Timeline of the U.S. Reopening: A State-by-State Guide

Daily Life In New York City Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
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Since the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March, 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. And the reopening has followed suit—as early as April, many U.S. states began to reopen although some have since had to pause or reverse their reopening plans. By October, most states have fully reopened with guidelines in place to prevent the virus from spreading.

Due to the varying timelines, many travelers are wondering when it will be safe (and legal) to move around again. And secondary to those concerns, whether attractions and businesses will be open in their intended destinations. Additionally, some states are enforcing travelers arriving from high-risk states and territories to quarantine. These lists are constantly changing as cases rise and ebb across the country and each state has its own rules and protocol.

Use our guide below, broken down by region, to learn more about each state's reopening plan and timeline, as well as what to expect if you plan to visit.

L.A. County Reopens Beaches And Parks Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
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Alaska’s reopening plan is split up into five phases and the state is currently in phases three and four. Under this phase, which began on May 22, the following businesses are now open with capacity limitations and social distancing: gyms, restaurants and bars, museums, libraries, retail, pools and camping facilities, childcare, bowling alleys, organized sports, theaters, and more.

Anyone arriving in Alaska must follow certain safety protocols, such as completing a declaration form, as well as one of the three following options: providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test, being tested on arrival, or self-quarantining for 14 days. It is also possible to be tested once you arrive in Alaska, but you will have to self-quarantine until the results come back negative. Tests are free of charge for Alaska residents, but out-of-state visitors will need to pay $250.


The state’s stay-at-home order expired on May 15, at which point restaurants, theaters, gyms, salons, spas, pools, and retail stores were allowed to open while still practicing social distancing and hygienic measures; though, masks are not required in the state. After a sharp rise in cases, however, the governor issued an order to close these businesses for 30 days and instituted new guidelines for reopening that vary by the type of business and which county the business is in. Arizona saw a sharp increase in positive cases in the summer, likely due to its speedy reopening, but the rate of cases has gone down. On October 1, all counties in the state met the benchmark for reopening gyms, movie theatres, and more.


California issued a statewide stay-at-home order on March 19, one of the earliest states to do so. After the state's initial reopening plan led to a rise in cases over the summer, Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced a new reopening plan on August 28. 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 October 19, 10 counties are in the widespread tier, which means non-essential indoor businesses are closed and eight counties are in the minimal phase which means non-essential indoor businesses are open with modifications. It's worth noting that these restrictions are set by the state, but county officials may impose more restrictions if deemed necessary. Despite being classified as widespread, many businesses such as aquariums, hotels, museums, movie theatres, gyms, salons, restaurants, and others are allowed to open outdoors or with modifications. However, bars that don't serve food, concert venues, tattoo parlors, and theme parks must stay closed.


Colorado is on level three of its "Safer at Home” order statewide. Most businesses are allowed to open with safety measures in place (such as with limited capacity or on an appointment-only basis). In-person dining at restaurants and bars is allowed at 50 percent capacity; pools, playgrounds, and parks are open; and skiing and private campsites can resume operations. In Denver, non-critical businesses such as retail and restaurants are allowed to open at 50 percent capacity.


Hawaii is currently in its phase three of reopening, called "Act With Care (Minor Disruption)," which allows most businesses (excluding large venues, bars, and clubs) to open with safety requirements. Since October 15, travelers from the U.S. have been allowed to enter Hawaii and do not need to quarantine as long as they show a negative test taken within 72 hours of arriving. 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 your flight.


Idaho has a four-stage plan for reopening the state. It entered stage four (the final stage) on June 13, which allows all businesses to open with physical distancing and safety measures in place. Nightclubs and sports arenas were among the last to be allowed to open under this new phase. Travelers arriving in Ada County are encouraged to self-quarantine for 14 days when they arrive.


Montana entered phase two of its reopening plan on June 1. Under this phase, gatherings of 50 or more people are discouraged, and all businesses can open under specific safety guidance—restaurants, bars, casinos, gyms, movie theaters, and more can operate with an increased capacity of 75 percent, up from 50 percent in phase one. Live music venues and bowling alleys can operate as long as physical distancing is possible.


On June 4, Las Vegas casinos reopened for 50 percent capacity. Most Nevada businesses, including bars and museums, are permitted to open in phase two, though clubs, brothels, and adult entertainment businesses are still closed. Sporting events and concerts can take place without an audience. All businesses will have to adhere to strict social distancing measures, and shoppers are encouraged to wear face masks. As of mid-September, Nevada lifted restrictions for bars and they will be allowed to reopen under the statewide standards that limit capacity to 25 percent. On September 30, the limit on public gatherings was increased from 50 people to 250 people or 50 percent occupancy, whichever is less.

New Mexico

Most businesses in New Mexico are allowed to open with certain safety measures, physical distancing, and capacity limitations. Face masks are also still mandated in public places, except when eating, drinking, or exercising. In late August, restaurants are allowed to reopen for indoor dining at 25 percent capacity in addition to allowing for some museums to reopen. Gatherings are restricted to 10 people. Some museums and historical sites have also reopened with capacity limits set at 25 percent. In October, an increase of cases prompted Gov. Michelle Grisham to reimplement new closing times for bars and restaurants, restrict hotel occupancy rates, and limit gatherings to no more than five people.

Unless visitors are coming from a low-risk state or territory like Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, or Washington they will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days or be tested within 72 hours before their arrival.


Oregon’s stay-at-home orders expired on May 15, and all but five counties started the phased reopening plan. Currently, most of the state is in phase two with six counties still in phase one. Phase one allows dine-in restaurants, personal care services, and gyms to open, and local gatherings of less than 25 people are allowed. Phase two allows more businesses to open with safety requirements in place, including pools, movie theaters, bowling alleys, restaurants and bars (allowed open until midnight), and faith-based gatherings. After 21 days, phase one counties that meet certain benchmarks can move on to phase two. Phase three will require a reliable treatment or vaccine.


Gov. Gary R. Herbert never officially issued a stay-at-home order and today most businesses, like restaurants, salons, retail, movie theatres, and more, are open with social distancing measures in place. In October, the state introduced a new system of classifying outbreaks by county, also known as the Transmission Index, which makes mask-wearing mandatory and limits social gatherings to 10 people in counties with a high level of transmission. You can check the status of each county on the official state website.


Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order expired on May 31, Washington’s four-phased reopening “Safe Start” plan was initiated on June 1. Under this plan, each county can “apply to move between the phases or add new business activity” within a modified phase. On October 6, the governor allowed some counties to reopen movie theatres and libraries with capacity limits in place and will allow some group outdoor recreation activities, like races and bike tours, to resume at limited capacity.

As of October 19, all counties are in phase two or three. In phase two, restaurants and retail outlets may open at limited capacity and in phase three, gatherings of up to 50 people and non-essential travel are allowed and museums, theaters, bars, and most other businesses can open, excluding nightclubs and events of 50 people or more.


Although Gov. Mark Gordon did not issue a stay-at-home order, statewide restrictions were previously in place; Governor Gordon has been easing those restrictions since May 1. Gyms, hair salons, bars, restaurants, and movie theaters have been reopening and following certain health and physical distancing protocols. On September 29, the state eased restrictions by allowing restaurants to seat more people without spacing out tables. The latest details on public health orders can be found on the state's official COVID-19 website.

Wisconsin Re-Opens Non-Essential Businesses After Court Overturns Stay-At-Home Order
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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. Currently, the entire state is in stage four, which means state parks, restaurants, and retail stores are open with limited capacity. 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 regions seeing increased transmission rates, indoor bars and restaurants may be closed.

Chicago's Emergency Travel Order, anyone coming from high-risk states will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. The most updated list of states can be found on the Chicago government website. On September 28, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that businesses would be allowed to increase indoor capacity to 40 percent, reopen bars for indoor service, and allow alcohol to be served until 1.a.m. However, a surge of cases in mid-October may prompt Chicago to tighten restrictions in the coming days.


On September 26, Indiana entered the final stage of its five-stage plan. In stage five, there are no more capacity limits but social distancing and mask-wearing will be required. Restaurants and bars can operate at full capacity, but all patrons must still be seated six feet apart from one another. Nightclubs are also open, but all guests must be seated.  Despite a surge of cases in October, Gov. Eric Holcomb insists that Indiana will remain in stage five.


The state never enforced a statewide stay-at-home order and Gov. Kim Reynolds has allowed many businesses across the state’s 99 counties to reopen, including restaurants, malls, and salons. Bars, casinos, and theaters were allowed to reopen after May 27 and mass gatherings of more than 10 people are allowed so long as social distancing rules are enforced. Bars in some counties were closed in August following an increase in cases, but have since been allowed to reopen. On October 2, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that businesses that serve alcohol would be allowed to reopen in Johnson and Story counties.


Kansas’s stay-at-home order expired on May 3, and the state is currently in phase three of reopening, as of June 8. Under this phase, 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 anyone entering the state who attended a mass gathering of 500 people or greater, in addition to anyone traveling from high-risk countries.


Most of Michigan is now in phase four or five of its "Safe Start" plan. Phase four allows bars and restaurants to operate takeout and delivery and retail to operate with safety procedures; phase five allows restaurants and bars to open with limited capacity for dining in. However, after a rise in cases in late July Gov. Gretchen Whitmore ordered bars and restaurants to close for indoor service and put further reopenings on pause. Face masks and social distancing are required wherever possible. Gyms reopened in September with capacity limited to 25 percent and on October 9, movie theatres and bowling alleys were allowed to reopen.

On October 2, the Michigan Supreme Court struck down the governor's emergency powers, but the ruling will not take effect until October 23. However, orders to mandate mask-usage and restrict restaurant capacities are now officially being issued through the Michigan Department of Health.


Minnesota is currently in phase three of its "Stay Safe" plan. Under this phase, restaurants, bars, retail, gyms, entertainment venues, pools, campgrounds, and salons are open with limited capacity or safety guidance. Gatherings of 25 people or less are allowed outdoors and 10 people or less indoors; public events of 250 people are still banned.


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. 


Nebraska started easing restrictions on May 4 and by September 18, all counties in Nebraska are in phase four. Phase four allows bars and restaurants to reopen fully, and gyms, salons, and other businesses can open with higher capacities. Indoor gatherings will be capped at 75 percent capacity and outdoor gatherings will be allowed to take place at full capacity, but social distancing guidelines remain in place. Rising cases in October prompted Gov. Pete Ricketts to impose new rules to limit indoor gatherings to 50 percent and requiring everyone to remain seated when at a bar or restaurant.

North Dakota

While North Dakota did not have an official stay-at-home order, businesses that rely on close-contact interactions, like hair salons, movie theaters, and restaurants, closed their doors to customers. On May 1, all businesses were encouraged to resume operations, provided they adhere to standards outlined in the ND Smart Restart plan. The state's official guidance recommends that capacity limits be reduced for at-risk counties, but does not require them. On October 14, the governor moved 16 counties into the high-risk level.


Nonessential and retail businesses in Ohio started reopening on May 1. Restaurants and bars resumed indoor dining with established safety practices. Personal care services also resumed operation, and most businesses are now open. On September 24, restaurants got the go-ahead to reopen their self-serve food stations. Out of state travelers arriving from the high-risk states of Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nevada, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

South Dakota

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. On April 29, Gov. Noem released a “back-to-normal” plan, with steps and safety procedures that businesses are encouraged to follow. As of October 12, South Dakota's case numbers are still growing following the controversial Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, a gathering of more than 400,000 people held in early August, but there is no expectation that the governor will impose a mask mandate or any further restrictions.


After the state’s Supreme Court overturned Gov. Tony Evers’s “Safer at Home” order on May 13, each jurisdiction is operating by its own set of rules. While some local governments (such as Milwaukee’s) reinstated Governor Evers’s order, there are no restrictions in other parts of the state. As such, bars and restaurants across Wisconsin have reopened and a face mask mandate was issued by the governor on August 1.

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 then knocked down by a judge on October 14 and the state is left without many public restrictions at a time when cases are rising rapidly. The state government has asked that all residents in Wisconsin reconsider all travel, even within the state.

"Non-Essential" Businesses Start Re-Opening In Georgia Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
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The state’s stay-at-home order ended as of April 30, at which time the first reopening phase under the "safer at home" plan began. All businesses have been able to reopen with restrictions and social distancing, including theaters, casinos, and other entertainment venues, which opened on May 22. Alabama also saw a sharp rise in cases since the swift summer reopening and in August, Gov. Kay Ivey extended the mask mandate until November 8.


Businesses that have been allowed to reopen in Arkansas include gyms and fitness studios, places of worship, barbers, salons, spas, restaurants for dining in, casinos, state park cabins, pools, lodging, and bars. As of July 20, a mandatory mask mandate is in effect and capacity limits for dine-in service are set at 66 percent and self-service stations may reopen as long as customers can maintain six feet of distance. Despite a rise of cases in October, the governor has said that rolling back the reopening is not an option.


Delaware has been in phase two since June 15. Almost all businesses can reopen under this phase with safety measures, capacity restrictions, and social distancing. The full list of what's open is available on the state government website under the phase two guidelines.

District of Columbia

Washington, D.C. began phase two of reopening on June 22. Restaurants are open at limited capacity, gyms have reopened with capacity and amenity restrictions, and hotels are open with cleaning and safety procedures in place. Masks are mandatory, gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited, and non-essential travel is discouraged.

Travelers coming from the following high-risk states will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.


Florida’s restrictions started to ease on May 4, one of the earliest states to begin reopening. Currently, the state is in phase three of reopening, which allows restaurants, museums, retail stores, gyms, and libraries to open without capacity limits. Under phase three, theme parks are allowed to return to normal operations with social distancing measures in place. Local governments, especially in large cities like Miami, may enforce further restrictions.


Georgia was one of the first states to reopen on April 27. Currently, most businesses can open for “minimum basic operations” as long as they follow social distancing and sanitation procedures. Gov. Brian Kemp initially opposed a statewide mask mandate but has since allowed cities and counties in Georgia to issue their own mandates. Currently, all retail, restaurants, hair salons, and entertainment venues like movie theatres and bowling alleys are allowed to reopen in Georgia with social distancing in place. Some areas may be taking a slower approach to reopening, such as Atlanta which only moved into the second phase of its five-phase reopening in September.


Kentucky’s “healthy at home” order took effect on March 26, but businesses have been allowed to open in stages. Horse racing, a huge industry in the state, resumed on May 11, without spectators. Other businesses and activities that have been allowed to open include places of worship, retail, bowling alleys, fitness centers, and movie theaters, restaurants (at 50 percent capacity beginning on June 29), personal services, and travel.

Travelers coming from states with a 15 percent infection rate are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. As of October 19, this includes South Dakota, Wisconsin, Idaho, Iowa, Nevada, Wyoming Kansas, Indiana, Utah, and Nebraska.


On July 11, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statewide mask mandate and Lousiana moved into phase three of its reopening plan on September 11. Almost all businesses are allowed to reopen with capacity restrictions and safety procedures. Businesses and activities that remain closed include overnight camps, amusement parks, water parks, and concert halls. Bars were allowed to open in phase three, but only in low-risk areas.


Maryland’s stay-at-home order expired on May 15, as the state transitioned to a “safer at home” public health advisory. In September, Maryland officially moved into phase three of its reopening, which includes the reopening of movie theatres and entertainment venues at 50 percent capacity. Businesses such as retail stores, hair salons, churches, restaurants, and gyms are allowed to open at 50 to 75 percent capacity. Beaches and state parks may reopen at their discretion, and casinos, malls, and theatres can also reopen with safety measures in place.


All businesses in Mississippi were allowed to open on June 1 as long as they adhered to specific safety measures. Following a rise in cases during the summer, Gov. Tate Reeves paused the full reopening to restrict the capacity for bars and restaurants at 5 percent. In September, the governor loosened some restrictions, which will be in effect until November 11, and lifted the statewide mask mandate.

North Carolina

Although the state began reopening in June, rising case numbers prompted Gov. Roy Cooper to pause North Carolina's Safer at Home plan. As of September 30, North Carolina entered phase three of the plan, which eases restrictions on capacity limits at outdoor venues and allows movie theatres, bars, and amusement parks to operate at 30 percent occupancy.


Oklahoma entered phase three of the Open Up and Recover Safely (OURS) three-part plan on June 1. As such, all businesses have been allowed to open, and social distancing is encouraged.

South Carolina

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster lifted the “home or work” order on May 4, although retail stores and beaches didn't reopen until April 20. Since then, 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. Retail capacity restrictions were also lifted, and restaurants are open with 50 percent capacity allowed. On October 2, the governor lifted all capacity limitations on restaurants, which are now allowed to operate at 100 percent. However, face masks and social distancing are still required and alcohol is not allowed to be served past 11 p.m.


In April, Gov. Bill Lee announced the “Tennessee Pledge,” a voluntary reopening plan that includes health and safety guidelines for businesses. Restaurants began to welcome back customers, with policies encouraging staff to wear face coverings and place tables six feet apart. Other non-contact attractions—including amusement parks, water parks, theaters, and museums—have reopened as well. On September 29, the governor lifted more business and gathering size restrictions while extending the state of emergency until October 30. He also empowered local governments to institute their own mask mandates.


After a spike in cases in late June, Texas remains in phase three of its Texans Helping Texans Plan but tightened up on some of the restrictions as cases rose in the summer. Bars remain closed while restaurants, office buildings, gyms, museums, libraries, and retail can operate at 75 percent capacity as of September 21. Face masks are required in all counties with more than 20 cases, which applies to most counties. Starting October 15, bars in counties with low hospitalization rates will be allowed to open at 50 percent capacity however, some counties may choose to keep the rate lower.


All of Virginia is in phase three of its reopening plan, which means that retail, restaurants, bars, hair salons, museums, gyms, and pools are all open at limited capacity. General sanitation guidelines are in place but vary based on the type of establishment. For example, in phase three, sitting at the bar is still prohibited. There are no travel restrictions in place for out-of-state visitors arriving in Virginia, but anyone arriving from a high-risk area is encouraged to self-isolate.

West Virginia

West Virginia's reopening plan is consistently being updated as the rate of new cases in the state bounces up and down. Face masks are mandatory whenever social distancing is not possible and as of October 6, businesses that have reopened include indoor dining at restaurants, retail and malls, outdoor recreation and rentals (e.g. bikes, boats, rafts, etc.), museums, zoos, bars (at 50 percent capacity), bowling alleys, pools, casinos, movie theaters, and campgrounds.

New Jersey Beaches And Boardwalks Start To Reopen Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
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Connecticut entered phase three of its reopening on October 8, which allows restaurants to open at 75 percent capacity indoors (100 percent outdoors) and increases the allowance for indoor gatherings to 50 percent capacity. Museums, bowling alleys, amusement parks, and movie theatres reopened in phase two, but bars and nightclubs are still closed.

Anyone coming to Connecticut from one of the following states and territories must self-quarantine for 14 days: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.


Maine entered stage four of its reopening plan on October 13, which means that the cap on indoor dining will increase to 50 percent or 100 hundred people, whichever is less. Bars will also be allowed to reopen for indoor service beginning November 2, under strict social distancing guidelines. Although it once only applied to coastal counties, the face mask mandate will also be in effect statewide.

Visitors from out of state, except for Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont, must quarantine for 14 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.


In the summer, Massachusetts entered the first step of phase three of the state's plan, which included the reopening of stores, restaurants, hair salons, bowling alleys museums, and outdoor recreation with outdoor gatherings limited to 50 people. However, after a rise in cases, the reopening was put on pause, and bars, venues, stadiums, and convention halls stayed closed. On September 29, Gov. Charlie Baker announced that low-risk counties will be allowed to move to step two of phase three, which means gyms, museums, libraries, and some performing venues can reopen at 50 percent capacity.

A travel order is in effect, so if you are coming into Massachusetts from a state with a higher rate of cases, you must fill out a travel form, provide proof of a negative test, or quarantine for 14 days. Those who don't comply may face a $500 fine.

New Hampshire

Gov. Chris Sununu began easing restrictions across the state on May 11, though a set of universal guidelines remain in place. Retail stores, barbershops, restaurants, hair salons, drive-in movie theaters, and golf courses reopened with restrictions. Amusement parks, movie theaters, and performing arts venues are open. In October, the state announced social distancing guidance for the upcoming ski season, which means the resorts plan to open for winter activities. Travelers coming from non-New England states are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

New Jersey

New Jersey entered phase two of reopening on June 15. As of June 23, businesses open include state parks, golf courses, beaches, outdoor dining, hair salons, and outdoor gatherings are limited to 250 people. Shopping malls, casinos, amusement parks, and other entertainment venues are open with limited capacity. Gyms, movie theatres, and indoor dining at restaurants returned in September, but are limited to 25 percent capacity.

Anyone arriving from the following states is asked to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days if they spent more than 24 hours in the following places: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

New York

In March, New York City became the epicenter of the global pandemic and was the last region in the state to enter phase four of reopening, but with additional limits on gatherings and restaurants. Statewide, phase four allows for the reopening of low-risk outdoor and indoor entertainment, malls, gyms, and restaurants with social distancing measures in place. On October 23, movie theaters outside of New York City and in counties with low positivity rates will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity with a maximum of 50 people.

The rules are more strict in densely populated New York City and indoor dining only just returned to the city on September 30, with the limit set at 25 percent capacity. Gyms and bowling alleys are also reopening slowly, but movie theatres, casinos, and amusement parks must remain closed in phase four. Shortly after these reopenings, cases began to rise and select zones with high case rates were ordered to shut down businesses. These shutdowns are hyper-localized and constantly changing, so check the city's official COVID-19 Zone Finder website for the latest updates.

Anyone arriving in New York from the following states and territories will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days and should fill out the Health Department traveler form online: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.


Gov. Tom Wolf enacted a three-phase plan to reopen Pennsylvania, and all counties are in the green phase, which means bars, outdoor and indoor restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, and more are allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity. As of September 21, indoor dining was increased to 50 percent capacity. Beginning on October 9, concert halls, stadiums, and other public venues are allowed to reopen at limited capacity.

Travelers returning from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming are asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s stay-at-home order expired on May 8, and the Reopening Rhode Island plan began May 9. The state is currently in phase three of reopening with indoor gatherings restricted to no more than 15 people. Restaurants are allowed to open at 66 percent capacity and bars may open for seated service only. In early October, Gov. Gina Raimondo stated that any further relaxation of restrictions is unlikely until there is a vaccine.

If you are coming to Rhode Island from a state with a testing positivity rate of 5 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 has identified the following states and territories as high-risk: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.


Businesses in Vermont currently open include libraries, galleries, museums, and theaters at 50 percent capacity, outdoor recreation with gathering limits and safety measures, restaurants and bars at 50 percent capacity, and lodging at limited capacity. As of September 18, capacity limits on hotels were lifted and bars will be allowed to use bar seating so long as patrons are six feet apart. Unless coming from one of the designated green counties in other northeastern states in their own personal vehicle, out-of-state visitors must quarantine for 14 days or 7 days with a negative test. Anyone who arrives by public transportation (plane, train, or bus) must also quarantine no matter where they're coming from.

Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez imposed curfew to contain the coronavirus spread
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Puerto Rico

Most restrictions in Puerto Rico were lifted or relaxed in mid-June, but then movie theatres, casinos, gyms, and bars were closed again on July 17 after a rise in cases. As of September 12, most businesses, including restaurants and museums, were allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity, but hotel pools will be limited to 25 percent capacity. Public beaches are open, but masks must be worn when not in the water and everyone must follow social distancing guidelines.

Anyone planning travel to Puerto Rico will need to fill out a Travel Declaration Form before they go and to upload a negative test, taken within 72 hours, upon arrival. 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

After originally reopening for tourism in the summer and then closing again following a spike in cases, the U.S. Virgin Islands moved back to the "Stay at Home" phase of its five-tiered reopening plan. Later on September 19, the territory reopened again allowing hotels to start accepting reservations. Any traveler over the age of five will be required to provide a negative test taken within five days (or a positive antibody test), but there's no requirement to quarantine. Restaurants are open for limited indoor dining, but bars and clubs remained closed. However, because the territory has already been forced to close once, the tourism commissioner has since called for "strict compliance" with the new guidelines.

Article Sources
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  15. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. "Gov. Sisolak Signs Emergency Directive 033, adjusting Statewide Standards on Gatherings and Other Areas." September 30, 2020.

  16. KOB 4. "New Public Health Order Eases Restrictions on Gatherings, Indoor Dining." August 29, 2020.

  17. Santa Fe New Mexican. "New Mexico Reopening State Museums, Historic Sites." September 24, 2020.

  18. Office of the Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. "Gov. Announces Renewed Public Health Regulations, Reiterates That More Will Come if Alarming Rise of COVID-19 is Not Slowed." October 13, 2020.

  19. New Mexico Tourism Department. "New Mexico Travel Advisory." October 19, 2020.

  20. State of Oregon. "Building a Safe & Strong Oregon."

  21. Governor Gary R. Herbert. "Governor Announces Utah's COVID-19 Transmission Index." October 14, 2020.

  22. Washington State Coronavirus Response. “Safe Start – Washington’s Phased Reopening.” May 29, 2020.

  23. Washington Governor Jay Inslee. "Inslee Announces Updates to Safe Start Reopening Plan." October 6, 2020.

  24. Washington State Coronavirus Response. "What's Open in Each Phase?" June 18, 2020

  25. State of Wyoming. "Governor Gordon Authorizes Re-opening of Gyms, Personal Care Services Under New Public Health Orders." April 28, 2020

  26. Casper Star Tribune. "As Coronavirus Cases surge, Wyoming Loosens Restaurant Restrictions, Extends Health Orders." September 29, 2020.

  27. State of Illinois Coronavirus Response. "An Introduction."

  28. Alex Keef. "Gov. JB Pritzker Reworks Illinois’ COVID-19 Plan, And Chicago’s On Its Own." July 15, 2020.

  29. Chicago Office of the Mayor. "Mayor Lightfoot Announces Easing of Phase Four Guidelines for Chicago Businesses." September 28, 2020.

  30. Chicago Tribune. "Coronavirus in Illinois Updates." October 19, 2020.

  31. Indiana Government. "Stage 5 What's Opened, What's Closed." September 24, 2020.

  32. Indy Star. "Gov. Holcomb Says Indiana Will Stay at Stage 5 of Reopening Plan." October 14, 2020.

  33. Iowa News Now. "Gov. Reynolds allows bars to reopen in four counties starting Wednesday." September 15, 2020.

  34. Des Moines Register. "Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds reopening bars, breweries, wineries in Johnson, Story Counties." October 3, 2020.

  35. State of Kansas. "Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas." May 26, 2020

  36. The Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "MI Safe Start Plan: A Plan to Re-Engage Michigan's Economy." May 7, 2020

  37. The Detroit News. "Michigan Movie Theaters, Bowling Alleys, Venues Can Reopen Oct. 9; Gathering Limits Eased." September 25, 2020.

  38. Detroit Free Press. "Michigan Health Department Issues Sweeping COVID-19 Regulations That Mirror Whitmer Orders." October 9, 2020.

  39. Minnesota Department of Health. "Minnesota's Stay Safe Plan."

  40. Show Me Strong Recovery Plan. "Guiding Principles to Missouri's Recovery Plan."

  41. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. "COVID-19 Directed Health Measures (DHM)." September 18, 2020.

  42. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. "Outline of Changes to Upcoming DHMs Phase IV." July 16, 2020.

  43. Office of Governor Pete Ricketts. "Gov. Ricketts Announces Changes to Directed Health Measures, Encourages Nebraskans to Avid the "Three C's." October 16, 2020.

  44. Official Portal for North Dakota State Government. "ND Smart Restart Protocols."

  45. KFGO. "Covid Threat Level to Rise in Some North Dakota Counties, Drop in Others." September 3, 2020.

  46. AP News. "Burgum Raises Coronavirus Risk Levels for Several Counties." October 14, 2020.

  47. Ohio Department of Health. "Director's Stay Safe Ohio Order."

  48. Ohio Department of Health. "Continued Business Closures."June 5, 2020

  49. WKYC Studios. "Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Signs Order Reopening Self-Serve Food Stations." September 23, 2020.

  50. Ohio Department of Health. "COVID-19 Travel Advisory." October 2, 2020.

  51. State of South Dakota. "South Dakota's Back to Normal Plan." April 28, 2020

  52. Argus Leader. "Noem, TenHaken Have No Plans to Add Restrictions as COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations Rise." September 24, 2020.

  53. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Judge Knocks Down Tony Evers' Order Limiting Capacity, Public Gatherings for Now." October 14, 2020.

  54. Wisconsin Department of Health Services. "COVID-19 Travel." September 30, 2020.

  55. Montgomery Advertiser. "Gov. Kay Ivey Extends Mask Order to November." September 30, 2020.

  56. Arkansas Department of Health. "Directive on Resuming Restaurant Dine-in Operations." September 9, 2020.

  57. KY3. "Arkansas Governor: Rolling Back Reopening Not an Option." October 13, 2020.

  58. Office of the Governor John Carney. "Delaware’s Recovery and Reopening."

  59. Government of the District of Columbia. "Phase Two." October 12, 2020.

  60. Washington DC. "Travel Status Update." October 19, 2020.

  61. State of Florida. "Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida's Recovery."

  62. Bay News 9. "DeSantis's Phase 3 Order Would Allow Florida Theme Parks to Operate at Normal Capacity." September 27, 2020.

  63. Georgia Department of Economic Development. "Governor Kemp’s Statewide Executive Order: Guidelines for Businesses."

  64. City of Atlanta, GA. "Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Announces City to Move Back to Phase II of Reopening Plan." September 11, 2020.

  65. Commonwealth of Kentucky. "Healthy at Work: Reopening Kentucky."

  66. Cabinet for Public Health Services. "Travel Advisory." October 19, 2020.

  67. Office of the Governor. "Gov. Edwards Outlines COVID-19 Restrictions as Louisiana Moves Cautiously into Phase 3 Until October 9." September 11, 2020.

  68. Louisiana Office of the Governor. "Can This Business Open?" July 11, 2020.

  69. Delmarva Now. "As Maryland enters stage 3 of COVID-19 reopening, movie theaters, live venues can open." September 2, 2020.

  70. The Office of Governor Larry Hogan. "Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery."

  71. Office of Governor Tate Reeves. "Governor Reeves Issues New Comprehensive Safe Recovery Order in Ongoing Effort to Flatten the Curve." September 30, 2020.

  72. Governor of North Carolina. "Governor Cooper Moves North Carolina to Phase 3 With Stable Numbers." September 30, 2020.

  73. Oklahoma Commerce. "Open Up and Recover Safely A Three-phased Approach to Open Oklahoma’s Economy."

  74. South Carolina Department of Commerce. "COVID-19 Guidance for Non-Essential Businesses."

  75. Governor of South Carolina. "Gov. Henry McMaster Lifts Restaurant Occupancy Limits Statewide." October 2, 2020.

  76. Tennessee State Government. "Reopening Tennessee Responsibly."

  77. Tennessee Office of the Governor. "State of Emergency Remains Through October." September 29, 2020.

  78. Office of the Texas Governor. "Governor Abbott Expands Capacity For Certain Services in Texas, Announces Guidance For Nursing Home, Long-Term Care Visitations." September 17, 2020.

  79. The Texas Tribune. "Gov. Greg Abbott Orders Texans in Most Counties to Wear Masks in Public." July 20, 2020.

  80. Office of the Texas Governor. "Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order To Open Bars In Qualifying Counties." October 7, 2020.

  81. State of Virginia. "Safer at Home: Phase Three."

  82. Virginia Department of Health. "U.S. Travelers."

  83. West Virginia Office of the Governor. "West Virginia Strong — The Comeback."

  84. Connecticut's Official State Website. "Phase 3 Reopen Rules by Sector (for October 8 opening)." October 12, 2020.

  85. Connecticut's Official State Website. "Travel Advisory for Visitors to Connecticut." October 13, 2020.

  86. Office of Governor Janet T. Mills. "Mills Administration Announces Maine to Enter Stage 4 of Reopening." October 6, 2020.

  87. State of Maine. "Protecting Maine People and Tourist Amidst COVID-19." October 12, 2020.

  88. Commonwealth of Massachusetts. "Baker-Polito Administration Announces Transition to Step II of Phase III for Lower Risk Communities Effective October 5th" September 29, 2020.

  89. Commonwealth of Massachusetts. "COVID-19 Travel Order." October 17, 2020.

  90. State of New Hampshire. "Stay at Home 2.0."

  91. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu. "Ski Area Guidance." October 2, 2020.

  92. State of New Hampshire. "Out-of-state Visitors."

  93. Official Site of the State of New Jersey. "Can retail stores and malls reopen? What are the social distancing requirements at retail businesses for customers, employees, and business owners?" September 29, 2020.

  94. NJ.com "When Could N.J. Increase Indoor Capacity Limits at Gyms, Restaurants? We Need Sustained Lack of Outbreaks,' Murphy Says." September 24, 2020.

  95. New Jersey Government. "Which states are on the travel advisory list? Are there travel restrictions to or from New Jersey?" October 13, 2020.

  96. New York State. "Phase Four Industries."

  97. New York State. "Governor Cuomo Announces Most Movie Theaters Outside of New York City Can Reopen on October 23." October 17, 2020.

  98. New York State. "Governor Cuomo Announces Indoor Dining in New York City Allowed to Resume Beginning September 30 with 25 Percent Occupancy." September 9, 2020.

  99. New York State. "COVID-19 Travel Advisory." October 13, 2020.

  100. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. "Responding to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania." May 15, 2020

  101. Governor Tom Wolf. "Governor Wolf Announces Restaurants May Increase Indoor Occupancy to 50 Percent Starting September 21." September 8, 2020.

  102. Pennsylvania Pressroom. "Gov. Wolf, Sec. Levine Amend Guidelines On Safe Gathering Limits." October 6, 2020.

  103. Pennsylvania Department of Health. "COVID-19 Information for Travelers." October 16, 2020.

  104. Rhode Island State. "Reopening Rhode Island."

  105. State of Rhode Island. "Reopening Rhode Island: Highlights of COVID-19 Phase III Guidance and Executive Orders." August 25, 2020.

  106. WRPI. "Raimondo: RI Wil Stay in Phase 3 Until Vaccine Arrives." October 8, 2020.

  107. State of Rhode Island Department of Health. "COVID-19 Travel Information for Residents and Visitors." October 19, 2020.

  108. State of Vermont Office of Governor Phil Scott. "Governor Phil Scott Updates Bar Seating Guidance, Lifts Lodging Capacity Restrictions With Travel and Health Protocols." September 18, 2020.

  109. State of Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. "Cross State Travel Information." October 13, 2020.

  110. Discover Puerto Rico. "Travel Guidelines." October 19, 2020.

  111. USVI Department of Tourism. "American Airlines is Increasing Service to the U.S. Virgin Islands." October 9, 2020.

  112. Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands. "Territory Reopens to Leisure Travel Visitors on Saturday." September 18, 2020.

  113. USVI Department of Tourism. "USVI Tourism Commissioner Urges Strict Compliance With COVID-19 Protocols." September 24, 2020.

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