In response to the coronavirus pandemic, government agencies nationwide have initiated a variety of actions to protect the health and well-being of people who live in the US. Some of the most significant measures have taken the form of orders advising or requiring individuals to remain at home as much as possible to slow the spread of COVID-19. However, virtually all jurisdictions are now easing those restrictions to varying degrees.
The federal government never issued a formal stay at home order, but the administration of President Joseph Biden has issued an executive order that requires certain safety precautions for people on federal lands. These include social distancing, the use of masks, and adherence to CDC guidelines.
Many states imposed significant limitations on their residents in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, with the vast majority issuing stay at home or shelter in place orders requiring residents to stay home unless they were working in essential businesses or critical infrastructure, or engaging in essential activities like buying food, seeing a doctor, or caring for pets or loved ones. Many jurisdictions imposed fines and other penalties for failure to comply with stay at home orders and related public health mandates.
At present, all states have lifted stay at home restrictions to differing degrees, and are in various stages of reopening their economies. Many of these reopening plans were paused or partly reversed near the end of 2020, due to a nationwide surge in the pandemic, but progress has resumed as the spring approaches.
Click on a state below for information on its progress toward lifting restrictions and reopening the economy. Alternatively, you can explore our surveys on the more specific issues of mask mandates and travel restrictions across all 50 states.
Reopening Status: In early April 2021, Alabama replaced most of its COVID-19 restrictions with a set of recommendations in a Safer Apart order. This will remain in effect through early May.
Rules: Alabama residents are encouraged to follow social distancing and sanitation precautions. People who test positive for COVID-19 will be placed in quarantine at home. Businesses are free to reopen, but they are encouraged to implement social distancing and sanitation measures to protect employees and customers. Special rules apply to hospitals, nursing homes, senior citizen centers, schools, and day care facilities.
Reopening Status: Alaska remains in the third of four phases of reopening the state. The start date of the fourth phase has not been determined.
Rules: Alaska has imposed restrictions through several separate mandates governing various industries and activities, in addition to the order declaring a statewide disaster due to the coronavirus. Most industries have resumed operations across the state, and strict occupancy limits generally have not been imposed. However, businesses must consider imposing occupancy limits as needed to comply with social distancing practices. Bars and restaurants may open for in-person services, but they must follow safety precautions that do not apply to most businesses, and they may be subject to regional restrictions on occupancy.
Reopening Status: In late March 2021, Governor Doug Ducey rescinded most of the orders that imposed COVID-19 restrictions. Counties, cities, and towns may not impose local COVID-19 restrictions or enforce existing local restrictions.
Rules: While no strict rules remain in effect in Arizona, businesses are encouraged to follow federal and state public health recommendations. Businesses may impose their own policies to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, and they may refuse to serve customers who violate those policies. Event organizers should encourage adequate safety precautions, such as social distancing. Local governments may impose rules to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in their own government buildings or on public transportation.
Reopening Status: Governor Asa Hutchinson has reduced most COVID-19 directives to guidances, although he has extended the state of emergency through the end of May 2021.
Rules: People participating in public or private gatherings that involve more than a single household are encouraged to adhere to guidelines issued by the Secretary of Health. Businesses, health care facilities, and manufacturers are also encouraged to adhere to guidelines issued by the Secretary of Health. Schools are encouraged to adhere to guidelines issued by the Secretary of Education or the Secretary of Health. Orders of isolation and quarantine may be issued as needed, but a city or county may not issue an order restricting commerce or travel that is more restrictive than a statewide directive or guideline. Certain specific orders apply to telehealth, access to health care resources, witnessing and notarizing legal documents, and the liability of businesses for COVID-19 infections.
Reopening Status: California has implemented a tiered reopening plan. Tiers (purple, red, orange, and yellow) are defined by test positivity rate, adjusted case rate, and health equity metrics. As of late April 2021, the majority of California counties are in the orange (moderate risk) tier. These include the counties that contain most of California’s major cities, such as Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose. However, 17 counties remain in the red (substantial risk) tier, including the county where Sacramento is located. Three sparsely populated counties in the Sierras have entered the yellow (minimal risk) tier. No counties are in the purple (widespread risk) tier. California plans to end its reopening plan on June 15 if there is enough vaccine supply for California residents who are 16 or older to be vaccinated, and hospitalization rates remain stable and low, especially among fully vaccinated people. Some basic rules will remain, such as the use of masks, and some industries may be subject to testing and vaccination requirements.
Rules: In the red tier, retail stores and malls may open at limited capacity, while personal care businesses may open without specific capacity limits but with modifications. Restaurants also may offer indoor dining at very limited capacity, but bars must remain closed. Non-essential offices are limited to remote work. Places of worship, movie theaters, and gyms may open at very limited capacity. In the orange tier, specific occupancy limits are removed for retail stores and malls (except for food courts), while occupancy limits are increased for indoor dining, places of worship, movie theaters, and gyms. Bars can reopen for outdoor service in the orange tier, and non-essential offices can reopen in-person work spaces, while encouraging telework.
Reopening Status: Governor Jared Polis essentially ended the COVID-19 “dial” framework on April 16, 2021. However, counties can use it as a model for implementing their own regulations.
Rules: Counties can implement local regulations, but statewide rules are very limited. Employers are strongly encouraged to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who cannot get a COVID-19 vaccine or cannot get access to a vaccine. Gatherings at public indoor spaces may not exceed 500 people unless they successfully apply for a variance, and social distancing is required when people are not known to be fully vaccinated. This rule does not apply to places of worship, retail stores, and most restaurants. Large outdoor ticketed and seated event venues may require approval from health officials. Separate rules apply to schools and child care facilities. Counties may be required to implement additional public health restrictions if their hospitalizations threaten to exceed 85 percent of hospital capacity.
Reopening Status: In March and April 2021, Governor Ned Lamont loosened restrictions on businesses and organizations, while providing recommended health measures. Most restrictions will be eliminated by May 19, except for some basic rules such as mask usage in indoor public settings in which social distancing is not possible.
Rules: Most businesses and organizations may open without occupancy limits, as long as they can adhere to social distancing and sanitation rules. A business may choose to impose its own occupancy limit. Restaurants and indoor recreation must close at midnight, and restaurants are subject to a table capacity limit indoors, while indoor bars that serve only beverages must remain closed. Movie theaters and performing arts venues also must close at midnight, and they are subject to an occupancy limit. No occupancy limits apply to religious, spiritual, or worship gatherings, although social distancing and masks are required. Outdoor event venues can hold events at 50 percent capacity, up to 10,000 people, while indoor stadiums can open at 10 percent capacity. Private, social, and recreational gatherings at private residences are limited to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, while the limits for these gatherings at commercial venues are 50 percent capacity (up to 100 people) indoors and 200 people outdoors.
Reopening Status: Delaware has remained in Phase 2 of its reopening process for several months. After COVID-19 restrictions tightened during the winter of 2020-21, Governor John Carney has gradually loosened them as the spring has progressed.
Rules: Most businesses are allowed to reopen across Delaware, but they must follow social distancing and sanitation rules. Occupancy limits at businesses are generally 50 percent, excluding employees. Private indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people, while indoor gatherings at businesses and public spaces are generally limited to 50 percent capacity or 25 people, whichever is less. (A facility can request permission to host an indoor event of up to 150 people.) Outdoor gatherings and events are limited to 150 people, or to a certain percentage of their fire occupancy requirements, depending on the size of the venue, although businesses can apply for permission to hold larger events or gatherings.
Reopening Status: Mayor Muriel Bowser allowed the District of Columbia to enter Phase Two of its reopening plan on June 22, 2020. The District must meet certain health criteria for 14 consecutive days before entering Phase Three, which is the final phase of reopening. In March and April 2021, however, Mayor Bowser loosened restrictions in some settings.
Rules: Office and manufacturing activities may resume on-site operations. Retail stores and recreation centers may operate at 50 percent capacity, while indoor dining and movie theaters may operate at 25 percent capacity, and alcohol service must stop at midnight. Private indoor gatherings generally are limited to 10 people, and private outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people. Personal service businesses must operate by appointment only and adhere to strict social distancing requirements. Special events such as weddings are limited to 25 percent capacity, up to 250 people.
Reopening Status: All of Florida has entered Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan. Governor Ron DeSantis has issued an executive order that eliminates virtually all prior restrictions and prohibits local authorities from preventing anyone from operating a business.
Rules: Office spaces have reopened statewide, and manufacturing operations have resumed, subject to safety precautions but without occupancy limits. Retail stores, personal service businesses, restaurants, and bars may open statewide, also subject to safety precautions but without occupancy limits. Local authorities may impose occupancy limits on restaurants, but these limits must not be less than 50 percent, and local authorities must justify any such limit and quantify its economic impact. People who are at high risk of serious coronavirus complications should continue to practice social distancing, while other people should consider minimizing their time in crowded settings.
Reopening Status: Governor Brian Kemp has taken an aggressive approach to reopening Georgia. However, his current executive order requires people in Georgia to follow social distancing and sanitation practices.
Rules: Most businesses across Georgia have reopened, ranging from office and professional environments to manufacturing activities and retail stores. Social distancing and sanitation guidelines apply to most types of businesses. The Governor’s latest executive order is divided into sections that cover several specific settings, such as restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, health care facilities, educational and child care facilities, and sports and performance venues, providing specific precautions for each setting.
Reopening Status: Hawaii has remained in the Act With Care (minor disruption) phase of its reopening process since the early summer of 2020. This phase represents the third of five impact levels as the state progresses toward full recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The date on which Hawaii will move into the next impact level has not been decided.
Rules: The Hawaii state government has allowed most types of businesses to reopen, but local governments may impose stricter rules for certain types of businesses or industries. The state has not imposed strict occupancy limits, although businesses must follow safety requirements and may need to limit occupancy to comply with social distancing practices. Hotel operators must adopt a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan for each of their properties. Specific statewide rules apply to businesses such as barber shops, salons, and child care services.
Reopening Status: Due to rising COVID-19 rates, Idaho has returned to the third stage of its four-stage reopening plan.
Rules: The third stage allows virtually all types of businesses to reopen for in-person services, but they must comply with social distancing and sanitation rules. Occupancy limits are required only to the extent needed to maintain social distancing. Restaurants, bars, and nightclubs can operate with seating only. Gatherings are generally limited to 50 or fewer people. Events with more than 50 people may apply for an exemption if they can establish that they will follow social distancing and sanitation rules. People at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should practice social distancing and minimize exposure to settings in which social distancing may not be feasible.
Reopening Status: Illinois entered the fourth phase of its reopening plan on June 26, 2020. All regions of Illinois are currently in standard Phase 4, but a decline in public health metrics in a region may result in the implementation of tiered mitigations (additional layers of restrictions). Once 70 percent of residents who are 65 and older have been vaccinated, and the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths has not reversed for a 28-day monitoring period, Illinois will start the Bridge to Phase 5, increasing occupancy limits in indoor and outdoor settings. Occupancy limits will be removed entirely in standard Phase 5, which will arrive once 50 percent of Illinois residents who are 16 and older have been vaccinated, while COVID-19 metrics have been stable or declining for a 28-day monitoring period.
Rules: Phase 4 allows businesses to reopen for in-person activities with public health protocols in place. Occupancy limits apply to most settings. For example, retail stores, personal care businesses, and offices are limited to 50 percent capacity. Social events are limited to 50 percent capacity, up to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. People who are fully vaccinated or received a negative result from a COVID-19 test 1-3 days before an event do not count toward occupancy limits. Restaurants are subject to table capacity limits of 10 people, and parties must be at least six feet apart. Employees of non-essential businesses can return to work, but employers are encouraged to provide accommodations for employees with higher COVID-19 risks.
Reopening Status: Indiana has implemented a set of county-specific assessments to guide the public about the status of COVID-19 and assist local authorities with devising any restrictions. Counties are placed in blue, yellow, orange, and red zones (least to most restrictive), based on public health criteria. These include the seven-day COVID-19 test positivity rate, the rate of new weekly cases per 100,000 residents, and increases or decreases in the positivity rate from week to week, among other things.
Rules: Businesses have been allowed to reopen for in-person activities without occupancy restrictions, but they should develop COVID-19 response plans that account for issues such as social distancing and sanitation. There are no statewide limits on gatherings, but limits may be imposed at local levels. High-risk individuals are advised to remain vigilant about protecting themselves from exposure to COVID-19. Everyone in Indiana should observe social distancing from non-household members through maintaining six feet of distance or using a barrier. Restaurants are urged to establish social distancing between tables and ensure that patrons remain seated.
Reopening Status: Iowa did not implement a stay at home order, but Governor Kim Reynolds has continued to extend a public health state of emergency. The state essentially is fully open, but reasonable public health measures are advised.
Rules: Restrictions on businesses have been lifted, although they are strongly encouraged to take reasonable social distancing and sanitation measures under the circumstances. Restrictions on gatherings also have been lifted, although organizers and hosts are strongly encouraged to adopt social distancing practices and other public health measures. Vulnerable Iowa residents are strongly encouraged to limit their activities outside their homes, and other Iowa residents are encouraged to limit their in-person interactions with such individuals. Schools should aim to safely provide in-person educational instruction, while maintaining the flexibility to provide education remotely if it becomes necessary.
Reopening Status: Kansas has ended its statewide reopening plan, but individual counties are allowed to impose their own restrictions.
Rules: All Kansas businesses can open, but they should follow sanitation protocols and ensure that patrons can maintain appropriate social distancing. Employers can bring employees back to on-site work, but physical distancing should be maintained to reduce coronavirus risks. Occupancy limits are required only to the extent necessary to preserve social distancing. Gathering sizes may be limited in some counties. Vulnerable populations should continue to exercise caution in public settings.
Reopening Status: The reopening of Kentucky businesses is largely complete, though with some remaining restrictions. Kentucky continues to impose mask requirements and limitations on gathering sizes.
Rules: Most businesses can reopen, subject to industry-specific guidelines designed to protect public health. Restaurants can offer in-person services but must discontinue dine-in service by 12:00 a.m. Many settings are subject to occupancy limits (generally 60 percent), in addition to social distancing and sanitation rules. Employees should work from home, and businesses should conduct meetings with customers over the phone or internet to the greatest extent possible. Indoor social gatherings are limited to two households and eight people. All school districts are encouraged to offer or expand in-person instruction beginning on March 1, 2021 if district personnel have finished their vaccine series. Face coverings and other safety measures remain in place. As of March 1, 2021, all school requirements tied to the color-coded system were discontinued. Virtual school options will be offered at least through the end of the school year.
Reopening Status: Louisiana moved to phase three of its reopening plan on March 2, 2021. On April 28, Governor John Bel Edwards lifted the statewide mask mandate, but continues to recommend mask wearing. Masks continue to be required on public transit and in state government buildings, schools, and health care facilities.
Rules: Most businesses in Louisiana can reopen, but social distancing rules apply broadly. Religious services no longer have capacity limits, but social distancing is strongly encouraged. Gyms, salons, malls, and casinos have no capacity limits as of March 31. Capacity restrictions on bars and restaurants have also been lifted, as well as time limits on the sale of alcohol. As of April 28, indoor events may operate at 75 percent capacity (or 100 percent with face coverings), and outdoor events may operate with no capacity restrictions. Local restrictions continue to apply.
Reopening Status: Maine moved to the Moving Maine Forward plan on March 5, 2021.
Rules: Most types of businesses can reopen for in-person services. Indoor gathering and in-store customer limits are 50 percent capacity, 5 persons per 1,000 sq. ft., or 50 persons. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 75 percent capacity. Social distancing and mask requirements continue to apply. Bars and tasting rooms were allowed to reopen on March 26. The state has provided industry-specific guidance for consumer settings such as retail stores, restaurants, and hotels. Occupancy limits are required in offices only to the extent needed to ensure social distancing, but specific occupancy limits apply to higher-risk settings.
Reopening Status: Maryland entered the third phase of its reopening process in September. This phase consists of multiple smaller steps that emphasize a flexible, community-based approach to the COVID-19 threat. Local governments have the authority to make some decisions regarding the timing of reopenings.
Rules: Most non-essential businesses have resumed operations, ranging from retail stores and salons to restaurants, bars, and gyms. While in-person services are widely available, social distancing guidelines and sanitation measures apply to most sectors of the economy. Most occupancy limits were lifted on March 12, 2021, although 50 percent occupancy limits apply to convention and banquet facilities and indoor and outdoor venues. Senior citizen activity centers may open on May 1. The state adopted the CDC’s guidelines recommending three feet of social distancing in classrooms. Indoor visitation at nursing homes resumed on March 1. As of May 1, Maryland lifted all restrictions on outdoor dining.
Reopening Status: On March 22, 2021, Massachusetts moved to Step 1 of Phase IV of its reopening plan.
Rules: Most sectors may reopen for in-person services with proper social distancing and health protocols. Indoor venues, indoor recreational facilities, and most other sectors may reopen at 50 percent capacity. Restaurants no longer have a capacity limit but must maintain social distancing and other dining restrictions. Capacity limits for venues and public settings have expanded to 100 people indoors and 150 people outdoors. Capacity limits for outdoor private gatherings remain at 25 people, and at 10 people for indoor private gatherings. Large capacity venues may reopen at 12 percent capacity, subject to submission of a safety plan. The capacity limit for large venues will increase to 25 percent on May 10. The state will also allow industries such as amusement parks and water parks to reopen at 50 percent capacity on May 10 after submitting a safety plan. Restrictions in long-term care, assisted living, and congregate care facilities have largely relaxed.
Reopening Status: The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that Governor Gretchen Whitmer has no further authority to issue or renew COVID-19 executive orders. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel will no longer criminally prosecute violations of these orders. However, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has issued emergency orders that contain similar rules.
Rules: Most businesses are open with gathering guidelines in place from MDHHS. Gatherings of employees may occur only if they are necessary to perform job duties, and social distancing and screening measures must be observed in most areas. Occupancy limits apply to higher-risk settings, such as retail stores and restaurants (generally 50 percent capacity). Restaurants may resume indoor dining at 50 percent capacity or 100 people, but indoor dining must close at 11 p.m. Exercise facilities may open at 30 percent capacity. Gatherings are limited to three households and 15 people at indoor venues, and to 50 people at outdoor residential venues. Indoor public events are limited to 25 people, and outdoor public events are limited to 300 people, with social distancing in place. Indoor entertainment venues are limited to 300 people (375-750 people for stadiums), and outdoor entertainment venues are limited to 1,000 people, with social distancing in place.
Reopening Status: Minnesota entered the third phase of its reopening process on June 10, 2020. More recently, Governor Tim Walz loosened restrictions after a temporary dial back on certain activities that extended through January 10, 2021.
Rules: Businesses largely can reopen across Minnesota, even in higher-risk settings. However, they must comply with social distancing rules and other protocols to protect public health. Indoor dining at bars and restaurants may resume at 75 percent capacity or 250 people, with social distancing in place. Establishments with sufficient indoor space to exceed the 250-person limit may do so in accordance with the 75 percent capacity limit. Establishments with sufficient outdoor space may exceed the 250-person limit in accordance with other guidelines. Employees should continue to work remotely if possible. Certain types of businesses must develop a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan before reopening. Indoor gatherings are discouraged, but are allowed for up to 15 people, so long as social distancing and safety guidelines are followed. Outdoor social gatherings must involve no more than 50 people, so long as social distancing and safety guidelines are followed. Youth and adult sports may resume, as well as in-person learning in schools and festivals, fairs, stadiums, and vendor fairs with capacity restrictions.
Reopening Status: Governor Tate Reeves has repealed statewide mandates and business restrictions as of March 3, 2021. The state encourages adherence to CDC guidelines. Many counties and cities continue to issue their own rules. The state continues to mandate masks in schools.
Rules: Businesses can reopen statewide. Businesses are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines and the Mississippi State Department of Health’s regulations, but were released from restrictions on the state level as of March 3, 2021. Most occupancy limits no longer apply on the state level except for indoor arenas, where seating is limited to 75 percent capacity. School extracurricular events are limited to 50 percent capacity at indoor and outdoor venues.
Reopening Status: Missouri entered the second phase of the “Show Me Strong Recovery” on June 16, 2020. Governor Michael L. Parson issued a statewide public health warning on November 19, 2020, which outlined new guidelines for individuals and businesses. This order was most recently extended until at least August 31, 2021, although most restrictions are in the form of guidelines.
Rules: All businesses should implement basic infection prevention measures informed by industry best practices (such as modifying physical workspaces to facilitate social distancing and encouraging telework whenever possible). Individuals should follow best practices such as wearing masks and social distancing. Counties may issue their own guidelines and restrictions.
Reopening Status: Montana was following a three-stage reopening plan, which has since been rescinded. On February 12, 2021, Governor Gianforte rescinded all prior directives implementing Executive Order 2-2021 and allowed the statewide mask mandate to expire.
Rules: Businesses are encouraged to develop health and safety policies based on industry best practices. Business hours are no longer limited. Public gatherings may continue so long as CDC social distancing guidelines are followed. Mask mandates and other requirements remain in effect in certain counties.
Reopening Status: On November 13, 2020, Governor Pete Ricketts announced a new five-phased approach to public health restrictions, based on the percentage of staffed hospital beds occupied by coronavirus patients. As of January 29, 2021, Nebraska has moved from the Blue Zone to the Green Zone. In addition, all Nebraska counties are under Directed Health Measures through May 31, 2021.
Rules: Masks are recommended at salons, barbershops, and other indoor businesses where staff and patrons are within six feet of each other for 15 consecutive minutes or more. Six feet of separation between parties is recommended at establishments such as restaurants, bars, and gyms. Gatherings can operate with no occupancy limit, but public health protocols are recommended. Churches and places of worship can operate with no occupancy limit, but six feet of separation between household units is recommended.
Reopening Status: Governor Steve Sisolak has adopted the Road to Recovery: Moving to a New Normal plan (the “New Normal Plan”) and created a COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force. The COVID-19 Task Force has the authority to work with local governments and take action on county-specific plans to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Statewide social distancing mandates were rescinded on April 30, 2021, but mask mandates remain in effect.
Rules: Beginning on May 1, the state transitioned to local authority and rescinded prior statewide restrictions on social distancing. Counties and schools may adopt their own mitigation measures with approval from the state. For instance, Clark County increased public gathering capacity restrictions to 80 percent and decreased social distancing requirements from six to three feet on May 1. Clark County's plan will also allow more businesses to reopen. Most large gatherings will still require a Large Gathering Plan in line with state and county restrictions and subject to state approval.
Reopening Status: New Hampshire’s statewide mask mandate expired on April 16, 2021. The Stay at Home Order expired on June 15, 2020, after which New Hampshire began transitioning to a Safer at Home Advisory. Guidelines have been provided for a range of establishments, most of which have been allowed to resume operations.
Rules: Establishments including retail stores, salons, gyms, libraries, museums, movie theaters, amusement parks, pools, and wedding venues have been allowed to reopen. Restaurants have been allowed to reopen for indoor dining with no capacity limits, subject to spacing for social distancing and other restrictions. New Hampshire schools must provide in-person instruction five days a week for any student who wishes to attend (unless a COVID-19 event occurs).
Reopening Status: New Jersey is following a multi-stage approach for reopening and recovery. In addition to statewide mandates, municipalities and counties may establish additional restrictions on the hours of operation of non-essential retail businesses, food and beverage establishments, and recreation and entertainment businesses after 8:00 p.m.
Rules: Most places, including retail stores, gyms, and workplaces, are open with required safety measures. General outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 200 people (this will increase to 500 people on May 10), with exceptions for certain activities and venues, including religious services, political activities, weddings, funerals, memorials, meetings of addiction support groups, and legislative proceedings. Most indoor gatherings are limited to 25 people; exceptions are similar to those for outdoor gatherings, including catered events, which are limited to 35 percent capacity (not to exceed 150 people) (this will increase to 50 percent capacity or 250 individuals on May 10). Weddings, funerals, and memorials involving a religious service are limited to 50 percent capacity without a numerical cap. Indoor dining is limited to 50 percent capacity. Large venues with fixed seating of 2,500 or more may host outdoor events at 30 percent capacity and indoor events at 20 percent capacity (this will increase to 50 percent capacity for venues with 1,000 seats or more on May 10). Summer youth overnight and day camps may open while following health and safety protocols.
Reopening Status: New Mexico has transitioned to a four-tiered county-based COVID-19 risk system. Each level (Red/Yellow/Green/Turquoise) has its own set of operating guidelines. New Mexico has slightly altered its framework to benefit counties as their vaccination rates increase. Additional requirements and guidelines for establishments and activities are contained in “COVID Safe Practices” materials.
Rules: Residents are urged to stay in their homes for all but the most essential activities and services. New Mexico’s counties are currently spread out among the four different levels. In the Red level, most establishments are allowed to operate (usually with 25 percent capacity restrictions), indoor dining is not permitted, and there is a limit of five people for mass gatherings. In the Yellow level, gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited; most spaces must not exceed 33 percent capacity. In the Green level, gatherings of more than 20 people are prohibited; most spaces must not exceed 50 percent capacity. In the Turquoise level, gatherings of more than 150 people are prohibited; most spaces must not exceed 75 percent capacity. All levels, including the Turquoise level, impose some capacity restrictions and other safety measures. Businesses that had previously been categorized as “close-contact recreational facilities” and closed at each level may now operate at limited capacities in accordance with their county’s level.
Reopening Status: All regions of New York State have entered Phase Four, which was the final phase of the state’s reopening process. Reopening guidelines and timetables for selected sectors continue to be announced; in certain instances, these are more restrictive in New York City than in other parts of the state. On October 17, 2020, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo outlined a new "micro-cluster" strategy, which includes targeted mitigation tactics, such as restrictions on gatherings and non-essential businesses.
Rules: Indoor dining may operate at 50 percent capacity in New York City and 75 percent capacity in New York State. Settings such as malls and gyms across the state are operating at reduced capacity with health and safety restrictions. As of May 17 and 31, the dining curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining and indoor dining, respectively. Seating at bars may also resume in New York City on May 3. Nursing home visitation under expanded guidelines began on February 26, 2021. Movie theaters are open, and weddings and catered events resumed on March 15, complying with capacity limits and health and safety protocols. Sports, art, entertainment, and other venues may reopen with limited capacity. Capacity limits increase if all attendees present proof of recent negative COVID-19 tests or completed immunizations. Residential gatherings are limited to 25 people outdoors and 10 people indoors. Non-residential gatherings are limited to 200 people outdoors and 100 people indoors. Governor Cuomo continues to announce industry-specific reopenings.
Reopening Status: North Carolina entered “Safer at Home Phase 3” of its phased reopening process on October 2, 2020. In addition, a three-tiered COVID-19 County Alert System was announced on November 17, 2020. Each level (Red/Yellow/Green) includes recommended actions for individuals, businesses, and community organizations. The state started a “dimmer switch” approach on February 24, 2021. The Modified Stay at Home Order (Executive Order No. 181) has been lifted, but other restrictions remain in place.
Rules: Most establishments and venues have been allowed to reopen, subject to capacity limits and other public health protocols. Mass gathering limits have been increased to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors. (Certain activities, such as religious services, are not subject to these restrictions.) Museums, personal care businesses, retail businesses, and outdoor spaces of restaurants, amusement parks, fitness and physical activity centers, and pools may operate at 100 percent capacity. Indoor spaces of restaurants, amusement parks, fitness and physical activity centers, and pools may operate at 75 percent capacity. Indoor areas of movie theaters and entertainment facilities and the indoor and outdoor areas of bars, meeting spaces, conference centers, reception venues, and other spaces may operate at 50 percent capacity. Local governments may impose greater restrictions.
Reopening Status: North Dakota’s ND Smart Restart plan includes color-coded risk levels and COVID-19 guidelines for residents, businesses, and other establishments. Governor Doug Burgum lifted the state’s COVID-19 emergency declaration on April 30, 2021.
Rules: All outstanding executive orders pertaining to the coronavirus pandemic were terminated when Governor Burgum lifted the COVID-19 emergency declaration on April 30, 2021. Local jurisdictions may impose requirements.
Reopening Status: Responsible RestartOhio and related public health orders contain operating requirements and recommendations. In addition, the state has developed the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, which consists of four color-coded risk levels with specific risk-level guidelines. As of April 22, 2021, two counties are in the Yellow level, one county (Franklin) is in the Purple level, and the remaining counties are in the Orange or Red level. On March 4, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine announced that all health orders will be lifted when Ohio reaches 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks.
Rules: A prior prohibition on public and private gatherings of more than 10 people has ended, but people are encouraged to stay within socially distanced groups of no more than 10 people when attending events. Capacity limits for establishments have generally been eliminated, but there is a 25 percent capacity limit for indoor facilities with fixed seating. Restaurants and bars can offer outdoor and indoor dining, with public health protocols, including a requirement that customers be seated while actively eating or drinking.
Reopening Status: Under the Open Up and Recover Safely (OURS) Plan, Oklahoma has been implementing a three-phase approach to reopening the economy. Oklahoma is currently in Phase 3 of this plan. In addition, the Oklahoma State Department of Health has developed the Oklahoma COVID-19 Risk Level System, a four-tiered tool with corresponding color categories that identifies a county’s current coronavirus risk level. As of April 26, 2021, one county (Jefferson) was in the Moderate-Risk (Orange) phase, 17 counties were in the New Normal (Green) phase, and 59 counties were in the Low-Risk (Yellow) phase.
Rules: Establishments such as restaurants, bars, gyms, salons, places of worship, museums, retail businesses, and sporting venues have been allowed to reopen. The OURS Plan provides public health guidance for a range of venues and organizations. Residents are encouraged to consult the Oklahoma COVID-19 Risk Level System and follow the guidelines for their county.
Reopening Status: On November 25, 2020, Governor Kate Brown outlined a new health and safety framework with four risk levels for counties (Extreme, High, Moderate, and Lower), based on their level of COVID-19 spread. Risk levels include public health requirements and recommendations for businesses and individuals. From April 30 - May 6, 2021, 15 counties will be classified as Extreme Risk, nine counties as High Risk, four counties as Moderate Risk, and eight counties as Lower Risk. The Oregon Health Authority may issue additional guidance for individuals and sectors of the economy while this framework is being utilized by the state. On April 29, 2021, Governor Brown extended the COVID-19 state of emergency through June 28, 2021.
Rules: Operating requirements and recommendations for businesses (such as capacity limits), as well as social gathering size limits, are detailed in the risk level framework. Outdoor dining is allowed in all risk levels, and indoor dining is allowed in all counties except those in the Extreme Risk level. On March 12, 2021, Governor Brown issued an executive order directing public schools to provide universal access to hybrid or full in-person instruction by the weeks of March 29 for grades K-5 and April 19 for grades 6-12.
Reopening Status: Governor Tom Wolf and Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam have been easing previous restrictions due to improving coronavirus trends and progress in vaccinations. On March 15, 2021, Governor Wolf announced a set of new reduced restrictions (described below), which went into effect on April 4, 2021.
Rules: Indoor dining capacity has been increased to 75 percent occupancy for restaurants that have received a self-certification and 50 percent for all others. Restaurants are allowed to offer bar service, and alcohol can be provided without a food purchase. The capacity limit for businesses such as gyms, personal care services (such as barbershops and spas), and entertainment establishments (such as theaters and museums) has been increased to 75 percent occupancy. The capacity limit has been increased to 25 percent occupancy for indoor events and 50 percent for outdoor events.
Reopening Status: Executive orders have been issued throughout the coronavirus pandemic that contain recommendations and requirements for reopening Rhode Island’s economy. Additional guidelines and resources are provided by Reopening RI and the Rhode Island Department of Health.
Rules: Restaurants may provide outdoor dining at full seating capacity and indoor dining at up to 75 percent of seating capacity. Indoor retail, personal service businesses (such as hair salons and barbershops), gyms and fitness centers, and recreational and entertainment establishments can operate, subject to capacity limits and other restrictions. Religious and faith-based organizations may conduct in-person activities at up to 75 percent of worship space capacity. Indoor social gatherings are restricted to 15 people, and outdoor social gatherings are restricted to 50 people, with limited exceptions.
Reopening Status: Governor Henry McMaster has been easing previous restrictions due to improving coronavirus trends and progress in vaccinations. The South Carolina Department of Commerce and accelerateSC have been providing additional reopening guidelines and resources.
Rules: Occupancy limits for restaurants have been removed, but these establishments are urged to implement public health protocols. As of March 1, 2021, previous restrictions on the sale of alcohol and a requirement that events of more than 250 people obtain approval from the South Carolina Department of Commerce have been eliminated.
Reopening Status: Governor Kristi Noem issued an executive order on April 28, 2020, stating that South Dakota citizens should implement and follow the “Back to Normal Plan.” This plan outlines expectations for individuals, businesses, schools, health care providers, and local governments to return to normal operations. This order is in effect for the duration of South Dakota’s COVID-19 state of emergency, which is currently in place until June 30, 2021.
Rules: The state has not required that businesses close during the coronavirus pandemic. Under the Back to Normal Plan, South Dakota residents should practice physical distancing to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, and vulnerable individuals should consider staying home whenever possible. Enclosed retail businesses that promote public gatherings should implement public health protocols and consider restricting occupancy.
Reopening Status: On April 27, 2021, Governor Bill Lee announced the ending of statewide coronavirus-related public health orders and issued an executive order that included the retirement of the “Tennessee Pledge” business guidelines.
Rules: There are no statewide business restrictions.
Reopening Status: On March 2, 2021, Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order that allows all businesses and facilities in the state to operate at 100 percent capacity and ends the state’s mask mandate. This executive order went into effect as of March 10, 2021.
Rules: Businesses and other establishments are allowed to require employees or customers to follow public health protocols, such as wearing a face covering. In any county located in an “area with high hospitalizations” (a list of any such areas will be maintained by the Texas Department of State Health Services), the county judge may implement COVID-19 mitigation measures. These mitigation measures must not require businesses and other establishments to operate at less than 50 percent of total occupancy. There can be no occupancy limit for religious services, public and private schools, institutions of higher education, and child care services.
Reopening Status: Utah is utilizing a “COVID-19 Transmission Index,” which is a data-based methodology that replaced the previous color-coded phased reopening guidelines. Counties are assigned a transmission level status of Low, Medium, or High, which can be modified as data warrant. As of April 22, 2021, one county (Grand) is in the High level of transmission, 15 counties are in the Moderate level of transmission, and 13 counties are in the Low level of transmission. A new public health order, which includes transmission level restrictions, was issued on April 9, 2021, and is in effect through June 15, 2021.
Rules: A “COVID-19 Business Manual” provides guidelines to assist businesses as they reopen. Industry-specific restrictions have been eliminated, with limited exceptions such as for restaurants and bars. Transmission Index restrictions do not apply to religious services, but faith-based organizations are encouraged to implement public health protocols.
Reopening Status: On April 6, 2021, Governor Phil Scott announced the “Vermont Forward” plan, a phased approach for continued easing of restrictions on business operations, travel, and events and gatherings.
Rules: The Vermont Forward plan includes a process for most businesses and establishments to transition from sector-specific guidance to general mitigation measures (known as “Universal Guidance” in the plan). Establishments are categorized in one of two groups: (1) low contact, short duration, outdoor, and controlled environments (such as outdoor businesses, retail operations, and religious facilities); and (2) longer duration or close contact environments (such as restaurants, bars, gyms, and hair salons). Both groups transitioned to Universal Guidance by May 1, 2021. A limited number of establishments, including organized sports and ski resorts, continue to have dedicated operating guidance. As of May 1, 2021, multi-household social gathering limits will increase as follows: indoors — one unvaccinated person per 100 square feet, up to 150 unvaccinated people (whichever is less), plus any number of vaccinated people as Universal Guidance spacing allows; and outdoors — 300 unvaccinated people, plus any number of vaccinated individuals as Universal Guidance spacing allows.
Reopening Status: Virginia is following a phased approach to reopening the economy (“Forward Virginia”). Governor Ralph Northam has been easing restrictions due to improving coronavirus trends and progress in vaccinations. On April 22, 2021, Governor Northam announced a further easing of restrictions that will go into effect on May 15, 2021.
Rules: Employees are encouraged to work remotely if possible. Guidelines have been published that apply to all business sectors, with additional guidelines for specific sectors, including retail, restaurants, and fitness facilities. Updates that will go into effect on May 15, 2021 include: (1) restaurants will be allowed to sell alcohol after midnight; (2) the limit on in-person social gatherings will be increased to 100 people indoors and 250 people outdoors; and (3) the capacity limit for indoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be increased to 50 percent capacity or 1,000 people, and the capacity limit for outdoor venues will be increased to 50 percent capacity (with no maximum limit on the number of people).
Reopening Status: On January 5, 2021, Governor Jay Inslee announced “Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery,” a new, phased regional recovery plan. On March 11, 2021, Governor Inslee announced that this plan would be moving from a regional to a county-level evaluation approach and added a third phase (Phase 3). As of April 16, 2021, all of Washington is in Phase 3, except for Cowlitz, Pierce, and Whitman Counties, which are in Phase 2. The rules listed below apply to Phase 3.
Rules: Retail stores, indoor sports and fitness establishments, and personal services can operate at up to 50 percent capacity. Worship services can occur at a maximum capacity of 50 percent indoors. Eating and drinking establishments can offer outdoor dining, and indoor dining at up to 50 percent capacity, although alcohol service and delivery must end by midnight. Indoor and outdoor entertainment establishments (such as concert halls, theaters, and zoos) can operate with occupancy limits and other restrictions.
Reopening Status: Governor Jim Justice’s reopening plan, "West Virginia Strong - The Comeback" includes guidance for a range of establishments. The West Virginia Department of Health and Resources also maintains a color-coded COVID-19 County Alert System map. Governor Justice has been gradually easing a variety of previous restrictions.
Rules: Restaurants and bars may offer outdoor service and may operate indoors at 100 percent of their seating capacity (no standing room for people to congregate is allowed), but must continue to follow public health protocols. Previous capacity limits for small businesses, retail stores, and grocery stores have been removed. Gyms, fitness centers, and museums can operate at 100 percent capacity. Live music performances have been allowed to resume. The social gathering limit has been eliminated. As of March 24, 2021, all private and public schools have been allowed to reopen for in-person instruction or extracurricular activities. As of May 1, 2021, fairs, festivals, and summer camps may resume operations.
Reopening Status: In May 2020, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Governor Tony Evers’ “Safer at Home” order. On October 6, 2020, a temporary emergency order was issued that limited public gatherings due to worsening coronavirus trends. This order was eventually ruled unenforceable by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals on the day that it was scheduled to expire. Local jurisdictions and individual establishments are determining reopening steps.
Rules: The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has published general COVID-19 guidelines to help businesses safely reopen, as well as guidelines for specific industries, including child care, entertainment, gyms, retail, and personal services. On November 10, 2020, Governor Evers issued an executive order that provided public health recommendations (but not requirements) for individuals and businesses to reduce the spread of COVID-19. On February 4, 2021, Governor Evers declared a statewide public health emergency, which is in effect for 60 days. On March 31, 2021, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that this action by Governor Evers, as well as statewide public health emergency declarations that he issued in July 2020 and September 2020, were unlawful.
Reopening Status: New COVID-19 public health orders were issued on April 28, 2021, and are in effect from May 1 to May 16. The state has been easing restrictions due to improving coronavirus trends and progress in vaccinations. Counties have the flexibility to seek variances from these statewide public health orders based on local conditions.
Rules: Restaurants, bars, theaters, and gyms have been allowed to resume normal operations. K-12 schools, colleges, universities, and trade schools may provide on-site instruction, subject to public health protocols. Indoor events of more than 500 people must take place at no more than 50 percent of the venue’s capacity. Restrictions on personal gatherings and outdoor events have been eliminated.