After the crisis: When will states reopen for business?

As May approaches, states are putting together plans for safely reopening their economies; here’s where they are so far


Businesses across the country have gotten creative with their closure signs. Image: Hindash via TNS

As we approach yet another month of the COVID-19 crisis, states are feeling the pressure to get back to business as usual. But as reporter Anita Baffoni recently tweeted, that road will be anything but straightforward.

While the White House has issued guidelines to help states decide when to begin the reopening process, most are largely charting their own courses. What follows is an overview of each state’s approach.


Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide stay-at-home order on April 3, which is set to expire April 30. At a press briefing April 21, she reiterated that the order will remain in place through its current expiration, and with the help of an executive committe, she will continue reviewing the “many recommendations that we’re receiving in order to safely open our economy.” This includes guidance from the state’s Small Business Emergency Task Force, which released a report the previous week calling for the reopening of retail businesses and “close contact services” like hair salons with protective measures in place. (The full report can be reviewed at the end of the article.)

While Ivey plans to follow the Trump administration’s guidelines advising 14 days of declining case numbers before reopening, she wants to see a significant increase in testing before making this determination. Only one percent of the state’s population has been tested to date.

Schools will remain closed the rest of the school year.


Gov. Mike Dunleavy revealed the state’s reopening plans last week, announcing that restaurants, retail businesses, salons and other professional services may begin reopening Friday, April 24, though at limited capacity to preserve social distancing.

The second phase of reopening is tentatively scheduled for May 8.

The state’s health mandate limiting international travel and travel from other states has been extended until May 19. The social distancing mandate and mandate limiting intrastate travel remain in effect indefinitely.

Schools will remain closed the rest of the school year.


Gov. Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order is set to expire April 30, though there’s no word yet whether this will be allowed to expire or extended into May. During a conference call with the state’s mayors on April 21, the Governor’s Office explained that while the state will use “basically the same” criteria as outlined in the White House’s reopening guidelines, it’s still too soon to set a date to move forward.

Last week, Ducey told reporters that he would be “working with industry and business leaders on a plan for economic recovery.”

On April 22, he issued an executive order allowing elective surgeries to resume May 1, as long as hospitals, dental offices and other health facilities have proper safety measures in place, including testing patients prior to procedures.

Schools are closed the rest of the school year.


Though Gov. Asa Hutchinson never issued a statewide stay-at-home order, social distancing restrictions, which included closing non-essential businesses like hair salons and limiting bar and restaurant service to take-out only, were put into place via executive order. Hutchinson recently announced, however, that many of these restrictions will begin to be lifted on May 4, but not without social distancing precautions still in place. The governor also launched a “surge” of virus testing across the state over the weekend to inform his decision making in the coming days.

While the governor is considering restaurants, gyms, hair salons and churches to be included in this first phase of opening, final decisions will be made on a staggered basis:

  • April 29: announcement regarding restaurants
  • April 30: gyms
  • May 1: beauty and barber salons
  • May 4: places of worship and larger venues in the state

Elective surgery restrictions will be lifted April 27. Schools will remain closed the rest of the school year.


On April 22, Gov. Gavin Newsom said there is still no date set for lifting his statewide stay-at-home order, which has been in place since March 19. He did announce, however, that progress has been made toward realizing the first of six indicators he had previously outlined for reopening the state’s economy — significantly increasing testing capacity across the state. Following a phone call with the president last week, Newsom said the state can expect to receive hundreds of thousands of testing swabs from the federal government, which will allow them to open 86 new testing sites, many in areas identified as “testing deserts.” He also announced a massive new contact tracing initative.

The state has also coordinated with neighboring Oregon and Washington to allow essential surgeries to resume, effective immediately. Newsom has been working with Governors Brown and Inslee on a joint reopening plan since April 13. Colorado and Nevada joined the pact April 27.

During his daily briefing on April 28, Newsom announced the “California Resilience Roadmap,” which outlines a four-stage reopening.

Schools will remain closed the rest of the school year, though the state is considering beginning the next school year in late July or early August to avoid more extensive “learning loss.”


At a press conference on April 20, Gov. Jared Polis announced that the state’s stay-at-home order will be allowed to expire on April 27, after which the state will transition to what the governor calls a “safer-at-home” order. Under this new order, many businesses and service providers will be allowed to reopen at limited capacity with social distancing precautions in place. While retail businesses, hair salons and other personal service providers, one-on-one real estate showings and child care facilities are included in this first phase, bars and restaurants will initially remain closed to dine-in service, possibly opening up in mid-May.

This new order, however, does not supercede more restrictive local orders. Schools will remain closed the rest of the school year.

Polis announced Monday that the state is joining the Western States Pact comprised of California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada.


Gov. Ned Lamont’s stay-at-home order remains in effect until May 20. While there are no immediate plans to reopen the state’s economy, officials are working toward that goal with the expansion of testing capacity.

“You’re going to see a dramatic increase in testing such that we’ll be able to make a determination before May 20 about what is the best staging for getting this state open again,” Lamont said. “That’s a key date for me.”

The decision to reopen the state’s schools has also been delayed until May 20, though it is likely they will remain closed the rest of the academic year.

The governor has also convened the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group and is part of the multi-state reopening pact that includes New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Delaware.


In a press briefing last week, Gov. John Carney called reopening his state’s economy “the hardest decision” he’ll have to make.

“We’re still seeing increased infections of COVID-19, so this fight is far from over,” Carney said Thursday. “At the same time, we need to look forward. We need to plan for safely reopening our economy under a new normal.”

Beginning April 27, the Delaware Division of Small Business and the Delaware Prosperity Partnership will host virtual Recovery Town Halls with members of the General Assembly, small businesses, and local Chambers of Commerce, to begin collecting feedback from small business leaders about Delaware’s economic reopening.

The state has been under a stay-at-home order since March 24, which lasts until May 15. Restrictions will not be lifted, however, until the state sees the recommended 14 day drop in new cases as well as an increase in testing capacity.

Schools will remain closed the rest of the school year.

District of Columbia

At a briefing Thursday, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced preliminary criteria for lifting the city’s stay-at-home order, which will last through at least May 15. In keeping with guidelines from the White House, the city must see the recommended decrease in new cases, after which it will adhere to the three-phase reopening process.

While the city currently employs 65 contact tracers, the mayor is calling for a team of 900 before the city can move into the first phase of reopening. Testing capacity will likewise be dramatically increased, from 3,700 tests a day to at least double in the coming weeks.

Schools will remain closed the rest of the school year.


While Gov. Ron DeSantis’ stay-at-home order will remain in effect until April 30, many local leaders have begun reopening public beaches for “essential activities.”

The governor met with the Re-Open Florida Task Force Friday to review recommendations from the business community for safely restarting the state’s economy.

He has said businesses in the hospitality industry will reopen incrementally, and that there will be input from doctors concerning rules for each industry.

The Florida Keys will remain closed to visitors until at least June. Schools are closed the rest of the academic year.


Gov. Brian Kemp started easing business restrictions April 24, despite a rare critique from the President for moving forward with phase one “too soon.”

Hair salons, gyms, bowling alleys, tattoo studios and message parlors are now allowed to reopen, though with social distancing and other safety protocols, like screening employees for illness, in place. Starting April 27, theaters and restaurants can reopen for dine-in service, again with restrictions.

Schools will remain closed the rest of the school year.


Gov. David Ige’s stay-at-home order remains in effect until April 30, though the governor said last week that this will likely be extended.

According to Hawaii Medical Service Association CEO Dr. Mark Mugiishi, who sits on the state’s economic recovery committee, the systems needed to begin a phased-in reopening are at least a month away, including ramped up testing and contact tracing capabilities.

The speed of reopening would likely vary by county, Mugiishi said.

The city of Honolulu has extended its stay-at-home order until May 31, but city parks reopened Saturday for limited activities.


On Thursday, Gov. Brad Little announced a 4-step plan for reopening businesses in the state.

The dates attached to each phase are tentative:

  • May 1-15: Retail stores and houses of worship can reopen with social distancing protections in place; daycare operations and organized youth activites are also eligible to reopen.
  • May 16-29: Gyms and salons can reopen with safety precautions in place; restaurants can reopen dining rooms once a safety plan is approved by local health district.
  • May 30-June 12: Public and private gatherings of 10 to 50 people are allowed, again with precautions in place; non-essential travel can resume to places without ongoing virus transmission.
  • June 13-26: Bars, nightclubs, movie theaters and sporting venues can reopen under limited physical distancing protocols; visits to senior living centers, jails and prisons can also resume.

The state has been under a stay-at-home order since March 25, which is set to expire April 30. Schools may be allowed to reopen this academic year if they meet certain criteria.


Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order is in effect until May 30, with modifications including mandated face coverings in public, beginning May 1. Under the updated order, non-essential retail businesses will be allowed to reopen with curbside pickup, elective surgeries may resume, and outdoor recreation at state parks and golf courses can resume, with restrictions.

The state is also working with Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin to coordinate longterm reopening plans.

As with most states, increasing testing capacity and having the ability to carry out robust contact tracing is a prerequisite to further reopening.

Schools will remain closed the rest of the academic year.


Gov. Eric Holcomb’s stay-at-home order expires May 1, though he says he will decide this week if it will again be extended.

While Holcomb says he’s commited to working with neighboring states on coordinating timelines, other states’ decisions will not unduly influence Indiana’s path to reopening.

“Indiana won’t be frozen in place because of some other state or regions numbers; we’re not forced to act in lockstep with anyone else,” Holcomb said.

On Friday, the governor signed an executive order allowing elective medical procedures to resume.

Schools will remain closed the rest of the academic year, though one local commentator has noted that a fall reopening is also unlikely.


Iowa has been under the equivalent of a stay-at-home order since April 2, when Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation continuing the State Public Health Emergency Declaration. The order is set to expire April 30.

On Friday, however, Reynolds signed a new proclamation to begin the reopening process. Under the new order, hospitals may resume elective procedures and farmers’ markets may reopen as of April 27. More decisions will be made in the coming weeks.

Schools are closed through the remainder of the school year.


Gov. Laura Kelly’s extended stay-at-home order remains in effect until May 3, after which the state will transition to “significantly less restrictive” rules for public gatherings. The governor says she will outline standards to guide her decision making this week, though she remains concerned that the state’s testing capacity is “nowhere near” adequate. The state ranks “nearly last” in per capita testing.

Schools are closed the remainder of the school year.


While Gov. Andy Beshear’s “Healthy at Home” order remains in effect until the state’s emergency declaration is lifted, the state is beginning its reopening process on April 27 with non-urgent/emergent healthcare services, diagnostic treatments, radiology, and lab services in:

  • Hospital outpatient settings
  • Healthcare clinics and medical officers
  • Physical therapy settings and chiropractic offices
  • Optometrists
  • Dental offices (with enhanced aerosol protections)

Elective and invasive procedures are not included in this phase of reopening.

Beshear said earlier this month that he plans to follow federal guidelines for reopening. He’s also recommended that schools remain closed the rest of the academic year.


Gov. John Bel Edwards extended the state’s stay-at-home order through April 30 but is expected to announce today whether this will again be extended as well as what a phased-in reopening could look like.

“You are likely to see requirements if you want to run a business and have folks come in from the public in order to purchase goods and services from you, then your workers ought to be in a mask,” Edwards said Thursday.

Earlier this month, Edwards announced the creation of the Resilient Louisiana Commission.

“They’re going to look at our economy, make recommendations to make our businesses more resilient so that we can open them up, get businesses open, get workers back to work, but do so in a way that adequately affects public health,” he said.

Schools are closed for the rest of the school year.


Gov. Janet Mills “Stay Healthy at Home” executive order remains in effect until April 30, though this may be extended in the coming week. Mills extended the state’s civil state of emergency until May 15.

On Thursday, Mills released a “vision” for reopening the state’s economy, based on the principles of “protecting public health, maintaining health care readiness, building reliable and accessible testing, and prioritizing public-private collaboration.” Her outline did not include a timeline nor specific public health criteria guiding the decision making process.

The governor has said she is working with neighboring Vermont and New Hampshire to coordinate reopening plans.

Schools are unlikely to open the rest of the academic year.


Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statewide stay-at-home order on March 30, which has no set end date.

At a press conference Friday, he unveiled a three-phase strategy for reopening the state’s economy. The outline, entitled “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery” (which can be reviewed in full at the end of the article), is predicated upon the state’s ability to meet four “building blocks":

  • ramping up testing capacity,
  • instituting contact tracing,
  • increasing the supply of personal protective gear
  • and readying hospitals for a surge in patients.

Hogan says the state is making process in all areas but is not ready to commit to a date for phase one. He is also setting up advisory groups for specific industries, faith communities and nonprofit organizations.

Schools are closed through at least May 15.


Gov. Charlie Baker’s statewide stay-at-home order remains in effect until May 4, though at a press conference Saturday, Baker said that date is “not the key metric” for determining when the state will begin its reopening process.

“May 4th was based on our assumption that we were going to be in the surge at some point in early April,” Baker said. “The surge has been a little bit later than that.”

Falling rates of hospitalization, he said, are much more important.

He also acknowledged the difficulty of outlining a more concrete strategy given that neighboring states are experiencing surges as different times.

“I don’t want Maine or New Hampshire or Vermont or Connecticut or Rhode Island or New York ... to do something that they believe is an important part of their reopening that unwittingly creates issues for us,” he said. “I certainly don’t want us to do anything that creates issues for them.”

While the state has yet to define the specific “rules for engagement” once businesses are allowed to reopen, the governor has said that “face coverings are gonna be a big part of it.”

Schools will remain closed the rest of the school year.


On Friday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended the state’s stay-at-home order until May 15, though this new version of the order loosens some restrictions. Big box stores, for example, no longer have to close off garden centers and other “non-essential” departments. Landscaping operations can also resume as can motorized boating and golfing.

Schools will remain closed the rest of the school year.


Gov. Tim Walz extended the state’s stay-at-home order until May 4, but another executive order has cleared the way for a variety of non customer-facing businesses to reopen as early as April 27. Businesses must meet the following guidelines in order to be included in this first phase:


Walz previously loosened restrictions on outdoor activities like boating, hunting, hiking and golfing.

Schools will be closed the remainder of the academic year.


Beginning April 27 with the expiration of Gov. Tate Reeves’ stay-at-home order, the state will transition to a new “Safer at Home” order, which allows some businesses to reopen with safety precautions in place. The new order will remain in place until at least May 11.

While restaurants are still restricted to carry-out and delivery services only, retail businesses are allowed to open at 50% capacity.

Schools are closed the rest of the academic year.


On Friday, Gov. Mike Parson extended the state’s emergency declaration through June 15 but said many businesses will be able to reopen on May 4, when the stay-at-home order expires. Gyms, barber shops and salons are all included in this first phase.

While businesses will be required to adhere to safety guidelines, which are yet to be released, the governor expressed hesitation at making them stringent.

“I don’t think you’re going to need government to regulate every thing about how you run your business,” Parson said.” I think number one the business will take it upon [themselves] to make sure the customers feel safe, and frankly the customers are not going to go there if they don’t feel safe.”

Parson’s lifting of the stay-at-home order does not apply to cities like Kansas City and St. Louis that have longer running directives in place.

Schools are closed the rest of the school year.


On Wednesday, Gov. Steve Bullock announced a phased reopening plan beginning April 26. Bullock said the state now has the capacity to test anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 as well as perform contact tracing where necessary. Rates of new infection across the state have also remained flat or declined in the last two weeks.

Churches were allowed to open yesterday with social distancing precautions in place; retail businesses can begin reopening today, again with restrictions. Dine-in restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen May 4 at 50% capacity.

Schools districts can reopen May 7 if they choose.


While Gov. Pete Ricketts never issued a stay-at-home order for the state, an April 3 order cancelled in-person instruction in schools, closed restaurants for dine-in service, and prohibited all elective medical and dental procedures until May 11. Tattoo parlors, salons and strip clubs were also to remain closed until May 31.

On Friday, however, the governor announced that he would relax some of these restrictions in 59 counties. As of May 4, restaurants can reopen their dining rooms with precautions in place, including limiting parties to groups of six or fewer. Barbershops, tattoo parlors, salons and massage therapists are also included in this new plan.

Schools are closed through the rest of the academic year.


Gov. Steve Sisolak accounced today that the state is joining the reopening pact between California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

The state’s stay-at-home order remains in effect until April 30.

In an announcement last week, the governor said he will solidify plans for phase one of reopening in the coming weeks. “Once the curve is flattened, our goal is to keep it that way,” he said.

Schools are closed the rest of the academic year.

New Hampshire

Gov. Chris Sununu’s stay-at-home order expires May 4, but the governor has said an extension is likely. Sununu extended the state’s emergency declaration for another three weeks.

A task force created to safely reopen the state’s economy held its first meeting last week. Over the next few weeks, representatives from various sectors, including the hospitality, retail and health care industries, will make presentations and answer questions about how they plan to emerge from the pandemic.

Schools are closed the rest of the academic year.

New Jersey

Gov. Phil Murphy issued a stay-at-home order on March 21 with no set expiration.

“No one has given more thought or is more eager to restart our economy than I am,” Murphy said earlier this month, “but if we don’t get the sequencing right, we put more lives at risk. The only path to a sustainable economic recovery is through a strong healthcare recovery,”

On Sunday, Murphy said his state is still “weeks away” from entering phase one of a gradual reopening.

Schools are closed until at least May 15.

New Mexico

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has extended her stay-at-home order through “at least” May 15.

In the meantime, Grisham said Thursday, “we will be in the preparation phase for a gradual and safe reopening of segments of our economy. The state will get direct input from business and employee groups in industries across the state – and we will make health-driven decisions about safe reopening procedures.”

Schools will remain closed the rest of the school year.

New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “New York on Pause” order has been extended through May 15, after which the state may be able to move into phase one of reopening, the governor said on Sunday.

Under the broad outline Cuomo revealed yesterday, construction and manufacturing workforces would be included in stage one. The second phase would include additional essential workers with low-risk of spread, though at least two weeks would be needed between each phase to monitor effects.

Cuomo has said the state will abide by CDC guidelines advising states to make reopening plans contingent upon 14 days of decreased hospitalizations. He’s also suggested different reopening timetables for upstate and downstate.

Schools are closed through the end of the school year.

North Carolina

On Thursday, Gov. Roy Cooper extended the state’s stay at home order until May 8 and announced seven benchmarks that will help determine when the state is ready to begin reopening.

The benchmarks are divided into four trends and three capacity considerations:

  • Trajectory of COVID-like symptoms over a 14-day period
  • Trajectory of lab-confirmed cases over 14 days
  • Positive tests as a percentage of overall tests in a 14-day period
  • Trajectory of hospitalizations
  • Testing capacity
  • Contact tracing capacity
  • PPE supply on hand

Cooper said his plans to reopen the state will be similar to the White House’s recommended three-phase process. The stay-at-home order will remain in effect until the state is ready to move on to the second phase.

Schools are closed through the remainder of the school year.

North Dakota

Gov. Doug Bergum declined to issue a statewide stay-at-home order, instead signing a directive that closed schools, dine-in restaurants, fitness centers, movie theaters and salons through April 30.

On April 15, Bergum issued a statement outlining “a path forward” for restricted businesses to reopen on May 1. The following must be in place before a phased reopening can begin:

  • Robust, widespread rapid testing capacity
  • Robust contact tracing and infrastructure
  • Targeted, effective quarantine
  • Protections for the state’s most vulnerable populations
  • Sufficient health care capacity, hospital/ICU beds
  • Adequate PPE availability for the health care system and public
  • New standard operating procedures for reopening
  • Plans for dealing with a resurgence or additional waves of COVID-19.

Schools are closed until further notice.


Gov. Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home order expires May 1, after which the state can begin “a phased-in” reopening. Earlier today, he announced the details of his plan:

  • May 1: Dental and medical procedures that do not require an overnight hospital stay can resume.
  • May 4: Offices, manufacturing and construction can resume operations on May 4 with “Safe Business Practices” in place.
  • May 12: Retail stores can reopen with similar practices.

“We know there is a great desire to get restaurants fully open and to get hair salons and daycares open,” DeWine said on Twitter, “but we must first start down the pathway of opening things up where we thought there was less risk and a more controllable risk.”

Schools are closed the rest of the academic year.


Gov. Kevin Stitt introduced his two-phase reopening plan last week, allowing some businesses in the state to reopen April 24, with others slated for May 1.

Personal care businesses like hair salons and pet groomers were allowed to open by appointment Friday. Restaurant dining rooms, movie theaters, gyms and sporting venues can reopen May 1 if they adhere to social distancing and sanitation protocols. In-person church services are also included in this grouping, if they likewise adhere to distancing restrictions.

Stitt’s safer-at-home order remains in effect for the elderly and vulnerable populations until May 6.

“I also told Oklahomans that we’ll be data-driven,” Stitt told Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday. “We’ll continue to watch the trends. And if the percentage of tests start increasing or hospitalizations start increasing, that we’ll kick back one of those phases and we can obviously reserve the rights to back up if we need to. But we believe it’s the time to have a measured reopening,” Stitt said.

On Thursday, however, the president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association called the plan “hasty or overambitious.”

“There’s definitely not a two-week downward trend in any of these [case] metrics,” Dr. George Monks said.

Schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year.


On Wednesday, Gov. Kate Brown revealed her “Reopening Oregon” framework during an online meeting with the Portland Business Alliance and other business groups.

Under the plan, the state can begin a phased reopening once it has met certain gating criteria, including a downward trajectory of new cases and hospitals having the capacity to treat all patients without crisis care.

The state is also building out a robust testing and contact tracing plan, which may allow for a targeted approach to reopening. According to Nik Blosser, Brown’s chief of staff, rural counties with zero cases and the ability to test and perform contact tracing could begin phase one sooner than urban counties.

While still being finalized, the first phase would allow the following business types to open with restrictions.


Schools will remain closed the rest of the school year.


Gov. Tom Wolf has put together a three-phase plan for reopening the state, which is set to begin May 8. The plan also includes different timelines for different parts of the state.

“I want to caution that we will not be resuming operations as they were in February,” Wolf said April 20. “We’re going to continue to take precautions that limit our physical contact with others, and we will closely monitor this to see if it can be done safely.”

Schools will remain closed the rest of the academic year.

Rhode Island

During a news conference held earlier today, Gov. Gina Raimondo said she hoped to be able to lift her stay-at-home order May 9, which would mean the state had successfully met the six key indicators she had previously outlined for beginning the state’s “slow, pinpointed, gradual” reopening.

In “Reopening RI: Charting the Course,” the governor outlines her plan for emerging from this crisis.

Schools will remain closed the rest of the school year.


Gov. Henry McMaster has extended the state’s emergency declaration and stay-at-home order through May 15. Last week’s order allowing the reopening of some non-essential businesses, including retailers selling furniture, apparel, sporting goods, books, crafts, music and flowers, still stands. The order also gave local jurisdications the authority to reopen beaches to the public.

“People can visit nonessential businesses during the stay at home order, but do so only when it’s necessary. If you don’t need to visit it, don’t,” McMaster said during a press conference Monday.

The governor has also launched a task force to “identify challenges faced by state and local governments, educational institutions, emergency services and first responders to proceed with economic revitalization.”

Schools are now closed through the remainder of the academic year.

South Dakota

On April 28, Gov. Kristi Noem unveiled her “Back to Normal” plan for reopening the state.

While she never issued a stay-at-home order, Noem’s March 23 executive order required businesses to “suspend or modify business practices as recommended by CDC guidance.” Elective surgeries were also put on hold, with a later order extending this moratorium until May 31.

Under Noem’s new plan, businesses are encouraged to “begin transitioning employees back to the workplace” and “where appropriate,” perform health screenings. Dine-in restaurants, casinos, athletic facilities and entertainment venues may “resume operations in a manner that allows for reasonable physical distancing, good hygiene and appropriate sanitation.”

In the case of “significant clusters” of new cases, the state reserves the authority to issue mitigative orders on a county-by-county basis.

Schools may “consider a limited return to in-person instruction to ‘check in’” before the school year ends.


Last week, Gov. Bill Lee unveiled what he’s calling the “Tennessee Pledge,” a collection of guidelines “to help Tennesseans return to work in a safe environment, restore their livelihoods and reboot our state’s economy.”

There will be no enforcement of these reopening guidelines, though businesses are asked to voluntarily implement various social distancing measures to keep employees and customers safe.

“I’m not starting with the assumption that Tennessee business owners are going to do the wrong thing,” Lee said earlier today during his daily press briefing. “I have trust and faith in the people of Tennessee. They have done exactly what we have asked them to do, which is why we’re in this position today.”

Beginning April 27, restaurants may resume dine-in services, with retail businesses following suit on April 29, though several more populous counties are setting their own reopening timelines. Fitness centers are slated for a May 1 reopening. Barbershops, salons, massage and tattoo parlors will remain closed until further notice.

Lee has asked that schools remain closed for the rest of the school year, though the final decision is up to individual districts.


Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Monday that he will allow the state’s stay-at-home order to expire on April 30, after which businesses can begin reopening in phases. Beginning May 1, retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls may open at no more than 25% capacity. Museums and libraries are also included in this group, though all hands-on exhibits are to remain closed.

The second phase of reopenings, which would allow businesses to expand capacity to 50%, may come as early as May 18, though this will ultimately depend on data from the previous two weeks “to confirm no flare-up of COVID-19.”

Abbott said he hopes barbershops, bars and gyms can open “on or no later than mid-May.”

State parks were reopened on April 20.

Schools will remain closed the rest of the school year.


On April 28, Gov. Gary Herbert announced a three-phase plan for reopening the state beginning May 1. Starting Friday, dine-in restaurants, gyms and salons may reopen, and gatherings of up to 20 people are once again permissible.

While the risk to citizens may be downgraded, mitigation efforts will continue in some form until at least September, per the Utah Leads Together 2.0 timeline.

“Let me be exceedingly clear,” Herbert said on Twitter. “Moving from HIGH RISK (red) to MODERATE RISK (orange) does NOT mean business as usual. Not slipping back into ‘high risk’ — depends upon YOU and your continued efforts to stay safe, to stay healthy and to stay strong by exercising great care in your social interactions, and exercising precautionary measures when you are in public.”

Schools will remain closed the rest of the academic year.


While Vermont’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order remains in effect until May 15, Gov. Phil Scott announced April 17 that some “low contact” businesses would be allowed to resume operations with a two-person staff beginning April 20. He has since revised this order, allowing outdoor businesses, construction operations and recreation maintenance work to operate with a maximum of five total workers per location, effective April 27.

The order also allows outdoor retail establishments, which were previously restricted to curbside pickup and delivery service, to resume in-person sales with a maximum of 10 people.

Farmers’ markets may resume operations May 1.

The revised order also implements additional safety requirements, including mandatory face coverings and safety training for employees.

Schools are closed through the rest of the academic year.


Last week, Gov. Ralph Northam announced a “blueprint” for determining when the state could begin phase one of the reopening process. As are many states, Virginia is following guidance from the CDC stipulating a 14-day decline in daily case numbers, a downward trend in hospitalizations, and having adequate ICU capacity and PPE on hand for health care workers and first responders.

The state’s stay-at-home order is in effect until June 10. Schools are to remain closed the rest of the academic year.


Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order expires May 4, but Gov. Jay Inslee confirmed April 29 that he will be extending it. He said more details about the extended order would be released Friday May 1.

“The fundamental principle we’re following is: let’s just do this once and get it over with,” Inslee said. “I think one way to look at it, it’s much better to do something 100% one time, than have to sacrifice 90% twice.”

On April 27, the governor announced eased restrictions on outdoor activities.

Schools are closed for the rest of the school year.

West Virginia

On April 27, Gov. Jim Justice unveiled his reopening plans for the state. Under “West Virginia Strong — The Comeback,” the state will reopen in phases, broken down into week-long intervals. Phase one began April 30 with the resumption of elective medical procedures across the state.

Week two reopenings, which will be allowed to proceed as long as the state’s cumulative positive test results remain beneath three percent, are slated to begin Monday, May 4 and include businesses with less than 10 employees; hair salons, nail salons, barbershops and pet grooming operations; and outdoor dining establishments.

Safety guidelines for each business type in the state can be found here.

Weeks 3-6 reopenings are still being considered and will be announced as data from previous weeks becomes available.

Also beginning May 4, the state’s stay-at-home order will be replaced by a new “Safer at Home” order.


Schools are closed through the rest of the school year.


Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home order expires May 26, though it was amended last week to provide “more opportunities for non-essential businesses to get back to work in a safe and responsible way.”

On April 20, the governor announced a phased reopening plan called “Badger Bounce Back.” Once the state meets specific gating criteria, the first phase will begin.

State parks were given the greenlight to reopen May 1.

Schools are closed for the rest of the school year.


While Gov. Mark Gordon never issued a blanket stay-at-home order for the state, he used public health orders to prohibit gatherings of 10 or more people and close non-essential businesses through April 30.

These orders have now been amended, allowing for various businesses to begin reopening May 1.

The governor’s plan also allows for a localized approach to reopening, where appropriate.

“We all recognize that the virus has had severe impacts in some Wyoming communities, while other towns and counties have been spared,” Gordon said. “This plan takes into account the continued safety of our citizens and establishes a process to consider some case-by-case exceptions to state health orders when appropriate. It is important that we do not surrender the ground we have taken and that we extend our gains against this virus.”

On April 23, the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said that schools may only open to “special populations” before the end of the school year, and only after May 15.

Review the guidance from Alabama’s Small Business Emergency Task Force:

Reopening Alabama Responsib... by Ed Praetorian on Scribd

Review Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery:

MD_Strong by Ed Praetorian on Scribd

Sarah is based in North Carolina, where she lives with her son and several rambunctious reptiles. Before taking on her current role with Lexipol, she was the staff writer for the tech website DZone and served as an assistant editor with the rural lifestyle publication GRIT Magazine. Get in touch with her at

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