Here’s When Every State Is Expected to Reopen

Here's how and when each state will lift its stay at home orders and reopen for business.

The world is in the midst of a pandemic, as coronavirus continues to take lives and strike fear into the heart of nearly everyone. This has also resulted in states are grappling with out-of-work residents, angry protests, keeping their people safe, and ensuring that businesses don’t collapse. The decision of when states will reopen is a delicate balance, where elected officials must respect human life as well as the need for folks to earn money to survive. President Donald Trump suggests a three-stage process, with the first phase allowing for gatherings of no more than ten people and allowing for some businesses including gyms, movie theaters, sporting venues, and other large venues to open if it allows for physical distancing. Here is how, as of April 27, each of the 50 states is preparing to move forward in lifting (or easing) its stay at home orders and reopening businesses, from restaurants to nail salons. Find out when cases of coronavirus peaked or is expected to peak in every state.

Alabama

The stay at home order in Alabama that ran through April 30, was replaced with a “Safer at Home” order that will expire on May 15 at 5 p.m.  Governor Kay Ivey has said that she’s, “as eager as anyone to get our economy spinning on all cylinders again, but we must make sure we’re doing it in a smart and productive way.”

Alaska

On April 21, Governor Mike Dunleavy unveiled Phase One of reopening the Alaskan economy, which allowed retail stores and restaurants to reopen with limited dine-in services on April 24. Other personal services businesses, like barbers, nail salons and hairdressers, and non-essential professional businesses, were also permitted to resume limited services, providing they continue following rigorous health and safety standards. The revised health mandate states: “All Alaskans have an obligation to help promote public health and fight this pandemic by continuing to follow public health guidance regarding sanitizing, hand washing, and use of face masks.” Don’t waste your money on these coronavirus products.

Arizona

Sedona Arizona continues to endure during the Coronavirus PandemicKent Nishimura/Getty Images
Signs block the entrance to the currently closed Cathedral Rock Trail on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 in Sedona, AZ.

“The Lake Powell area hasn’t been impacted by the virus too much, but it borders the Navajo Nation, dealing with a large outbreak,” yet Arizona Governor Doug Ducey reopened the Lake on April 24 with limited services. Ducey proclaimed that Arizona’s approach to reopening would mirror Trump’s three-phase plan for reopening America.

Arkansas

Governor Asa Hutchinson has set May 4, as the soft reopen target date with social distancing and the wearing of masks continued to be recommended. The opening up of Arkansas involves, “so-called large venues as laid out in the White House Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, including restaurants for sit-in dining, movie theaters, gyms, and churches.” Keep an eye out for this coronavirus scam.

California

On April 13, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a joint Western States Pact with Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee to reopen the western states based on, “health outcomes and science—not politics.” On April 21, the governor said that his state would need to dramatically expand testing before the state would see widespread reopening. However, there’s hope the Golden State will move towards reopening bit by bit. Recently, the state announced a “modest step toward normalcy” by starting to schedule essential surgeries once again, ABC owned station KGO-TV reports.

Colorado

Joining several other states balancing a need to spur the economy while still protecting people, “Governor Jared Polis announced that Colorado’s previously issued ‘stay-at-home’ mandate is being updated to a ‘safer-at-home’ mandate.” This means select businesses began reopening for curbside pickups beginning April 27 and then reopened on May 1 with limited numbers of in-store customers, with social-distancing policies in place. Here’s what you need to know about surviving coronavirus from someone who did.

Connecticut

Volunteers Deliver Food To Seniors In Stamford, ConnecticutJohn Moore/Getty Images
A volunteer delivers bags of groceries to seniors isolated in their homes on April 22, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut.

“Testing and masks, testing and masks, testing and masks,” Governor Ned Lamont said on April 22 in regards to what is required to open the state safely. Currently, the state doesn’t have enough of either and so it remains mostly closed with residents safe at home, at least until May 20. Lamont’s administration wants to see, “14 days of reduced COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, combined with greater testing and the availability of masks for workers exposed to the public.”

Delaware

The state has been experiencing several ongoing protests from residents demanding “freedom” from a stay at home order. “He will be guided by science—not the howling of naysayers,” Governor John Carney says. He has said businesses will remain closed until there have been 14 days of declining numbers in cases of COVID-19 before starting the first phase of reopening the state’s economy. Onlookers think the decline is a way’s away, as the state has just seen its largest daily case increase (269 COVID-19 positives) on April 21. Some businesses are preparing to remain “virtual” and contactless after the coronavirus pandemic.

Florida

Florida’s second-deadliest day was April 21, yet some of the state’s beaches are open. There are plans for other beaches in the state to open soon, with social distancing still in effect. The stay at home order in the state is set to expire on April 30 and a task force is moving forward to reopen Florida, with no firm date set. Tourism is the lifeblood of Florida’s economy and the CEO of Universal Orlando says, “Theme parks are working on implementing more virtual lines, mobile ordering for food, temperature checks and capping daily visitors to ensure social distancing and make visitors feel safer.” You can’t visit Disney World right now, but you can make the churros from Disney’s parks while at home.

Georgia

Governor Brian Kemp is taking heat from a Republican congressman and the president himself because of an aggressive reopening timetable that allowed gyms, hair salons, bowling alleys, and tattoo parlors to reopen on Friday, April 24, providing those businesses continue to follow strict social-distancing and hygiene requirements. Elective medical procedures will also be able to resume too. As of April 27, the state’s movie theaters resumed selling tickets, and restaurants once limited to takeout orders have returned to limited dine-in service. Read what it is like on the coronavirus frontline from an ER nurse.

Hawaii

“The governor and Honolulu’s mayor have said that stay-at-home restrictions will likely be lifted gradually,” according to Hawaii News Now. In a microcosm of America, with each state deciding how best to reopen, Hawaii as a state and its cities are diverging on phase one of reopening.

Idaho

Even before stay at home orders expired at the end of April, some Idaho businesses were already disobeying the Republican governor to welcome customers into gyms and bars. “Wayne Hoffman, president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, an influential libertarian lobbying group, told his supporters to openly defy the extended order to kickstart the economy,” per Boise State Public Radio. Governor Brad Little has announced a four-phase approach to reopening Idaho with churches and daycares allowed to open on May 1, hair salons, gyms, and restaurants on May 16, and more restrictions being lifted before finishing up the full reopening in mid-June. Read these uplifting stories of neighbors helping each other during the Coronavirus crisis.

Illinois

Chicago Continues To Idle During Coronavirus ShutdownBarry Brecheisen/Getty Images
The iconic Chicago Theater shows a sign that reads “We Love Chicago” on April 21, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.

It is clear that Governor J.B. Pritzker is considering easing restrictions on public spaces and businesses, but also on the table is an extension of the stay at home order. It currently runs through the month of April, as state officials announced 2,724 more known cases of the new coronavirus on April 25. This was the highest single-day total since the start of the outbreak. Pritzker has extended the stay at home order for the state through May 30.

Indiana

The state’s stay at home order ended on May 1. Governor Eric Holcomb says the restrictions have been eased “on hospitals to perform elective surgeries and is considering loosening other limits soon, perhaps as a nod to protests by conservatives in the overwhelmingly red state,” according to NPR. Here are four household products that kill the coronavirus.

Iowa

Like Illinois, Iowa may reopen regionally because “70 percent of positive COVID-19 cases are in about eight counties.” Those counties showing little or no cases of coronavirus may be allowed to return to some kind of normalcy first. Governor Kim Reynolds is, at the time of publication, still working on plans to reopen the Iowa economy, beginning with restrictions on farmer’s markets and elective surgeries being lifted on April 27.

Kansas

The reopening of Kansas will be a gradual process, though Governor Laura Kelly did begin allowing some businesses to reopen on May 4. Are you disinfecting your mail to protect yourself and your family from coronavirus?

Kentucky

Phase one of the state’s gradual reopening began April 27. “Under this initial phase, the governor [Andy Beshear] says hospitals can start with diagnostic treatments, radiology work, non-urgent and emergent procedures, and in-person office visits,” local NBC affiliate WSAZ reports. Additionally, to prep for all the surgeries that were postponed, pre-anesthesia testing services can begin too. No word yet on the reopening of businesses like restaurants and nail salons, but Beshear adds, “We will be moving from this phase to others.”

Louisiana

The state is still among the top five in the country for rates of the coronavirus. Governor John Bel Edwards recently extended shelter in place orders until May 15. Here are much-needed homeschooling tips during the coronavirus crisis from a mom who has done it for years!

Maine

“Our hearts break to see closed storefronts and people struggling to make ends meet because of this crisis,” Governor Janet Mill said in a measured statement in mid-April. “At the same time, we all know that reopening too soon and too aggressively will likely cause a secondary surge in COVID-19 cases.” While not inundated with coronavirus cases like other states, Maine is operating under a state of emergency until May 15.

Maryland

CORONAVIRUS GROCERIESCaroline Brehman/Getty Images
An employee glances at a clipboard as she fulfills grocery orders at the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Food Co-op in Maryland on Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

Before Maryland can effectively and safely reopen, Governor Larry Hogan has said that the state must first, “Expand testing capacity, increase hospital surge capacity, increase PPE supplies, and implement a contact tracing operation.” Maryland’s businesses will start serving customers again, and return to some version of normal pre-coronavirus life, but first, the state will need to find itself on, what Hogan calls, the “roadmap to recovery,” which according to The Washington Post, includes “14 consecutive days of declines in the number of deaths, new hospitalizations, and new intensive care unit patients.”

Massachusetts

While schools and daycares in the state will remain shuttered through June, it is possible that some businesses may begin to reopen sooner. Governor Charlie Baker has yet to indicate if the closure of non-essential businesses would be extended beyond the May 4 deadline nor did he say which businesses or agencies would be most likely to reopen first, per Mass Live. As you work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, don’t make these video call mistakes.

Michigan

Michigan could soon see some parts of its economy start to reopen. “I have one of the most aggressive orders in the country, and so to start to release maybe a few things that are, you know, pose very little risk,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said on April 23. The Hill reports that Whitmer, “Did not name specific businesses but said her assessment would be based on several criteria, including, ‘Is it public-facing? Does the majority of the work happen indoors or outdoors? Does it require more than one person using a set of instruments or machinery?'” Until changes are made, the state has stay-at-home orders in place until May 15.

Minnesota

Minnesota resorts are open for business, but with precautions in place. The hotel portions can accept guests, and communal amenities can be used if they follow proper social distancing and cleaning protocols,” Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said in remarks made on April 22. As far as the rest of the economy in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the Walz allowed some business to open on May 4. Here are 10 common etiquette rules you can ignore thanks to coronavirus.

Mississippi

The extended shelter-in-place order expired on April 27 to allow online sales, curbside pickup and delivery. Mississippi is on the path to reopening.

Missouri

Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In AmericaJamie Squire/Getty Images
Caution tape is seen on a swingset in a community park on April 02, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Most Missouri businesses will be able to reopen shortly after the state’s stay-at-home order expires on May 4. However, Kansas City and St. Louis City Counties, the state’s two largest metro areas, will remain closed indefinitely.

Montana

Montana is one of a few states where the rate of new cases appears to be flat or declining in the last two past weeks. “Governor Steve Bullock released a plan outlining how churches, businesses, and schools can open their doors again over the next three weeks,” NPR reports. That includes lifted stay-at-home orders as of April 26 and the opening of certain non-essential business as of April 27. Here are some everyday habits that could and should change forever after coronavirus.

Nebraska

As of May 4, Governor Pete Ricketts allowed for church services, elective surgeries, veterinarian services, and dental and optometry services to resume, hair salons and barbershops to reopen and restaurants to serve limited dine-in customers.

Nevada

While casinos in Las Vegas remain empty of gambling patrons and hotel guests, Governor Steve Sisolak said on April 30 that the state will begin an “active transition” on or before May 15.

New Hampshire

Governor Chris Sununu announced plans for “Stay At Home 2.0” on May 1. As part of that, stay at home orders are in place through May 31, though as of May 11, golf courses, hair salons, drive-in movies, and retail operations may reopen, but with certain restrictions. Here are the rules for shopping at Wal-Mart and Target during the coronavirus crisis.

New Jersey

Having recently seen its 5,000th resident die of COVID-19 and with more than 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, New Jersey is a long way from reopening its beaches or its businesses. While some are protesting the order to stay home and safe, Governor Phil Murphy remarks that the people of New Jersey are smarter than some give them credit for and that “no one would show up” if he lifted the lockdown restrictions.

New Mexico

“New Mexicans should expect the stay-at-home order to be extended through May 15,” Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said on April 22. She then added, in regards to reopening the state, that a phased kind of reopening plan could start mid-May but that currently, New Mexico is only in the preparation phase of doing so. Here’s how to effectively self-isolate if you live with your family.

New York

Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In AmericaJustin Heiman/Getty Images
The Oculus shopping center and PATH train station in the World Trade Center stand totally empty during on April 25, 2020 in New York City.

With coronavirus rates differing dramatically from one part of New York state to the next, Governor Andrew Cuomo will re-open the state by region. On May 4, he announced that construction and manufacturing, along with curbside delivery from retail stores, will be the first sectors to open when the state begins to lift restrictions on May 15.

North Carolina

It was expected that at a news conference on April 23, Governor Roy Cooper would unveil his plan to begin easing North Carolina’s stay-at-home order due to coronavirus. Instead, Cooper announced that he is extending the order, originally set to expire on April 29 through May 8. Check out these 20 photos that define the era of social distancing.

North Dakota

As of May 1, Governor Doug Burgum allowed for bars, gyms, and restaurants to re-open up as long they keep capacity at 50 percent and maintain space between customers, has shut down schools, bars, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and salons.

Ohio

On May 4, construction, manufacturing, and distribution businesses were allowed to reopen. Governor Mike DeWine is expected to announce further details about the re-opening of other businesses by May 8. Never shake hands again with this polite way of getting out of it.

Oklahoma

Per Governor Kevin Stitt hair and nail salons were allowed to open on April 24. This was followed by churches and movie theaters greeting Oklahomans in person on May 1.

Oregon

In line with other states attempting to reopen for business responsibility and safely, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced plans to lift the state’s restrictions on April 23. “She plans to lift restrictions on hospitals and dental offices, allowing them to reopen for non-essential surgical procedures starting next month as long as they reserve enough hospital beds and protective gear — gowns, masks, gloves — for a surge in Coronavirus cases,” according to OPB.org. Earlier in the week, Brown shared a draft of a three-phase approach to reopening the Oregon economy which, “Included allowing child care facilities to reopen in phase one and possibly restaurants.” Brown is expected to release more info by May 8. Amazon won’t deliver certain things during the coronavirus crisis, here’s where to get these items instead.

Pennsylvania

The Keystone State is preparing for a regional reopening, with Philadelphia and its suburbs being the last to open its businesses, says NBC 10. Governor Tom Wolf introduced a color-coded plan, with rural areas reaching a yellow point as soon as May 8, allowing for in-person retail (although curbside and delivery would still be preferable) and childcare openings.

Rhode Island

Restaurants Struggle During PandemicBoston Globe/Getty Images
We Will Get Through This Together is written above the takeout menu’s hanging in the window of Mia’s Cafe just steps from downtown Westerly, RI, on Match 30, 2020.

“It is my hope that we’ll begin to be able to enjoy our parks and beaches in some form or fashion again in the month of May,” Governor Gina Raimondo said on April 22. She also noted: “Even as Rhode Island begins the slow process of reopening the economy once the state’s stay-at-home order is lifted, older residents will still face stricter restrictions.”

South Carolina

Citing the “public’s ‘compliance’ with social distancing recommendations and South Carolinians’ ‘common sense,'” Governor Henry McMaster rolled back an executive order issued in early April to allow some retail stores to reopen. “Under the governor’s new order, department stores can reopen, along with other retail businesses deemed ‘nonessential’ such as sporting goods stores, book, music, shoe and craft stores, jewelry stores, floral shops, and other luggage and leather goods stores,” The State reports. These newly opened stores, however, still must abide by previous mandates, “limiting occupancy to five customers per 1,000 square feet, or 20 percent of posted occupancy limits, whichever is lower.” The next wave of openings in South Carolina is expected soon and will include close contact businesses such as salons and gyms, and possibly dining in at restaurants.

South Dakota

Having never issued a stay at home order, even bigger cities in the state may be reopening soon with caveats, such as restaurants and bars keeping a minimum of six feet between tables, chairs and barstools, and overall capacity limits on those businesses as well as casinos. Expect to see foodservice employees wearing required masks and while shopping in retail stores and requirements to hand sanitizer. Here’s how to keep your family safe and make the most of your time together at home.

Tennessee

Credited the effectiveness of social distancing, Governor Bill Lee allowed for restaurants to begin serving dine-in customers on April 27. Yet, while parts of Tennessee start to reopen, “Nashville will remain closed a little while longer as city leaders continue to evaluate the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19,” states WKRN. Nashville Mayor John Cooper said he hopes Music City can start reopening in early May—but in phases.

Texas

Texans have already been enjoying delivery and curbside pickup of prepared food, and on April 24 a retail-to-go model went into effect, allowing customers to do some shopping while staying safe from coronavirus. As of May 1, retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls were allowed to reopen with certain restrictions.

Utah

Restaurants, salons, and gyms were allowed to reopen on May 1, with certain precautions.

Vermont

Governor Phil Scott signed an addendum outlining a phased approach and five requirements for businesses to start reopening when the state’s stay at home orders expire on May 15. “The addendum states that employees cannot go to work if they are sick,” according to WWPL. “They must observe strict social distancing of six feet and wear non-medical cloth face coverings. While employers must supply easy access to soap and water or hand sanitizer and no more than two people can be in one vehicle while conducting work.” Additionally, single-worker based services (real estate agencies, attorneys, pet care) can reopen as long as they have a one-to-one ratio with just the employee and a single client.

Virginia

US-HEALTH-VIRUSOLIVIER DOULIERY/Getty Images
Mannequin heads wear masks in the window of a small boutique advertising availability of masks, gloves, and other pandemic necessities amid the Coronavirus outbreak in Arlington, Virginia, on April 27, 2020.

Though Virginia non-essential businesses have been asked to stay closed through May 8 and there is a stay-at-home order through June 10, Governor Ralph Northam would like to reopen the state before then. However, three phases must be reached before doing so. “We need to make sure we have the necessary PPE,” Northam says. “We also need the testing, and to see a decrease in the number of coronavirus cases for two full weeks.” During a virtual town hall on April 21 Northam said: “We are nowhere near 14 days.”

Washington

With a stay at home order set recently extended to May 31, Governor Jay Inslee outlined a relatively vague three-step plan to reopen Washington. Without a firm date to begin, Inslee noted that Washington state’s reopening will be more like the “turning of a dial than the flipping of a switch.” The Seattle Times reports that a reopening, “Could allow the return of some elective surgeries, outdoor recreation, and certain construction projects.”

West Virginia

Governor Jim Justice has talked repeatedly in recent days about, “the need to strike a balance between maintaining the health of citizens while also easing the restraints on businesses that power West Virginia’s economy,” according to a local news station. To that end, beginning April 27, hospitals were allowed to apply to resume elective surgeries. “Health officials will review the hospitals to ensure they have enough protective gear and meet other criteria,” according to wvpublic.org. As for the rest of the West Virginia economy, Justice said that the reopening of the state will occur, “in baby steps as COVID-19 testing is ramped up.” Hygiene is a popular topic these days—here’s what hygiene looked like a century ago.

Wisconsin

A battleground state pitting those who want to keep residents safe from coronavirus against residents who feel their freedoms have been snatched, Wisconsin sits at the forefront of the reopening movement. This week, “Wisconsin’s Republican-led legislature filed a lawsuit Tuesday in an attempt to reopen the state and block the extension of a stay-at-home order (to May 26) issued by state health officials to slow the spread of the coronavirus,” reports CNN. Governor Tony Evers remains unmoved and is moving forward with plans to reopen Wisconsin in stages.

Wyoming

Although Wyoming shares in most states’ main issues with reopening the economy—testing capacity is still far below where it needs to be to fully lift all social distancing measures—Governor Mark Gordon is stressing the point that his state, “never really closed down.” That said, his administration began lifting restrictions on May 1.

Read on to find out which states are being hardest hit by coronavirus. For more on this developing situation, including how people are staying safe and sane, see our comprehensive Coronavirus Guide.

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Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle is an Iris Award-winning photographer, avid traveler, and English football fanatic who regularly covers travel, culture, cars, health, business, the environment, and more for Reader's Digest. Jeff has also written for Parents Magazine, Esquire, PBS, and Good Housekeeping, among other publications. He is the proud dad of teen daughters. You can follow his adventures on Instagram and Twitter @OWTK.