Since the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020, the U.S. response to control and contain the spread has mostly been at the state level with state governments (and more locally, those of cities and counties) enforcing closures, social distancing, face masks, and other safety precautions. Some states began reopening their economies as early as April 2020 and more followed suit at their own pace in the following months. Infection rates in the U.S. rose to new heights in the fall and winter, but are falling at a consistent rate in the early months of 2021. As each state continues to roll out vaccinations, more restrictions are being lifted and some states, like Texas and Mississippi, have completely reopened without restrictions or mask mandates.
Due to the varying timelines, many travelers are wondering if it is safe (and legal) to travel between states and whether attractions and businesses will be open in their intended destinations. Some states are enforcing travelers arriving from high-risk states and territories to quarantine upon arrival. These lists of high-risk states are constantly changing as infection rates fluctuate throughout the country and each state has its own standards for determining what is high-risk.
On April 2, the CDC announced new guidelines that condone travel for fully-vaccinated travelers without the need to get tested or self-quarantine. However, mask-wearing and social distancing are still recommended for everybody.
Use our guide below, broken down by region, to learn more about each state's reopening plan, newly announced restrictions, and what to expect if you plan to visit.
Alaska is currently in phases three and four of its five-phase reopening plan. Under this phase, businesses are open with capacity limitations and social distancing. A previous requirement that called for every traveler to Alaska to have a negative COVID-19 test expired in February. However, travelers are still encouraged to get tested anyway. Tests in Alaska will now be free for both residents and out-of-state visitors.
Based on a benchmark system, most businesses are open with mask mandates and social distancing in place. In early March, all business occupancy limits were lifted and on March 25, bars were allowed to open at full capacity and Governor Doug Ducey announced that local mask mandates will be phased out.
The "Blueprint for a Safer Economy Plan" imposes a slower tier-based reopening plan based by county on a scale of minimal, moderate, substantial, and widespread. You can check the current status of each county on the official state website. As of April 19, most counties are in the moderate tier, which means some indoor businesses can open with moderations. Only Lassen, Alpine, and Sierra Counties in the minimal phase, which means most indoor businesses are open.
Colorado has implemented a dial system that classifies counties by risk level and as of April, the majority of counties are blue or green. In early February, capacity limits were expanded for restaurants and other businesses and more counties were able to move into less restrictive categories. Most businesses are allowed to open with safety measures, however, the restrictions vary based on what category each county falls under. Most counties have achieved lower transmission rates which allow bars and restaurants to open at 50 percent capacity.
Restrictions vary by island, but restaurants and bars are open in many places with social distancing rules in place. Travelers from other states are allowed to enter Hawaii and do not need to quarantine as long as they show a negative test taken within 72 hours of departure. If a traveler's results are still pending, they will not be allowed to board.
Any adult who plans to visit Hawaii will need to make an account on the official Safe Travels program website, supply their trip details, upload the results of their test and a photo of themselves, and answer a questionnaire within 24 hours of their flight. Travelers will also need to fill out the subsequent declaration and request forms if they plan to travel beyond Oahu to Kauai, Maui, or Hawaii (the Big Island) counties.
Idaho has a four-stage plan for reopening the state. On February 2, Idaho moved to stage three which allows gatherings of 50 people, and nightclubs may open but guests should stay seated.
In January, Gov. Greg Gianforte rolled back restrictions to allow businesses to reopen without capacity limits and to stay open past 10 p.m. The statewide mask mandate expired in February, but smaller municipalities and sovereign tribal nations may enforce their own restrictions.
As of March 15, capacity limits for casinos, gyms, and other businesses will increase to 50 percent. Libraries, museums, and retail stores are allowed to expand to 50 percent capacity and spas and hair salons can operate under strict social distancing directives. Starting May 1, statewide distancing requirements will end and mitigation measures will be put in place by individual counties.
New Mexico is using a color code system to determine how quickly businesses in certain counties can reopen. As of April 19, no counties are in the red, and indoor dining has resumed statewide. There is no longer a quarantine requirement, but out-of-state visitors are encouraged to get tested and self-isolate upon arrival.
After a statewide freeze in November, which required shops to reduce capacity and restaurants to return to take-out only, all counties in Oregon are now allowed to reopen businesses like outdoor dining based on risk level. As of April 19, most counties are in the lower risk level, which means indoor dining is open at 50 percent capacity and most other businesses are open.
Most businesses in Utah are open with capacity limits and social distancing rules in place and there is no limit on social gatherings. In late February, Gov. Spencer Cox lifted the capacity limits for bars in counties with low transmission.
In March, Washington moved to Phase 3 of their reopening plan, which allows indoor dining and other indoor businesses to increase capacity to 50 percent. In April, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that three counties would roll back to Phase 2.
Although Gov. Mark Gordon did not issue a stay-at-home order at the start of the pandemic, statewide restrictions were gradually lifted over the summer to allow businesses to reopen and serve more customers. By the end of January, bars and restaurants returned to normal operating hours as cases declined and gathering limits were eased. On March 1, gathering limits increased to allow 1,000 people indoors and 2,000 outdoors, and restaurants are no longer required to keep track of their customer's temperatures.
Illinois has a five-stage plan to reopen, and the four regions within the state can progress through those stages independently of the others. The Illinois government website has a detailed breakdown of the stages. Initially, many businesses were allowed to reopen, but then the plan was modified to include "mitigation tiers," which will be implemented to fight spikes of infection. In February, all regions entered phase four which means bars and restaurants are open with capacity limits in place.
After a doubling of case numbers in November, Gov. Eric Holcomb switched out the state's previous approach based on phases with one based on color-coded risk levels. Restrictions vary based on the severity of case numbers in each county. As of April, most counties are in the blue or yellow phase which allows most businesses to open.
After a period of extended restrictions limiting gatherings and requiring businesses to enforce social distancing, Gov. Kim Reynolds removed limits in mid-December and allowed bars and restaurants to return to normal business hours, and in-person service with bar seating is allowed. Municipalities like Des Moines and Iowa City may enforce their own restrictions.
Kansas is in Phase 3, which means all businesses may reopen under certain health and safety guidelines, and gatherings of more than 45 people are discouraged. Kansas has a self-quarantine mandate in place for non-vaccinated travelers arriving from certain states or countries.
As of March 5, restaurants, bars, and other businesses can open at 50 percent capacity, and public gatherings are allowed to expand to 25 people inside and 300 people outside. In April, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer encouraged citizens to avoid indoor dining and gathering, but no official restrictions are in place.
As of March 15, Gov Tim Walz further loosened restrictions to allow bars and restaurants to increase occupancy to 75 percent, while venues can go up to 25 percent for outdoors and 15 percent for indoors.
On June 16, Missouri entered phase two of its "Show Me Strong Recovery" plan, which lifted all statewide restrictions and allowed all businesses to open with safety procedures encouraged. All large-scale events and gatherings are also allowed. After closing indoor dining and limiting other businesses, St. Louis County began reopening businesses in January after a reduction in cases. Capacity limits for restaurants and bars increased to 50 percent.
Rising cases in October prompted Gov. Pete Ricketts to impose new rules to limit indoor gatherings and require everyone to remain seated when at a bar or restaurant. At the end of January, Governor Ricketts announced that the whole state would move into the blue phase, leaving just a few capacity limits in place.
Following a decrease in infection rates, many restrictions in North Dakota have been lifted and the statewide mask mandate has expired. However, some cities and counties still require masks to be worn. Requirements limiting business capacity have become recommendations and all businesses are open. On January 29, Gov. Doug Burgum downgraded the state's risk level to low.
While South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem never mandated a formal stay-at-home order, many businesses across the state chose to temporarily close, operate under special hours, or, in the case of restaurants, offer curbside pick-up and delivery. In April 2020, Gov. Noem released a “back-to-normal” plan, with steps and safety procedures that businesses are encouraged to follow.
After a steep rise in cases in September, all capacity limits for open businesses were reduced to 25 percent. However, this order by the governor was knocked down by a judge on October 14, leaving the state without many public restrictions. On November 12, the governor announced a new order strongly urging people to stay home, but restrictions vary by county and municipality.
In February, all statewide business directives became guidances. Businesses have been allowed to reopen in Arkansas with suggested capacity limits still in place. In late March, Gov. Asa Hutchinson lifted the statewide mask mandate.
In November, Gov. John Carney announced new restrictions that limited indoor gatherings to 10 people and reduced indoor dining capacity to 30 percent capacity or 50 people, whichever is less. Delaware has been paused in phase two of its reopening plan since June 15. The governor has expanded the mask mandate to include indoor public gatherings but lifted the curfew for restaurants and bars in January. As of February 12, restaurants and other businesses may operate at 50 percent capacity.
District of Columbia
Restaurants are allowed to sell alcohol until midnight but indoor dining is still capped at 25 percent. All travelers, except for visitors from Maryland and Virginia, are advised to get tested within 72 hours before traveling to Washington, D.C., and within three to five days of arrival. Travelers who have been fully vaccinated do not need a test. All visitors must also adhere to the mandatory mask policy.
Restaurants, museums, retail stores, gyms, and libraries are open without capacity limits. Although local governments were previously allowed to place further restrictions, Gov. Ron DeSantis has stifled these efforts to keep bars and restaurants open. DeSantis has not reinstituted statewide restrictions nor issued a statewide mask mandate.
In Georgia, most businesses can open for “minimum basic operations” as long as they follow social distancing and sanitation procedures. As of March, bars and restaurants are allowed to operate at full capacity with social distancing measures in place. The gathering ban was removed in April and distancing requirements were loosened.
Since March, businesses like retail, gyms, and restaurants have been allowed to open in stages. In November, Gov. Andy Beshear introduced a set of restrictions for high-risk counties which were lifted on December 14. Businesses are now allowed to return to their previous capacity limits with bars and restaurants open for indoor dining at 60 percent. Bars and restaurants can stay open until 1 a.m. The Kentucky Department of health discourages all out-of-state travel and asks anyone who travels between states to quarantine for 14 days when they return to Kentucky.
In late March, Gov. John Bel Edwards lifted all occupancy limits on restaurants, bars, and gyms. Gathering limits have increased, but the statewide mask mandate is still in place.
On March 12, capacity limits were lifted for restaurants, bars, retail stores, and other businesses. Indoor and outdoor venues are still limited to 50 percent capacity.
In March, Gov. Tate Reeves lifted almost all restrictions, except for a school mask requirement. He later allowed indoor arenas to increase capacity to 75 percent.
On March 26, retail capacity limits were fully lifted while restaurants and gyms are allowed to increase to 75 percent. Movie theatres and bars are allowed to open at 60 percent.
Starting November 19, Gov. Kevin Stitt ordered restaurants and bars to enforce social distancing and close by 11 p.m. Oklahoma is in phase three of its Open Up and Recover Safely (OURS) three-part plan, which allows all businesses to open with social distancing rules required. On March 12, the governor issued an executive order lifting restrictions on events.
Since the spring, non-essential businesses have been reopening in stages, starting with "close contact" services, gyms, and pools, then attraction facilities, and most recently bowling alleys, all with safety measures in place. On October 2, the governor lifted all capacity limitations on restaurants, which are now allowed to operate at 100 percent. The order banning the sale of alcohol after 11 p.m. was lifted on March 1.
In April 2020, Gov. Bill Lee announced the “Tennessee Pledge,” a voluntary reopening plan that includes health and safety guidelines for businesses. Most businesses throughout the state are now allowed to open under these guidelines, but statewide, no capacity limits are in place for restaurants.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced that starting March 10, all restrictions on businesses and the mask mandate will be lifted.
On March 1, the midnight curfew was lifted and the outdoor gathering limit increased to 25 people. Retail, restaurants, bars, hair salons, museums, gyms, and pools are still open at limited capacity.
In November, Gov. Jim Justice updated the mask mandate to require that masks be worn at all times when in an indoor public place. As of March, restaurants, bars, and other businesses are allowed to open at 100 percent as long as social distancing can be maintained.
As of March 19, restaurants, stores, museums, aquariums, and gyms are allowed to open at full capacity and the travel ban has been lifted. Bars are still closed across the state and movie theatres are limited to 50 percent capacity and indoor gatherings are limited to 25 people.
Facing higher cases than at the start of the pandemic, a strict face mask mandate is now in effect statewide. Maine entered stage four of its reopening plan on October 13, which means that the cap on indoor dining increased to 50 percent or 100 hundred people, whichever is less. On March 26, indoor gathering limits increased to 50 percent capacity and bars reopened.
Non-vaccinated visitors from out of state, except for those from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, must submit a negative test result or quarantine for 10 days upon entry or complete the Certificate of Compliance, which is to be handed in at your hotel, short-term rental, or campground. If you are quarantined, you will only be allowed to leave the campsite for no-contact outdoor activities like hiking. If a Maine resident is returning from one of the non-exempt states, they must also quarantine.
On March 22, the state moved into Step 1 of Phase 4, which allows indoor venues and stadiums to reopen at limited capacity. For most other businesses, the capacity limit is now set at 50 percent, and gatherings are capped at 100 people for indoors and 150 for outdoors. Restaurants have no capacity limits and will be allowed to host live music performances as long as social distancing is maintained and the 90-minute time limit per table is followed.
A travel order is in effect, so if you are arriving from a high-risk state, you must fill out a travel form, provide proof of a negative test, or quarantine for 10 days. Anyone who has been fully vaccinated does not need to show a test or quarantine.
In March, New Hampshire lifted the testing and quarantine requirement for incoming travelers and expanded the capacity for retail stores to 100 percent capacity. Nearly all businesses have reopened, but some restrictions are still in place depending on the business.
Restaurants and other businesses have expanded to 50 percent capacity. Unless they have been fully vaccinated, anyone arriving in New Jersey from out of state is asked to voluntarily get tested and self-quarantine for seven to 10 days, except for those arriving from Connecticut, Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Indoor dining is open in New York City at 50 percent capacity and in other parts of the state at 75 percent. Most businesses throughout the state are open with some distancing rules in place. As of April 1, domestic travelers will not be required to show a test or quarantine and entertainment venues will be allowed to reopen and amusement parks reopened on April 9 at 33 percent capacity.
Pennsylvania lifted its travel restrictions on March 1 and indoor events are allowed to take place at 25 percent capacity. As of April 4, bars and restaurants, are allowed to increase capacity to 75 percent.
In February, restrictions were loosened to expand capacity in restaurants, gyms, and offices. If you are coming to Rhode Island from a state with a testing positivity rate of five percent or more, you will be required to self-quarantine for two weeks or provide a negative test taken within the past 72 hours. Rhode Island keeps an updated list of high-risk states on the official webpage. Vaccinated travelers do not need to quarantine.
Gov. Phil Scott has extended the restrictions that limit gatherings to a single household and forces restaurants to close by 10 p.m. As of April 9, it's no longer necessary to quarantine when entering Vermont from out-of-state if you can show a negative test or proof of vaccination.
Most businesses, including restaurants, theatres, gyms, and museums, are operating at 50 percent capacity. Bars are closed. Public beaches are open, but everyone must follow social distancing guidelines. A curfew is in effect across the island from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., which also applies to the common areas of hotels and all businesses must close by 9 p.m.
Anyone planning to travel to Puerto Rico will need to fill out a Travel Declaration Form before they go and upload their PCR test result, which should be taken within 72 hours before their trip. Health screenings will be conducted at the airport and symptomatic travelers will be tested and required to quarantine at their hotel while awaiting results.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Any traveler over the age of five, including Virgin Island residents, will be required to provide a negative test taken within five days through the official online Travel Portal, but there's no requirement to quarantine. Restaurants are open for limited indoor dining, but bars and clubs remain closed.
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The Great State of Alaska. "COVID-19 (Coronavirus Information)."
Arizona Department of Health and Services. "Businesses Dashboard." February 11, 2021.
Office of the Governor Doug Ducey. "As Arizona Hits 3 Million Vaccine Doses Administered, Governor Ducey Announces New Phase Of COVID-19 Mitigation." March 25, 2021.
Official California Government State Website. "Resilience Roadmap."
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Idaho Official Government Website. "Idaho Rebounds: Our Path to Prosperity."
Idaho Office of the Governor. "Idaho Advances to Stage 3 as COVID-19 Case Counts, Hospitalizations Decline." February 2, 2021.
Montana.gov. "Governor Gianforte Lifts Restrictions on Small Businesses With New Directive." January 13, 2021.
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Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. "Governor Sisolak Clears the Way to Reopen Business Capacity to 100 Percent by June 1." April 13, 2021.
New Mexico Department of Health. "State Announces Tiered 'Red to Green' System for N.M. in Next Phase of COVID-19 Response." November 27, 2020.
New Mexico Tourism Department. "New Mexico Travel Advisory."
Office of the Governor Kate Brown. "Guidance."
Washington State's Governors Office. "Inslee Announces Statewide Move to Phase 3 of Recovery plan, Return to Spectator Events and Phase 1B, Tier 2 Vaccine Eligibility." March 11, 2021.
Wyoming Department of Health. "Health Orders Eased as COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts Continue." January 21, 2021.
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Indiana Government. "Gov. Holcomb Announces COVID-19 County Metrics and Requirements." November 13, 2020.
Office of the Governor of Iowa. "Gov. Reynolds Signs New Proclamation Modifying Public Health Measures." December 16, 2020.
Kansas Department of Health. "Travel & Exposure Related Isolation / Quarantine." April 8, 2021.
State of Minnesota. "As Cases Fall and Vaccination Ramps up, Governor Walz Adjusts COVID-19 Mitigation Measures." March 12, 2021.
Show Me Strong Recovery Plan. "Guiding Principles to Missouri's Recovery Plan."
Office of Governor Pete Ricketts. "Gov. Ricketts Announces Changes to Directed Health Measures, Encourages Nebraskans to Avid the "Three C's." October 16, 2020.
Office of Governor Pete Ricketts. "Gov. Ricketts Announces New Directed Health Measures to Take Effect on Saturday." January 29, 2021.
North Dakota State Government. "Burgum Urges Vigilance to Keep COVID-19 Numbers Trending Downwards as Statewide Mask Requirement Expires Monday." January 15, 2021.
North Dakota Office of the Governor. "As Active COVID-19 Cases Continue to Drop, Burgum Adjusts Statewide Risk Level to Low/Green." January 27, 2021.
State of South Dakota. "South Dakota's Back to Normal Plan." April 28, 2020.
Office of the Governor of the State of Alabama. "Governor Ivey Issues New Safer Apart Order. April 7, 2021.
Arkansas Department of Health. "Restaurant Dine-In Options." May 11, 2021.
Office of the Governor John Carney. "Delaware’s Recovery and Reopening."
Delaware.gov. "Governor Carney Updates COVID-19 Restrictions." January 8, 2021.
Washington DC. "Travel Status Update."
State of Florida. "Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida's Recovery."
Georgia Department of Economic Development. "Governor Kemp’s Statewide Executive Order: Guidelines for Businesses."
Commonwealth of Kentucky. "Healthy at Work: Reopening Kentucky."
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Office of the Governor John Bel Edwards. "After Sustained Improvement in Vaccinations and COVID-19-Related Hospitalizations, Gov. Edwards Eases Some COVID-19 Restrictions, Keeps Statewide Mask Mandate." March 30, 2021.
Maryland.gov. "Governor Hogan Announces Lifting of Capacity Limits, Masking and Distancing Protocols Maintained." March 9, 2021.
State of Mississippi Office of the Governor. "Executive Order No. 1549." March 2, 2021.
North Carolina Office of the Governor. "Gov. Cooper Announces North Carolina Will Relax Some COVID-19 Restrictions." March 23, 2021.
Oklahoma Commerce. "Open Up and Recover Safely A Three-phased Approach to Open Oklahoma’s Economy."
Office of the Governor of the State of Oklahoma. "First Amended Executive Order 2021-07." March 12, 2021.
South Carolina Department of Commerce. "COVID-19 Guidance for Non-Essential Businesses."
Governor of South Carolina. "Gov. Henry McMaster Lifts Restaurant Occupancy Limits Statewide." October 2, 2020.
Tennessee State Government. "Reopening Tennessee Responsibly."
Office of the Texas Governor Greg Abbott. "Governor Abbott Lifts Mask Mandate, Opens Texas 100 Percent." March 2, 2021.
Commonwealth of Virginia. "Governor Northam Increases Capacity Limits for Outdoor Sports and Entertainment Venues as COVID-19 Hospitalizations and Infection Rates Continue to Fall, Vaccinations Rise." February 24, 2021.
Office of the Governor of West Virginia. "COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice Provides Reminder That Updated Face Covering Requirement is Now in Effect." November 16, 2020.
Office of the Governor of West Virginia. "COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice Loosens Restrictions on Businesses, Social Gatherings, and Youth Travel Sports." March 5, 2021.
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State of Maine. "Governor Mills Unveils Plan to Protect Public Health, Support Maine's Economy During Upcoming Tourism Season." March 5, 2021.
State of Maine. "Protecting Maine People and Tourist Amidst COVID-19."
Government of Massachusetts. "Baker-Polito Administration Announces Transition to Phase IV of Reopening Plan." March 18, 2021.
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State of New Hampshire. "Latest Safer at Home Reopening Guidance."
Official Site of the State of New Jersey. "Governor Murphy Announces Increased Capacity Limits for Indoor Businesses and Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings." March 11, 2021.
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New York State. "Governor Cuomo Announces Quarantine for Domestic Travel Will No Longer Be Required Starting April 1st." March 11, 2021.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. "Gov. Wolf Revises Mitigation Order on Gatherings and Lifts Out-of-State Travel Restrictions." March 1, 2021.
State of Rhode Island Department of Health. "COVID-19 Travel Information for Residents and Visitors."
Office of Governor Phil Scott. "As COVID-19 Cases Rise, Governor Phil Scott Announces New Mitigation Measures." November 13, 2020.
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USVI Department of Tourism. "U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Travel Advisory." March 17, 2021.
Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands. "Territory Reopens to Leisure Travel Visitors on Saturday." September 18, 2020.