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 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—you can see the complete government plan here. Any travelers 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.

Arizona

The state’s stay-at-home order expired on May 15, at which point restaurants, theaters, gyms, salons and barbers, 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. As of mid-June, Arizona has become one of several states seeing a sharp increase in positive cases, likely due to its speedy reopening, reaching a total of 49,798 as of June 21 .

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, and the state is currently in phase two . Retail and malls with curbside pickup or delivery, outdoor museums, and services such as pet grooming, plumbing, and car washes opened up in the first phase. In some places, as of June 22, hair salons, casinos, and dine-in restaurants are allowed to operate, but statewide, public events, theme parks, indoor playgrounds, and other personal services remain closed. Beginning June 12, campgrounds and some state parks were allowed to reopen, but traveling far distances to reach these is still discouraged. (See the full list of places open and closed here.) Los Angeles County has allowed several industries to reopen immediately as of mid-June, such as bars, restaurants, wineries, hair salons, libraries, museums, and more with safety measures in place. Some regions are opening more cautiously and on different timelines, however. The Bay Area will begin to allow retail stores to open for in-store shopping and small gatherings.

Colorado

Colorado is currently under phase two of a “safer at home” order statewide that expires July 1 . 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, are parks are open; and spring skiing and private campsites can resume operations. Some counties and cities are following different, more cautious timelines, which you can read about here

Hawaii

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 . 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) through July 31 . However, on June 10, the mandatory quarantine for inter-island travelers was lifted.

Idaho

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.

Montana

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 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. The 14-day quarantine for incoming travelers expired on June 1.

Nevada

Nevada started reopening on May 9 and began phase two on May 29 . It's currently in phase two as of June 22. 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.

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, and 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 . Currently, most of the state is in phase two with four 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, 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. As of June 22, only Salt Lake City remains in the orange phase (moderate risk), and the rest of the state has moved into yellow (low risk) and green (new normal) phases . Under the yellow phase, all businesses are allowed to operate, and up to 50 people in a group may gather. Under the green phase, gatherings will not be restricted and more people can return to office-based jobs. All state parks have reopened, but visitor centers, campgrounds, and playgrounds remain closed. Utah’s national parks—including Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, and Arches National Parks—have welcomed back visitors.

Washington

Since Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order expired on May 31, Washington’s four-phased reopening “Safe Start” plan 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. As of June 22, most counties are in phase two or three . Phase two means they are permitted to open restaurants and retail outlets at limited capacity. Phase three allows gatherings of up to 50 people and non-essential travel, as well as museums, theaters, bars, and most other businesses to open, excluding nightclubs and events of 50 people or more.

Wyoming

Although Gov. Mark Gordon did not issue a stay-at-home order, statewide restrictions were previously in place; Governor Gordon began 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. 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, all of the state is in stage three; state parks are open, restaurants and retail stores are open for pickup and delivery. Malls, salons, and gyms are now allowed to reopen with certain guidelines and restrictions, small group gatherings of up to 10 are allowed with social distancing, and city streets are being made available for more pedestrian areas.

Indiana

Indiana’s stay-at-home order expired on May 4, but the state is still reopening in phases . It's currently in phase four until July 3. Many businesses like hair salons, spas, and restaurants have reopened (at limited capacity), as well as state parks, drive-in theaters, and sports fields and courts. Facial coverings and social distancing are encouraged.

Iowa

Businesses are reopening in Iowa. 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.

Kansas

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.

Michigan

Most of Michigan is now in phase four of its "Safe Start" plan , while the Upper Peninsula and Traverse City are in phase five. 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. Face masks are required wherever possible, and social distancing is also required.

Minnesota

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 or less are allowed outdoors and 10 or less indoors; public events of 250 people are still banned.

Missouri

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. Missouri is among the handful of states that has seen record numbers of daily cases after it began to reopen.

Nebraska

Nebraska started easing restrictions on May 4 and almost all counties entered phase three of reopening June 22. Phase three allows bars and restaurants can reopen fully, and gyms, salons, and other businesses can open with higher capacities than previously. Parades and festivals are canceled until June 30. Only international travelers to Nevada have to 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 ended May 29. Nonessential and retail businesses, however, started reopening May 1 . Restaurants and bars resumed indoor dining with established safety practices. Personal care services also resumed operation, and some campgrounds reopened in late May. Most businesses are now open as of mid-June with the exception of many entertainment services and venues, such as stadiums and arenas, and parades and carnivals .

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. Most have reopened, including a handful of casinos in Deadwood. On April 29, Gov. Noem released a “back-to-normal” plan , with steps and safety procedures that businesses are encouraged to follow.

Wisconsin

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, as have some resorts in the Wisconsin Dells. State parks reopened on June 10; you must have an admission sticker to enter.

"Non-Essential" Businesses Start Re-Opening In Georgia Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
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South

Alabama

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 has also seen a sharp rise in cases since its swift reopening.

Arkansas

Businesses that have been allowed to reopen include gyms and fitness studios, places of worship, barbers, salons, spas, restaurants for dining in, casinos, state park cabins, pools, lodging, and bars. You can see the full timeline of recovery here.

Delaware

Delaware is in phase two as of June 15 . Almost all businesses are able to reopen under this phase with safety measures, capacity restrictions, and social distancing. The full list is available 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. Gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited, and non-essential travel is discouraged.

Florida

Florida’s restrictions started to ease on May 4, one of the earliest states to begin reopening. Currently, the state is in phase two of reopening, which allows restaurants, museums, retail stores, gyms, and libraries to open at 75 percent capacity .

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 .

Kentucky

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.

Louisiana

Louisiana is currently in phase two of its reopening plan, and as of June 22, will remain in that phase for another 28 days due to a rise in cases. Almost all business are allowed to reopen with capacity restrictions and safety procedures. Businesses and activities that remain closed include overnight camps, amusement parks, water parks, and arcades.

Maryland

Maryland’s stay-at-home order expired on May 15, as the state transitioned to a “safer at home” public health advisory. It's currently in phase two. Gov. Larry Hogan advised Marylanders to continue working from home where possible and wear facial coverings. Businesses such as retail stores, hair salons, churches, restaurants, and gyms are allowed to open at 50 percent capacity. Beaches and state parks may reopen at their discretion, and casinos and malls can also reopen with safety measures.

Mississippi

Mississippi’s stay-at-home order expired on April 27. All businesses were allowed to open on June 1 as long as they adhered to specific safety measures.

North Carolina

North Carolina is currently in phase two of its Safer at Home plan through June 26. Restaurants, bars, and personal care services are open at 50 percent capacity, indoor gatherings can resume, and pools and day camps are open with restrictions.

Oklahoma

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 Governor Henry McMaster lifted the “home or work” order on May 4, though retail stores and beaches reopened on 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.

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 began to welcome back customers, with policies encouraging staff to wear face coverings and place tables 6 feet apart. Other non-contact attractions—including amusement parks, water parks, theaters, and museums—have reopened as well. All Tennessee State Parks are open to the public, though, the parks’ public swimming pools are closed for the 2020 season. Dollywood reopened to the public on June 17.

Texas

Texas is entering Phase 3 of its reopening plan. Since June 3, bars have been permitted to operate at 50 percent capacity, while restaurants increased capacity to 75 percent on June 12. Throughout June, amusement parks across the state will start to reopen at 50 percent capacity. Zoos, water parks, beaches, museums, bars, aquariums, and golf courses are open as well. Texas State Parks are allowing overnight camping under certain conditions, and are accepting reservations for arrival dates between now and September 7 . All travel restrictions  have been lifted.

Virginia

Most of Virginia (with the exception of Richmond and Northern Virginia) began entering phase two on June 4, and the governor announced on June 23 that it would enter phase three beginning July 1 . Restaurants, retail, and salons can open without capacity restrictions but must adhere to social distancing; Museums, zoos, and aquariums may reopen at 50 percent capacity.

West Virginia

Gov. Jim Justice has been issuing new phases of “The Comeback” plan on a weekly basis. As of June 22 (week 9), 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. Amusement parks, festivals, and open-air concerts are slated to resume operations on July 1.

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

Connecticut

Connecticut’s stay-at-home order expired on May 20 . Currently, the state is in phase two of reopening, which allows restaurants to open at 50 percent capacity indoors (100 percent outdoors), museums, bowling alleys, amusement parks, and movie theaters to reopen. Phase three, expected to happen in mid-July will allow larger gatherings to take place.

Maine

Drive-in movie theaters and outdoor activities like hunting and fishing were among the first to be permitted. Currently, most attractions, outdoor recreation, and businesses are open. Restaurants for dining in, gyms, and personal services opened June 17, and museums and campgrounds are also open. Campgrounds are open only to residents of Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire until June 26, after which point they open to visitors from anywhere with proof of a negative test or a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.

Massachusetts

Gov. Charlie Baker introduced a four-phase reopening plan that allowed beaches, parks, limited personal services, and outdoor adventure activities to begin on May 25. Lodging in the state is reopened to visitors on June 8.

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 slated to open June 29.

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, retail for indoor shopping, and hair salons, and outdoor gatherings are limited to 250 people. Casinos, indoor dining, and amusement parks are slated to open in early July.

New York

One of the hardest-hit states, New York’s shelter in place order, NY on Pause, began on March 22 and expired May 28, though the reopening plan has begun, allowing the state's regions to move through the phases individually as they meet certain criteria. Phase one allows select retail businesses to resume curbside pickup. Renting/leasing, outdoor dining, and other professional services are included in phase two. Indoor dining and other food services can resume in phase three, and entertainment businesses will be closed until Phase 4. Each phase will last at least two weeks. New York City began phase two June 22.

Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Wolf enacted a three-phase plan to reopen Pennsylvania, and counties are following the plan apart from others. 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. The green phase allows bars, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, and more at 50 percent capacity. 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. The state is currently in phase two of reopening. Restaurants and retail are open at 50 percent capacity, hair salons are open with limited capacity, gyms are open with restrictions, and most outdoor recreation is open. Visitors arriving from a place that still has a "stay at home" order must quarantine for 14 days.

Vermont

Gov. Phil Scott extended Vermont’s state of emergency (which first expired on May 15) to July 15. Businesses currently open include libraries, galleries, museums, and theaters at 25 percent capacity, outdoor recreation with gathering limits and safety measures, restaurants and bars (at 50 percent capacity starting June 26), and lodging at limited capacity. Out-of-state visitors must quarantine for 14 days or 7 days with a negative test.

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

Puerto Rico

Most restrictions in Puerto Rico were lifted or relaxed in mid-June. Beaches, gyms, and movie theaters were allowed to open, and starting June 16, restaurants can open at half capacity. There is still a curfew, though, only 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Tourists will be welcome back to the island on July 15.

US Virgin Islands

While the US Virgin Islands is in a state of emergency through July 11, the territory has been open to tourists as of June 1. Many hotels are taking reservations, and bars and restaurants may operate at 50 percent capacity (though buffets and live music are currently banned). Beaches, gyms, golf courses, bowling alleys, and movie theaters have also reopened. Businesses must adhere to health and safety measures; face masks are required.

Article Sources
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