States across the country are beginning to restart their economies, even as others remain firmly shut down and the United States passes 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Governors in Texas and Georgia have set among the most aggressive schedules for reopening businesses to applause and concern. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for example gave permission for malls, movie theaters, restaurants and stores to return to business though with limited capacity.
Other states, the pandemic's epicenter, New York, among them, are moving more slowly, with restrictions in place at least until May 15. In California, some counties plan to reopen in defiance of a statewide stay-home order. And some states never issued stay-home orders.
Medical experts fear that trying to return to normal too quickly will spark a surge in new cases.
The White House guidelines say a state should first see 14 days of decreasing documented cases among other criteria before starting a phased-in reopening.
Here is a look at which states are starting to slowly get back to work and how.
Alabama's stores can reopen but at 50 percent capacity. Beaches are open but there is a ban on gatherings of 10 people or more. All medical procedures are permitted. Gyms, theaters, bowling alleys and night club remain closed as do schools. Restaurants, bars and breweries are limited to take-out, curbside pickup or delivery.
Alaska has begun reopening, allowing restaurants, stores, hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, tattoo shops and spas to operate at one quarter capacity. Religious and social gatherings are limited to 20 people and masks are suggested.
Gyms have reopened with social distancing and other restrictions. Barbershops, tattoo parlors and hair salons can reopen Wednesday, but with restrictions. Restaurants can reopen dining rooms next Monday, but only at a third of their capacity.
Colorado’s stay-at-home order expired and Gov. Jared Polis has substituted a “safer at home” order. Some retail businesses are allowed to reopen for curbside pickup and one-on-one real estate showings can resume. A major meatpacking plant in the state, which closed after a coronavirus outbreak led to the deaths of at least four workers, reopened. The JBS Greeley beef production plant in Greeley opened without testing all of its employees for COVID-19, the Denver Post and Colorado Public Radio reported. Boulder, however, will keep most city buildings closed until at least June 1.
The state has begun reopening, with the exception of Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties, where most of the Covid-19 cases in the state have been reported, according to Gov. Ron DeSantis. Stores and restaurants were allowed to reopen, but only at 25 percent capacity, and elective surgeries can resume. Schools, bars, gyms, hair salons, nursing home and long-term care facilities remain closed.
Georgia allowed barbershops, bowling alleys, gyms, massage therapists and salons to open, restaurants and movie theaters followed and then malls. Gov. Brian Kemp got criticism for his decision, which he tweeted is “informed by data and public health recommendations," but he went ahead although Georgia had not documented two weeks of a decline in new cases. “I think that it is putting all of us at risk,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said, while the Savannah mayor, Van Johnson, asked businesses in his city to stay closed. President Donald Trump said that he disagreed with Kemp’s decision and fellow Republican Rep. Doug Collins said on Fox Business News that he thought the governor should have consulted with localities.
Should Your State Reopen?
For states considering lifting quarantine measures, the official guidelines propose either a downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases within two weeks or a downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests.
As shown below, when you compare yesterday’s new case count with that of two weeks ago, the number is often lower, simply because the counts fluctuate. Critics call the measures vague and ultimately because they aren’t binding, some states are choosing to reopen whether they meet the criteria or not.
Source: The COVID Tracking Project
Credit: Amy O’Kruk/NBC
Child-care centers have been able to reopen under Gov. Brad Little’s phased plan, churches also, with distancing and sanitation rules. Bars, gyms, salons, movie theaters and sporting venues remain closed. Restaurants can offer curbside and delivery service.
Gov. Eric Holcomb has allowed manufacturers and retailers to reopen. In-person restaurant dining and hair salons remain closed until next week, gyms, movie theaters, bars and casinos until at least late May. Holcomb said he hoped to restart nearly all activities by July 4.
In Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds loosened restrictions on businesses in most counties, lifted Iowa’s ban on nonessential surgeries and allowed farmers’ markets to open again. Church services have been allowed to resume statewide. Reynolds said that virus trends will determine when restrictions are eased in the remaining counties, which include urban areas.
Gov. Laura Kelly’s stay-home order has been replaced with her plan for a phased-in reopening of the economy through June 15. Restaurants can open for dine-in service if they observe social distancing and keep groups of more than 10 distanced from others. Bars, gyms, fitness centers, hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, and tattoo parlors remain closed until May 18.
Health clinics, dentists and optometrists have reopened. Gov. Andy Beshear will allow manufacturing and construction work to resume the second full week of May and will lift restrictions on car dealers and pet groomers. Horse racing at Churchill Downs will be permitted without spectators. More retailers will be allowed to reopen later in May and churches will be able to resume in-person services.
Gov. John Bel Edwards has allowed non-emergency medical procedures to resume and restaurants to open outside seating. Mall stores can restart business, but with curbside service only. Other nonessential retailers that were not forced to close -- such as jewelry stores and boutiques -- cannot have more than 10 people in the store at a time. Businesses that remain closed include casinos, salons, tattoo parlors, movie theaters, gyms and entertainment venues. The overall stay-at-home order remains in place through May 15.
In Michigan, General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. began calling in workers to prepare factories to restart vehicle production. Bike repair shops, landscapers and plant nurseries can reopen provided they take social distancing steps. Construction and real estate can resume. Restaurants are limited to pickup and delivery. Casinos, bars and gyms remain closed.
Some nonessential businesses have begun reopening in Minnesota. The executive order from Gov. Tim Walz applies to workers “in non-customer facing industrial and office-based businesses” who cannot work from home. He said it would allow up to 100,000 to go back to work.
Some retail businesses in Mississippi have been able to open with social distancing measures in effect. Restaurants are allowed to open indoor dining rooms and outdoor areas, with up to 50% customer capacity and no more than six customers per table. Servers must wear masks. Outdoor gatherings, such as youth sports practices, will be limited to 20 people, up from 10. But barbers, gyms, salons, spas and movie theaters must remain closed.
Gov. Mike Parson’s stay-home order ended, allowing businesses to reopen and religious events to start again. Restaurants must follow social distancing guidelines. Locally imposed stay-home orders remain in the St. Louis area through mid-May.
Montana has allowed worship services to begin again, and retail businesses to open with social-distancing measures in place. Restaurants and bars followed under strict guidelines and with reduced capacity. Schools can reopen on May 7, but movie theaters and gyms will remain closed.
The stay-at-home order remains until May 31, but with restricted reopening of restaurants, hair salons and other businesses throughout the month. Hair salons, barber shops, retail stores and drive-in movie theaters can open May 11. Restaurants, currently limited to takeout and delivery, can offer outdoor dining starting May 18.
State parks have reopened. Counties and golf course operators may open their parks and courses too.
North Dakota is allowing restaurants and bars, hair, nail and tanning salons and other cosmetology-related businesses, tattoo and body piercing businesses, massage therapy facilities and fitness centers to open provided they adhere to guidelines. Movie theaters also may reopen at 20% normal capacity.
Most health-care offices have been allowed to reopen and retailers can offer delivery and pickup services, and by-appointment visits for 10 or fewer customers. Distributors, manufacturers and builders restarted with mask and social distancing requirements. Gyms, bars, restaurants, barbershops, salons, and movie theaters remain closed under Gov. Mike Dewine’s order.
Oklahoma’s Gov. Kevin Stitt allowed hair salons barbershops, spas, nail salons and pet groomers to reopen. Customers must maintain distances between each other. Further openings: restaurant dining rooms, movie theaters, gyms and sporting venues if they observe strict social distancing. Houses of worship must leave every other row or pew empty.
With the stay-home order lifted, South Carolina let outdoor restaurant dining resume. Parks, beaches, malls, hotels and clothing stores have reopened. Gov. Henry McMaster said that hair salons, gyms and other close-contact businesses are next.
Gov. Kristi Noem limited the state's response to asking people to observe social distancing and avoid groups larger than 10. Noem has since issued a “Back to Normal” plan that advised businesses to open while keeping people spread apart.
Restaurants have begun dine-in service with reduced seating capacity and stores are allowed to reopen. Salons and other close-contact stores will be allowed to reopen Wednesday. The state has released guidelines on safely reopening, but officials acknowledge Tennessee won’t enforce the measures.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott allowed stores, malls, restaurants and theaters to reopen but at one quarter occupancy. Libraries and museums also can reopen after Texas' stay-at-home order expired. Counties with five or fewer reported coronavirus cases have looser occupancy rules. Abbott, who had had already eased restrictions on elective surgeries and had allowed retailers to fill orders curbside, is aiming for mid-May for barbershops, gyms, salons and bars.
Restaurants, gyms, barbers and nail salons have begun reopening with distancing and mask requirements for employees and some customers in urban Salt Lake County. Gov. Gary Herbert said churches will likely be among the last places to reopen.
More Vermont construction and manufacturing workers have returned to work. Gov. Phil Scott also is allowing some elective health care procedures to resume and some outdoor retail space to open to in-person shopping with a maximum of 10 people, including both customers and employees.
Gov. Jim Justice has allowed the reopening of small businesses, barber shops, nail salons, and the resumption of church and funeral services. Restaurants can allow outdoor dining. The move includes restrictions and is contingent on the state’s positive virus test rate staying below a threshold. In subsequent weeks, offices, hotels, casinos, restaurants and other remaining businesses could reopen.
Barbershops, hair and nail salons and tattoo parlors can reopen on Friday. Gyms also can open again but with restrictions. Day care businesses can accept all children. Hospitals can resume elective surgeries.