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 late April, some U.S. states began to reopen, whereas others still have stay-at-home orders in place.

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.

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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West

Alaska

Alaska’s reopening plan is split up into five phases, and the state is currently in phase two. Under this phase, which began on May 8, 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—you can see the complete government plan here

Arizona

The state’s stay-at-home order expired on May 15 and is now in phase one of reopening. Restaurants, theaters, gyms, salons and barbers, spas, pools, and retail stores are allowed to open while still practicing social distancing and hygienic measures. Professional sports teams could also start back up again with no spectators.

California

California issued a statewide stay-at-home order on March 19, one of the earliest states to do so. On May 8, that order was altered to allow some businesses and services to open. Those include retail and malls with curbside pickup or delivery, outdoor museums, and services such as pet grooming, plumbing, and car washes. Ones that remain closed as of May 18 include restaurants for dining, bars, clubs, entertainment venues, gyms and fitness studios, and salons (See the full list of places open and closed here.) Beaches are allowed for active recreation, aka no stationary gathering or sunbathing. Some regions are opening more cautiously, however. The Bay Area will begin to allow retail stores to open for curbside business, for example, but Los Angeles County remains under a stay-at-home order.

Colorado

Colorado is currently under a “safer at home” order statewide, meaning that some restrictions have been eased. Currently, salons, dry cleaners, and other personal services are allowed to open, most with social distancing mandates in place. Most other businesses must remain closed, and you can see a full list here. On May 25, a decision will be made regarding whether restaurants could reopen with dining service. Some counties and cities are following different, more cautious timelines. 

Hawaii

Hawaii is currently under phase one of a “safer at home” plan through May 31. While some restrictions vary by county, statewide this means that services such as car washes and auto dealerships, retail and repair, pet grooming, and shopping malls can open for business. Surfing and swimming are allowed, and beaches are open for exercise only. The state is strongly asking that tourists stay away so that the state can continue to flatten the curve, but all arrivals into the state (both out-of-state visitors and returning residents) will require a 14-day self-quarantine (or face a fine or jail time) .

Idaho

Idaho has a four-stage plan for reopening the state. It entered stage two on May 16, which allows restaurants, gyms and fitness centers, hair salons to open while still complying with social distancing and sanitation requirements. Bars, nightclubs, theaters, and sports arenas remain closed. 

Montana

As part of Montana’s stay-at-home regulations issued on March 30, travelers arriving in Montana from another state or country are directed to undergo a 14-day self quarantine. The state also advises travelers entering through an airport or train station to be prepared for temperature checks and other health-related screenings. Restaurants, bars, and casinos reopened on May 4 with limited capacity; gyms, pools, spas, and similar establishments reopened at half-capacity on May 15. 

Nevada

Nevada started reopening on May 9. Businesses that can reopen in some capacity include restaurants; bars, pubs, and breweries that have dining rooms; outdoor malls; barbershops; nail and hair salons; cannabis dispensaries; car and recreational vehicle dealerships; and retail business. All businesses will have to adhere to strict social distancing measures, and shoppers are encouraged to wear face masks. While casino restaurants are included in phase one, gaming floors are not.

New Mexico

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham recently modified the state’s emergency health order, relaxing some restrictions; the new order will go through May 31. (Face masks are still mandated in public places.) Retailers of all sizes, non-essential businesses (excluding close-contact businesses), and houses of worship can operate at 25 percent capacity. Out-of-state visitors are required to self-quarantine for 14 days and are barred from vacation rentals.

Oregon

Oregon’s stay-at-home orders expired May 15, and all but five counties started the phased reopening plan. The first wave of reopening included dine-in restaurants, personal care services, and gyms. Local gatherings of less than 25 people are now allowed. After 21 days, counties that meet certain benchmarks can start the next phase of reopening.

Utah

While Gov. Gary R. Herbert did not issue a stay-at-home order, restrictions on certain businesses were put in place in March. On May 1, restaurants, gyms, and hair salons could reopen with certain health and safety procedures. All of Utah’s state parks have reopened, but visitor centers, campgrounds, and playgrounds remain closed. Some of Utah’s national parks—including Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park—have welcomed back visitors; Arches and Canyonlands are closed, though they are slated to reopen on May 29. 

Washington

Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order is in effect until May 31, although some of the state’s counties have begun phase two of his “Safe Start” plan for reopening. Many state parks have reopened for day-use only, while restaurants, hair salons, and retail stores in eligible counties have been able to open up at 50 percent capacity. 

Wyoming

Although Gov. Mark Gordon did not issue a stay-at-home order, statewide restrictions were previously in place; Governor Gordon has begun easing these restrictions since May 1. Gyms, hair salons, bars, restaurants, and movie theaters have begun to reopen, provided that they follow certain health and physical distancing protocols. Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are reopening in phases.

Wisconsin Re-Opens Non-Essential Businesses After Court Overturns Stay-At-Home Order
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Midwest

Illinois

Illinois has a five-stage plan to reopen, and the four regions within the state can progress through those stages as possible (independent of the others). Here’s a detailed breakdown of the stages. Currently, the state is in stage two; right now, certain outdoor activities (golfing, fishing, and boating) are available, and restaurants and retail stores are open for pickup and delivery.

Indiana

Indiana’s stay-at-home order expired on May 4, but the state is still reopening in phases. Local non-essential travel is not restricted and while many businesses like hair salons, spas, and restaurants (at 50 percent capacity) have reopened, cultural destinations and tourist attractions, such as zoos, bowling alleys, movie theaters, and fairs still remain closed. Facial coverings and social distancing are encouraged.

Iowa

Businesses are reopening in Iowa, as the state approaches 15,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 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 must remain closed through May 27, according to the Des Moines Register.

Kansas

Kansas’s stay-at-home order expired on May 3. Still, Gov. Laura Kelly has slowed the state’s reopening, requiring businesses like bars and bowling alleys to remain closed at least through the end of May. Other restrictions, like a limit on the size of public gatherings and limits on summer camps, fairs, and festivals will stay in place through mid-June. 

Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will allow some Michigan businesses to reopen as early as May 22 in less-affected areas, such the Upper Peninsula and an additional 17 counties in the northern Lower Peninsula, including Traverse City. Bars and restaurants will operate at 50 percent capacity and servers are required to wear face coverings. Many other businesses in the region, such as hair salons, gyms, movie theaters, and fitness centers will remain closed. In late April, the governor lifted restrictions on many outdoor activities, including motorized boating and golf. She also said that Michigan residents with in-state vacation homes could travel between them. Whitmer’s conservative reopening policies have drawn ire from critics, some of whom have protested at the state’s capitol building. 

Minnesota

Minnesota’s stay-at-home order expired on May 17. Still, residents are encouraged to wear face coverings and stay home, including avoiding unnecessary travel. Retail and some other non-essential businesses were allowed to open beginning on May 4, but restaurants, bars, salons, and gyms are still closed. Unlike many other states, outdoor activities in Minnesota have always been unrestricted, including hiking, fishing, golfing, boating, and hunting. 

Missouri

Missouri entered the first phase of its "Show Me Strong Recovery" plan on May 4. The first phase lasts through May 31. Many of Missouri’s state parks and historic sites have remained open and campgrounds began a phased re-opening on May 18. The state has issued no limit on the size of gatherings, but social distancing is still encouraged. 

Nebraska

Nebraska started easing restrictions on May 4. The new measures allow the reopening of dine-in restaurants at 50 percent capacity along with beauty and nail salons, barbershops, massage parlors, and tattoo shops, as long as social distancing measures are enforced. Bars, theaters, movie theaters, and clubs will remain closed through May 31. Anyone traveling to Nebraska, including state residents, should self-quarantine for 14 days. This doesn’t apply to essential workers traveling to the state. 

North Dakota

While North Dakota did not have an official stay-at-home order, businesses that involved close contact, like hair salons, movie theaters, and restaurants, closed their doors to customers. On May 1 all businesses resumed operation, provided they adhere to standards outlined in the ND Smart Restart plan. 

Ohio

Ohio’s stay-at-home order started March 23 and is set to end May 29. Nonessential and retail businesses, however, started reopening May 1. Restaurants and bars resumed outside service May 15, and indoor dining can reopen May 21 as long as the business follows established safety practices. Personal care services also resumed operation May 15. Certain campgrounds will open May 21; audience-free horse racing will open May 22; gyms, sports leagues, and public pools will begin operation May 26, according to an update from Gov. Mike DeWine.

South Dakota

While South Dakota Governor 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. Others have reopened, including a handful of casinos in Deadwood. On April 29, Gov. Noem released a “back-to-normal” plan, which will initiate once the state has met certain criteria (e.g. a “downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses reported within the last 14-day period”). 

Wisconsin

After the state’s Supreme Court overturned Gov. Tony Evers’ “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’ order, there are no restrictions in other parts of the state. As such, bars and restaurants across Wisconsin have reopened, and some resorts in the Wisconsin Dells are planning to reopen as soon as May 26. 

Jessica McGowan / Stringer / Getty Images 

South

Alabama

The state’s stay-at-home order ended as of April 30, at which time the first reopening phase began. Under that “safer at home” plan, originally slated for May 1 to May 15, residents were encouraged to continue to remain home unless they needed to go out for essential reasons. But certain businesses have been able to reopen, including retail stores at 50 percent capacity; beaches with social distancing; and restaurants, bars, gyms, and salons with social distancing. Other entertainment establishments, such as theaters, bowling alleys, and nightclubs remain closed.

Arkansas

Businesses that have been allowed to reopen include gyms and fitness studios, places of worship, barbers, salons, spas, restaurants for dining in, casinos, and state park cabins. and lodging. On May 18, there will be an update about the status of bars and clubs reopening, and a decision about summer camps will made made after that. You can see the full timeline of recovery here.

Delaware

Delaware remains officially shut down through June 1 but has loosened some restrictions leading up to that date. On May 8, certain retail and personal services were allowed to open, including but not limited to clothing and department stores, bookstores, and hair salons. Golf courses are open with a limit of one driver per cart, and drive-in movies are allowed with social distancing. Starting June 1 with the first phase of reopening, restaurants can open with reservations only while bars stay closed, and places of worship will open with a limit of 10 people at a time. Out-of-state visitors to Delaware must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or face criminal charges.

District of Columbia

According to metrics set by Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, Washington, D.C. is close to reopening though the district’s stay-at-home order is in place until June 8. Mayor Bowser has not made any announcements on when the phased reopening will begin, but approved educational and academic retail stores (such as bookstores and toy stores) can resume curbside pick up on May 22.

Florida

Florida’s restrictions started to ease on May 4. Currently, the state is transitioning into a full phase one of reopening that began May 18, which means that restaurants, museums, retail stores, gyms, and libraries can open at 50 percent capacity. Salons and barber shops can open with safety measures in place, and professional sports teams can resume training and games. Individual counties can request approval to open vacation rentals.

Georgia

Georgia was one of the first states to reopen on April 27. Currently, most businesses are able to open for “minimum basic operations” as long as they follow social distancing and sanitation procedures through at least May 31, 2020. Businesses not allowed open yet include bars, nightclubs, performance venues, and amusement parks. 

Kentucky

Kentucky’s “healthy at home” order took effect on March 26. Gov. Andy Beshear has allowed houses of worship, manufacturing, and personal care businesses to reopen, but retail and food and beverage remain closed through at least May 20. Horse racing, a huge industry in the state, resumed on May 11, without spectators. The governor plans to allow movie theaters, public pools, campgrounds, and other recreational attractions to reopen later in the summer.

Louisiana

Many Louisiana businesses, including restaurants, malls, movie theaters, and tourist attractions like aquariums and zoos were allowed to reopen on May 15 at 25 percent capacity. Spas, amusement parks, bowling alleys, and playgrounds are among the businesses that remain closed for now. 

Maryland

Maryland’s stay-at-home order expired on May 15, as the state transitioned to a “safer at home” public health advisory. Gov. Larry Hogan advised Marylanders to continue working from home where possible, wear facial coverings, and avoid gathers of 10 or more people. Businesses such as retail stores, hair salons, churches, and are allowed to open at 50 percent capacity. Many low-risk outdoor activities, such as golf, fishing, camping, and boating are OK and beaches and state parks may reopen at their discretion. 

Mississippi

Mississippi’s stay-at-home order expired on April 27, allowing for retail stores and other businesses in the state to reopen. Restaurants allowed a limited number of customers to dine-in on May 7, and recreational destinations like state parks and gyms remain open. Still, casinos are closed and Gov. Tate Reeves has held off on additional reopenings after the number of confirmed cases in the state has spiked.

North Carolina

North Carolina began reopening on May 8. Retailers never completely closed but capacity was increased to 50 percent, people can leave home for nonessential reasons, small outdoor gatherings can resume, and childcare services for working parents are available. The phase one executive order will last until May 22, at which point phase two can begin if there is progress.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma entered phase two of the Open Up and Recover Safely (OURS) plan on May 15. As such, bars reopened with reduced occupancy, organized sports can resume along with weddings and funerals. Personal care businesses and state parks have been open since April 24. Restaurants, sporting venues, places of worship, movie theaters, gyms, and tattoo parlors reopened May 1.

South Carolina

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster lifted the “home or work” order on May 4, though retail stores and beaches reopened on April 20. Restaurants, too, are back open for business, with the maximum capacity set at 50 percent and a mandate that customers must sit 6 feet apart. “Close contact” businesses (e.g. nail salons, hair salons, tattoo parlors, yoga studios, commercial gyms) re-opened on May 18. All businesses are required to stick to health and safety measures. 

Tennessee

On April 24, Gov. Bill Lee announced the “Tennessee Pledge,” a voluntary reopening plan that includes healthy and safety guidelines for businesses in 89 out of 95 counties. Restaurants have already begun to welcome back customers, with policies encouraging staff to wear face coverings and place tables 6 feet apart. Capacity is limited to 50 percent, though that restriction will be lifted on May 22. Other non-contact attractions scheduled to reopen on May 22 include amusement parks, water parks, theaters, and museums. Groups of 10 or more people are prohibited. All Tennessee State Parks are open to the public, though the parks’ public swimming pools are closed for the 2020 season. Larger counties will resume on their own timeline. Nashville, for instance, has begun phased reopening, with restaurants and retailers opening at 50 percent capacity as of May 11. Other attractions, like the Nashville Zoo, will open during phase three. 

Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott’s stay-at-home order expired on April 30, and restaurants, malls, retail stores, and churches were among some of the first establishments to open back up, with limited capacity and physical distancing mandated. Texas State Parks are allowing overnight camping under certain conditions, but are currently not accepting new reservations. Bars, tattoo studios, bowling alleys ,and amusement parks remain closed until May 22. Travelers flying to Texas through an airport in New York; New Jersey; Connecticut; California; Washington; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; or Detroit, Michigan are subject to a 14-day self-quarantine. 

Virginia

With Gov. Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home order scheduled to expire on June 10, most of the state is currently in phase one of reopening. Businesses like restaurants, retail stores, and hair salons must operate at 50 capacity and follow certain physical distancing and safety guidelines. Campgrounds are open as well, provided that lots are kept 20 feet apart and groups are capped at 10. Virginia State Parks are open for day-use—with overnight camping available on May 21—and the parks’ beaches are only to be used for exercising and fishing.

West Virginia

Gov. Jim Justice has been issuing new phases of “The Comeback” plan on a weekly basis. As of now, restaurants may serve customers in outdoor spaces, and West Virginia State Parks are open for day-use activities such as hiking and fishing. Starting May 21, indoor dining at 50 percent capacity is permitted, and state park campgrounds will be open to West Virginia residents. Other businesses that will reopen on May 21 include indoor malls; large, specialty retail stores; whitewater and ziplining businesses; and outdoor recreation rentals. On May 26, indoor and outdoor bars; and museums and visitor centers will reopen. 

New Jersey Beaches And Boardwalks Start To Reopen Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
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Northeast

Connecticut

Connecticut’s stay-at-home order is in effect until May 20. Currently, only essential businesses and services are open with the potential to start back up on May 20. On that date, beginning the first phase of reopening, certain businesses could be allowed to start back up, including restaurants, salons and barbershops, retail, outdoor museums, zoos, theaters and gyms. Summer camps will be allowed to open starting on June 29. Any travelers coming to Connecticut are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Maine

Maine’s stay-at-home order is in effect through May 31 in most areas, but some things are slowly reopening. On May 1, drive-in movie theaters and outdoor activities like hunting and fishing were allowed again. Most state parks also reopened. The state plans to open additional recreational facilities in phases, with lodging, campgrounds, and restaurants opening June 1, and hotels, boat charters, and bars opening on July 1. People entering or returning to Maine are required to self-quarantine for 14 days, a restriction that Gov. Janet Mills has said will remain in place through at least August. 

Massachusetts

Gov. Charlie Baker introduced a four-phase reopening plan that allows beaches, parks, limited personal services, and outdoor adventure activities to begin on May 25. Business and recreational travel is still strongly discouraged and visitors to the state are urged to self-quarantine for two weeks. As of May 18, lodging in the state is restricted to essential workers, but is set to re-open as part of phase two.

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, hair salons, drive-in movie theaters, and golf courses reopened with restrictions. Restaurants with outdoor seating can host guests as of May 18. Customers are also asked to wear face coverings when possible. Travel to the state is discouraged, but if the trip is necessary, visitors should self-quarantine for 14 days. 

New Jersey

Retail curbside pickup, and car gatherings resumed on May 18 and must continue to follow social distancing rules. Curbside pickup is now available at shopping malls (in the parking lot). State parks and forests reopened May 2, fishing boat charters and watercraft rentals resumed May 17, beaches will reopen May 22, outdoor recreation like tennis clubs and golf ranges will reopen May 22, and select businesses are now allowed to sell alcoholic drinks for takeout and delivery

New York

One of the hardest-hit states, New York’s shelter in place order, NY on Pause, began on March 22. Five regions met the required seven metrics to reopen, and did so on May 15; stay-at-home orders were extended through June 13 for the rest of the state, including New York City and Long Island. A sixth region, including Buffalo, reopened May 19 and a seventh is close to opening. Once a region meets all seven metrics, it can reopen. Phase one allows select retail businesses to resume curbside pickup. Renting/leasing, and other professional services are included in phase two. Restaurants and other food services can reopen to diners in phase three, and entertainment businesses will be closed until Phase 4. Each phase will last at least two weeks. Beaches across the state, excluding New York City, will open for Memorial Day with restrictions. Horse racing tracks are set to reopen June 1, without spectators.

Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Wolf enacted a three-phase plan to reopen Pennsylvania and as May 19, 37 counties are in the yellow phase with 12 more starting the yellow phase on May 22. The remaining 18 counties, mostly in the eastern part of the state, remain in the red phase. Those counties are under a stay-at-home order until June 4. Yellow-phase counties can resume in-store retail services (though curbside pick-up is preferred) as well as child-care services. Non-essential businesses can reopen with restrictions in place. Travelers returning to Pennsylvania from New York, New Jersey, or another state with community transmission of the virus are asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s stay-at-home order expired May 8, and the Reopening Rhode Island plan began May 9. Reopened businesses include essential retail, non-essential retail with capacity limits, offices, manufacturing, and childcare facilities with limits. Restaurants opened for pickup, delivery, and drive-thru services. Close-contact businesses like hair salons and barbershops will remain closed until June at the earliest, according to the CT Mirror.

Vermont

Gov. Phil Scott extended Vermont’s state of emergency (which first expired on May 15) to June 15. Retail businesses started reopening on May 18, provided that they follow social distancing guidelines and staff wear face coverings. Lodging facilities—including hotels, B&Bs, Airbnbs, and campgrounds—are scheduled to reopen on May 22, with capacity placed at 25 percent. Restaurants, hair salons, and nail salons remain closed. Out-of-state visitors must quarantine for 14 days.

Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez imposed curfew to contain the coronavirus spread
Jose Jimenez / Getty Images

Territories

Puerto Rico

The governor of Puerto Rico, Wanda Vazquez Garced, has issued a “stay-at-home” order, in effect until May 25. A curfew is enforced from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., and beaches, national parks, bars, theaters, and gyms are currently closed. Supermarkets, pharmacies, and restaurants (open for pick-up and delivery only) are open until 8 p.m, though restaurants will deliver through 10 p.m., and supermarkets are closed on Sundays. Customers must wear face masks and maintain a 6-foot distance. Taxis are operating between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. All travelers to Puerto Rico must self-quarantine for 14 days. 

US Virgin Islands

The Territory’s beaches, as well as the Virgin Islands National Park, have been open as of April 20. Gyms, golf courses, bowling alleys, and movie theaters have also reopened, while hair salons and massage parlors are open by appointment only. Restaurants are open for pick-up, though bars are still closed. Businesses must adhere to health and safety measures; face masks are required.

Article Sources
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