to expect a rapid reopening. The Democrat said Wednesday people 60 and older should prepare to stay home even after a phased-in reopening begins, given their higher risk of COVID-19 complications. State parks and beaches may be among the first locations to reopen, with restrictions.

MARYLAND: Gov. Larry Hogan is to release a reopening plan Friday, but he has said it won’t be implemented until virus cases slow.. The Republican noted Wednesday the federal plan calls for downward trends in numbers before beginning to reopen “and we are not at that point” with Maryland still on an upward trajectory.

VIRGINIA: State residents are under a stay-home order running through June 10, though Gov. Ralph Northam has said the date can be amended. The Democrat has not outlined a specific timeline for reopening businesses, but has said generally he agrees with federal guidelines recommending a phased-in approach that can begin after 14 days of declining cases.

WISCONSIN: The health secretary for Democratic Gov. Tony Evers last week extended the state’s stay-at-home order closing most nonessential businesses until May 26. It originally was to end April 24. Republican legislative leaders on April 21 asked the state Supreme Court to block the order, arguing it was a constitutional overreach.

NEVADA: Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak said Tuesday he’s not close to relaxing restrictions and will take a gradual approach. He has not given a date for easing restrictions, but says the state needs to see at least a two-week trend of declining hospitalizations and positive virus tests before easing restrictions.

DELAWARE: Democratic Gov. John Carney has indicated state officials will develop a plan for reopening Delaware’s economy based on guidance from the CDC, including 14 days of declining cases. Carney also says extensive testing and contract tracking programs must be in place before economic restrictions are loosened.

MAINE: Democratic Gov. Janet Mills announced last week her administration is making plans for a phased economic restart. However, timing is uncertain because of a lack of testing, a prerequisite for reopening the economy.