Since the beginning of March, the United States has shared a single bond: the panic, danger, and difficulty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, state responses to reopening after the pandemic aren’t nearly as united. With some states still under complete lockdown and others now opening malls and gyms, the phased reopening of America looks very different across the map.
Alabama’s stay-at-home order expired April 30. Governor Ivey imposed a “safer-at-home” order through May 15, which allows employers, retail stores, and beaches to open subject to careful sanitation and social distancing rules.
“We know that what we are announcing today will please some and make others frustrated that we’re not going further at this time, but our job must be always to find the right balance,” Ivey said at a press conference on the reopening plans.
Alaska has benefitted from a relatively low infection rate, leading to its early reopening. Governor Mike Dunleavy allowed law firms, gyms, retail stores, personal care services, and restaurants to reopen on April 24, as long as they follow specific restrictions and don’t exceed 25% capacity.
“You’ll see the numbers go up,” he said, “but you want to look at the bed capacity, the numbers recovered, and a whole host of other metrics.”
Arizona plans to implement a rapid reopening schedule. Retail stores can begin in-person business on Friday, May 8, with strict physical distancing rules. Barber shops and salons can also reopen at this time. By Monday, May 11, restaurants can once again offer dine-in services using social distancing rules.
“The objective, while continuing to focus on protecting public health, is going to be turning up the light in our economy,” Ducey said at an April 29 press conference.
Arkansas is following Arizona’s lead. Gyms, fitness centers, and indoor athletic facilities were able to resume operations on May 4, with barbershops and hair salons reopening on Wednesday, May 6. Restaurants will be permitted to operate at a third of normal capacity, with groups no larger than 10, on May 11. As long as the state continues to see a downward trend, restaurants will eventually increase to 67% capacity.
Unlike Arizona and Arkansas, Colorado is still requiring gyms to stay closed and restaurants are restricted to take-out service, but retail stores and beauty salons began reopening on May 1 at 50% capacity. Since the state’s stay-at-home order expired on April 26, childcare facilities have also been allowed to reopen under certain safety measures.
On May 4, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis allowed many businesses to reopen, including restaurants, retail stores, and beaches. However, bars, gyms, and personal services still remain closed. Church services are encouraged to remain virtual, but are not banned from gathering. These reopening measures don’t apply to Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm beach counties, where a large portion of the state’s COVID-19 cases have occurred.
After Idaho’s stay at home order expired April 30, Governor Brad Little announced a two stage reopening process. From May 1 to May 15, all places of worship, daycare facilities, and organized youth activities may reopen. Stage two will take place during the last half of the month and allow personal care services, gyms, and restaurants to reopen with certain restrictions and social distancing guidelines.
Governor Eric Halcomb’s stay-at-home order expired May 1 in Indiana. The state has rolled out a multi-step reopening plan that began on May 4 with eased restrictions on travel, social gatherings of up to 25 people, retail and commercial businesses, and shopping malls. All indoor common areas are restricted to 25% occupancy until May 11, when restaurants and bars that serve food can open at 50% capacity and personal services can open by appointment only.
Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma,Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia are other states that plan to reopen nearly all economic activity by the end of May.