Most states have dropped coronavirus-related restrictions
For more than a year, governors across the country have issued orders and recommendations to their residents on the status of schools, businesses and public services in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Now most states have lifted the COVID-19 safety measures they had put in place.
When a state is listed as fully reopened, it means that businesses no longer have to follow capacity limits or curfews. Most public and private gatherings of any size are allowed (large indoor event venues might still be subject to restrictions). Domestic travelers are free to visit the state without quarantining or providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Minimal restrictions may still apply in certain settings. For example, masks or social distancing may still be required in nursing homes. Many states have adopted CDC guidance on masks. Local governmental entities or private businesses may still have restrictions.
Here’s a look at each state’s restrictions.
• Alabama: Fully reopened.
• Alaska: Fully reopened.
• Arizona: Fully reopened.
• Arkansas: Fully reopened.
• California: Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) ended the stay-at-home order on June 15. The health department has ordered all unvaccinated individuals over age 2 to wear a mask in indoor public spaces and businesses. Vaccine verification or negative testing is required for indoor mega events (crowds larger than 5,000).
• Colorado: Fully reopened.
• Connecticut: Gov. Ned Lamont (D) lifted most business restrictions May 19. Restaurants must limit parties to 8 people per table and close indoor dining by midnight. A mask order in effect through July 20 requires unvaccinated individuals to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
• Delaware: Gov. John Carney (D) modified coronavirus-related restrictions, effective May 21. Individuals are encouraged, but no longer required, to wear a face covering when in indoor public places. Face coverings are still required in limited circumstances, such as when using public transportation or ride-hailing services or in health care facilities.
Social gatherings in public spaces are capped at 250 people. Individuals from different households should stay 3 feet apart from one another. With permission from the health department, public indoor gatherings larger than 250 are allowed. Businesses are no longer under capacity limits but must make handwashing or hand sanitizing stations available and are encouraged to modify practices to allow for social distancing.
• District of Columbia: Fully reopened.
• Florida: Fully reopened.
• Georgia: Fully reopened.
• Hawaii: Gov. David Ige (D) said the state will drop all restrictions, including travel mandates, once 70 percent of its residents are vaccinated. Currently, visitors arriving in Hawaii from out of state must either show a negative COVID-19 test result obtained within 72 hours of traveling or self-quarantine for 10 days. Some islands require a second test, after arrival. Visitors to Kauai must quarantine for 10 days, with or without a negative test result. The state is under the Act With Care plan for reopening, which allows many businesses to resume operations, with restrictions. Each county has its own restrictions on gatherings.
A statewide mandate requires individuals age 5 and older to wear a face mask in public settings. Masks are not required outdoors if individuals can maintain appropriate physical distance from nonhousehold members. Recently, Ige extended until Aug. 6 a moratorium on residential evictions for tenants who fail to pay rent.
• Idaho: Fully reopened.
• Illinois: Fully reopened.
• Indiana: Fully reopened.
• Iowa: Fully reopened.
• Kansas: In 2020, Gov. Laura Kelly (D) announced that counties should come up with their own plans to reopen businesses. A statewide plan to restart the economy in phases offers guidance, but counties aren’t required to follow it. The state Department of Health and Environment mandated a quarantine for people arriving in Kansas who had traveled to certain states or countries with widespread transmission, but the length of quarantine varies depending on whether the individual has been tested. The mandate also applies to anyone who traveled on a cruise ship on or after March 15. Fully vaccinated people who have been asymptomatic since they traveled are not required to quarantine. The health department recommends individuals over age 2 wear a mask in public but doesn’t require it.
• Kentucky: Fully reopened.
• Louisiana: Fully reopened.
• Maine: Fully reopened.
• Maryland: Fully reopened.
• Massachusetts: Fully reopened.
• Michigan: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said the state will lift all broad epidemic orders on July 1. Under current restrictions, indoor establishments can operate at 50 percent capacity. Unvaccinated individuals are required to wear a mask when inside public spaces.
• Minnesota: Fully reopened.
• Mississippi: Fully reopened.
• Missouri: Fully reopened.
• Montana: Fully reopened.
• Nebraska: Fully reopened.
• New Hampshire: Fully reopened.
• New Jersey: Fully reopened.
• New Mexico: Under the direction of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), the health department signed an order that outlines restrictions. Under the state’s color-coded framework, a county’s status depends on virus risk. All counties are in the low-risk turquoise designation. Gatherings are capped at 150 people. Restaurants can offer indoor dining at 75 percent capacity upon the completion of a state safe certified training program. Regardless of certification status, restaurants in turquoise counties can offer outdoor dining at 75 percent capacity. Most other businesses can operate at 75 percent capacity. Essential businesses aren’t subject to capacity restrictions. Unvaccinated individuals statewide must wear a mask in public settings. Vaccinated individuals don’t need to wear a mask unless recommended by the CDC.
• New York: Fully reopened
• North Carolina: Fully reopened.
• North Dakota: Fully reopened.
• Ohio: Fully reopened.
• Oklahoma: Fully reopened.
• Oregon: Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced Oregon will follow the CDC guidance on masks and allow fully vaccinated individuals to forgo wearing masks in most public places. Current business restrictions depend on a county’s risk level. No counties are currently designated as red (extreme risk). In orange counties, up to eight people are permitted for outdoor private gatherings and up to six people for indoor gatherings. Restaurants can offer indoor dining at 25 percent capacity or 50 people (whichever is smaller). Indoor entertainment and fitness facilities can operate at 10 percent capacity or 50 people. In yellow counties, restaurants can offer indoor dining at 50 percent capacity, with a maximum of 100 people, and outdoor dining with up to 150 people. Indoor private gatherings cannot exceed eight people, and outdoor private gatherings are capped at 10. In green counties, indoor private gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed; outdoor private gatherings are limited to 12 participants. Restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues are among businesses that can operate at 50 percent capacity. In red, orange and yellow counties, food and drink establishments must close by 11 p.m. In green counties, food and drink establishments must close by midnight.
• Pennsylvania: Fully reopened.
• Rhode Island: Gov. Dan McKee (D) lifted most coronavirus-related restrictions. Effective May 28, businesses can operate at 100 percent capacity, including restaurants, retail stores, gyms and personal-care establishments. McKee said nightclubs must limit capacity to 50 percent unless all patrons provide proof of vaccination. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must wear a face covering in indoor public spaces. Face masks are required, regardless of vaccination status, in limited settings, such as health care facilities or when using public transportation. Anyone arriving in Rhode Island for nonwork purposes from an area with a high community COVID-19 rate must self-quarantine for 10 days or obtain a negative coronavirus test after arrival or in the 72 hours before arrival. Vaccinated individuals are exempt as long as they received their final dose 14 days before arrival.
• South Carolina: Fully reopened.
• South Dakota: Fully reopened.
• Tennessee: Fully reopened.
• Texas: Fully reopened.
• Utah: Fully reopened.
• Vermont: Fully reopened.
• Virginia: Fully reopened.
• Washington: Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced he will lift all restrictions by June 30. Inslee paused the county-by-county approach to its road-to-recovery plan and placed all counties under Phase 3 guidelines. Indoor social gatherings are allowed, with a maximum of 10 people from outside the household. Outdoor social gatherings may have a maximum of 50 people from outside the household. Restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, personal-care services and similar indoor operations are limited to 50 percent capacity. Restaurants must stop alcohol service by midnight, and parties cannot exceed 10 people. Sports competitions and tournaments can resume. Unvaccinated people must continue to wear a mask in public places.
• West Virginia: Fully reopened.
• Wisconsin: Fully reopened.
• Wyoming: Fully reopened.
by Dena Bunis and Jenny Rough, AARP