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 March of 2020, the U.S. response to control and contain the spread has mostly been at the state level with state governments (and more locally, those of cities and counties) enforcing closures, social distancing, face masks, and other safety precautions. Some states began reopening their economies as early as April 2020 and more followed suit at their own pace in the following months. Infection rates in the U.S. rose to new heights in the fall and winter, but cases fell at a consistent rate in the early months of 2021 and are staying low. As each state continues to roll out vaccinations, more restrictions are being lifted and some states, like Texas and Mississippi, have completely reopened without restrictions or mask mandates.

Due to the varying timelines, many travelers are wondering if it is safe (and legal) to travel between states and whether attractions and businesses will be open in their intended destinations. Some states are enforcing travelers arriving from high-risk states and territories to quarantine upon arrival. These lists of high-risk states are constantly changing as infection rates fluctuate throughout the country and each state has its own standards for determining what is high-risk.

On April 2, the CDC announced new guidelines that condone travel for fully-vaccinated travelers without the need to get tested or self-quarantine. Later on April 27, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people do not have to wear masks outdoors and many, but not all, states lifted their outdoor mask mandate for those who have been fully vaccinated.

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

L.A. County Reopens Beaches And Parks Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
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West

Alaska

Alaska is currently in phases three and four of its five-phase reopening plan. Under this phase, businesses are open with capacity limitations and social distancing. A previous requirement that called for every traveler to Alaska to have a negative COVID-19 test expired in February. However, non-vaccinated travelers are still encouraged to get tested anyway. Tests in Alaska will now be free for both residents and out-of-state visitors.

Arizona

Based on a benchmark system, most businesses are open with mask mandates and social distancing in place. In early March, all business occupancy limits were lifted and on March 25, bars were allowed to open at full capacity and Governor Doug Ducey announced that local mask mandates will be phased out.

California

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 May 3, most counties are in the moderate tier, which means some indoor businesses can open with moderations. Only Lassen, Alpine, Sierra, and Mendocino Counties are in the minimal phase, which means most indoor businesses are open. The state plan to lift more restrictions on June 15.

Colorado

In April, Colorado ended the dial system, ending most statewide restrictions and switching to a county by country approach. Local health orders are in place in less than half of Colorado counties, however, limits on large gatherings and some mask mandates are still in place statewide.

Hawaii

Restrictions vary by island, but restaurants and bars are open in many places with social distancing rules in place. Travelers from other states are allowed to enter Hawaii and do not need to quarantine as long as they show a negative test taken within 72 hours of departure. If a traveler's results are still pending, they will not be allowed to board. Starting May 11, inter-island travel restrictions will be lifted for fully vaccinated Hawaiian residents.

Any adult who plans to visit Hawaii will need to make an account on the official Safe Travels program website, supply their trip details, upload the results of their test and a photo of themselves, and answer a questionnaire within 24 hours of their flight. Travelers will also need to fill out the subsequent declaration and request forms if they plan to travel beyond Oahu to Kauai, Maui, or Hawaii (the Big Island) counties.

Idaho

Idaho has a four-stage plan for reopening the state. On February 2, Idaho moved to stage three which allows gatherings of 50 people, and nightclubs may open but guests should stay seated.

Montana

In January, Gov. Greg Gianforte rolled back restrictions to allow businesses to reopen without capacity limits and to stay open past 10 p.m. The statewide mask mandate expired in February, but smaller municipalities and sovereign tribal nations may enforce their own restrictions.

Nevada

As of March 15, capacity limits for casinos, gyms, and other businesses will increase to 50 percent. Libraries, museums, and retail stores are allowed to expand to 50 percent capacity and spas and hair salons can operate under strict social distancing directives. As of May 1, statewide distancing requirements have ended and mitigation measures are issued by individual counties.

New Mexico

New Mexico is using a color code system to determine how quickly businesses in certain counties can reopen. As of May 3, no counties are in the red, and indoor dining has resumed statewide. There is no longer a quarantine requirement, but out-of-state visitors are encouraged to get tested and self-isolate upon arrival.

Oregon

On April 30, 15 counties moved back to Oregon's most extreme risk level, which closed indoor dining and limits indoor businesses like gyms to just six people at a time.

Utah

Most businesses in Utah are open with capacity limits and social distancing rules in place and there is no limit on social gatherings. In late February, Gov. Spencer Cox lifted the capacity limits for bars in counties with low transmission.

Washington

In March, Washington moved to Phase 3 of their reopening plan, which allows indoor dining and other indoor businesses to increase capacity to 50 percent. In April, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that three counties would roll back to Phase 2.

Wyoming

Although Gov. Mark Gordon did not issue a stay-at-home order at the start of the pandemic, statewide restrictions were gradually lifted over the summer to allow businesses to reopen and serve more customers. By the end of January, bars and restaurants returned to normal operating hours as cases declined and gathering limits were eased. On March 1, gathering limits increased to allow 1,000 people indoors and 2,000 outdoors, and restaurants are no longer required to keep track of their customer's temperatures.

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 independently of the others. The Illinois government website has a detailed breakdown of the stages. Initially, many businesses were allowed to reopen, but then the plan was modified to include "mitigation tiers," which will be implemented to fight spikes of infection. In February, all regions entered phase four which means bars and restaurants are open with capacity limits in place.

Indiana

After a doubling of case numbers in November, Gov. Eric Holcomb switched out the state's previous approach based on phases with one based on color-coded risk levels. Restrictions vary based on the severity of case numbers in each county. As of May, most counties are in the blue or yellow phase which means that most businesses are open.

Iowa

After a period of extended restrictions limiting gatherings and requiring businesses to enforce social distancing, Gov. Kim Reynolds removed limits in mid-December and allowed bars and restaurants to return to normal business hours, and in-person service with bar seating is allowed. Municipalities like Des Moines and Iowa City may enforce their own restrictions.

Kansas

Kansas is in Phase 3, which means all businesses may reopen under certain health and safety guidelines, and gatherings of more than 45 people are discouraged. Kansas has a self-quarantine mandate in place for non-vaccinated travelers arriving from certain states or countries.

Michigan

As of March 5, restaurants, bars, and other businesses can open at 50 percent capacity, and public gatherings are allowed to expand to 25 people inside and 300 people outside. In late April, the Michigan Department of Health set new gathering restrictions which will be in place until May 24 and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer introduced a plan to ease restrictions based on vaccination rates.

Minnesota

As of March 15, Gov Tim Walz further loosened restrictions to allow bars and restaurants to increase occupancy to 75 percent, while venues can go up to 25 percent for outdoors and 15 percent for indoors.

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. After closing indoor dining and limiting other businesses, St. Louis County began reopening businesses in January after a reduction in cases. Capacity limits for restaurants and bars increased to 50 percent.

Nebraska

Rising cases in October prompted Gov. Pete Ricketts to impose new rules to limit indoor gatherings and require everyone to remain seated when at a bar or restaurant. At the end of January, Governor Ricketts announced that the whole state would move into the blue phase, leaving just a few capacity limits in place.

North Dakota

Following a decrease in infection rates, many restrictions in North Dakota have been lifted and the statewide mask mandate has expired. However, some cities and counties still require masks to be worn. Requirements limiting business capacity have become recommendations and all businesses are open. On January 29, Gov. Doug Burgum downgraded the state's risk level to low.

Ohio

In Ohio, indoor capacity is restricted at 25 percent, and masks and social distancing are still enforced at restaurants. However, there is no capacity limit for outdoor events. Gov. Mike DeWine has gotten rid of quarantine requirements for anyone who has been fully vaccinated, even if they've been exposed to someone with the virus.

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. In April 2020, Gov. Noem released a “back-to-normal” plan, with steps and safety procedures that businesses are encouraged to follow.

Wisconsin

After a steep rise in cases in September, all capacity limits for open businesses were reduced to 25 percent. However, this order by the governor was knocked down by a judge on October 14, leaving the state without many public restrictions. On November 12, the governor announced a new order strongly urging people to stay home, but restrictions vary by county and municipality.

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

Alabama

Under Alabama's new "Safer Apart Order," masks are no longer required statewide and most businesses including restaurants are open without capacity limits, but social distancing is still required.

Arkansas

In February, all statewide business directives became guidances. Businesses have been allowed to reopen in Arkansas with suggested capacity limits still in place. In late March, Gov. Asa Hutchinson lifted the statewide mask mandate.

Delaware

In November, Gov. John Carney announced new restrictions that limited indoor gatherings to 10 people and reduced indoor dining capacity to 30 percent capacity or 50 people, whichever is less. The governor has expanded the mask mandate to include indoor public gatherings but lifted the curfew for restaurants and bars in January. As of February 12, restaurants and other businesses may operate at 50 percent capacity.

District of Columbia

Restaurants are allowed to sell alcohol until midnight but indoor dining is still capped at 25 percent. All travelers, except for visitors from Maryland and Virginia, are advised to get tested within 72 hours before traveling to Washington, D.C., and within three to five days of arrival. Travelers who have been fully vaccinated do not need a test. All visitors must also adhere to the mandatory mask policy.

Florida

Restaurants, museums, retail stores, gyms, and libraries are open without capacity limits. Although local governments were previously allowed to place further restrictions, Gov. Ron DeSantis has stifled these efforts to keep bars and restaurants open. DeSantis has not reinstituted statewide restrictions nor issued a statewide mask mandate.

Georgia

In Georgia, most businesses can open for “minimum basic operations” as long as they follow social distancing and sanitation procedures. As of April 30, businesses are allowed to operate at full capacity without social distancing measures.

Kentucky

Since March, businesses like retail, gyms, and restaurants have been allowed to open in stages. Businesses are open with capacity limits with bars and restaurants open for indoor dining at 60 percent. Bars and restaurants can stay open until 1 a.m. The Kentucky Department of health discourages all out-of-state travel and asks anyone who travels between states to quarantine for 14 days when they return to Kentucky.

Louisiana

Gov. John Bel Edwards lifted all occupancy limits on restaurants, bars, and gyms. Gathering limits have increased and the statewide mask mandate has been lifted.

Maryland

On March 12, capacity limits were lifted for restaurants, bars, retail stores, and other businesses. Indoor venues are still limited to 50 percent capacity. In April, Gov. Larry Hogan lifted all restrictions on outdoor dining as well as the outdoor mask mandate.

Mississippi

In March, Gov. Tate Reeves lifted almost all restrictions, except for a school mask requirement. He later allowed capacity at indoor and outdoor arenas to increase to 100 percent.

North Carolina

On March 26, retail capacity limits were fully lifted while restaurants and gyms are allowed to increase to 75 percent. Movie theatres and bars are allowed to open at 60 percent. In April, Gov. Roy Cooper lifted the outdoor face mask requirement.

Oklahoma

Starting November 19, Gov. Kevin Stitt ordered restaurants and bars to enforce social distancing and close by 11 p.m. Oklahoma is in phase three of its Open Up and Recover Safely (OURS) three-part plan, which allows all businesses to open with social distancing rules required. On March 12, the governor issued an executive order lifting restrictions on events.

South Carolina

Since the spring, non-essential businesses have been reopening in stages, starting with "close contact" services, gyms, and pools, then attraction facilities, and most recently bowling alleys, all with safety measures in place. In October, the governor lifted all capacity limitations on restaurants, which are now allowed to operate at 100 percent.

Tennessee

Most businesses throughout Tennesee are now allowed to open under the "Tennessee Pledge" guidelines, but statewide, no capacity limits are in place for restaurants. In late April, Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order to prevent counties from issuing mask mandates.

Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott announced that starting March 10, all restrictions on businesses and the mask mandate will be lifted.

Virginia

On March 1, the midnight curfew was lifted and the outdoor gathering limit increased to 25 people. Retail, restaurants, bars, hair salons, museums, gyms, and pools are still open at limited capacity. As of late April, fully vaccinated people are not required to wear masks outdoors.

West Virginia

In November, Gov. Jim Justice updated the mask mandate to require that masks be worn at all times when in an indoor public place. As of March, restaurants, bars, and other businesses are allowed to open at 100 percent as long as social distancing can be maintained. In April, the governor ended the limit on public gatherings.

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

Connecticut

As of March 19, restaurants, stores, museums, aquariums, and gyms are allowed to open at full capacity and the travel ban has been lifted. Bars are still closed across the state and movie theatres are limited to 50 percent capacity and indoor gatherings are limited to 25 people. Gov. Ned Lamont plans to lift more restrictions on May 1.

Maine

On March 26, indoor gathering limits increased to 50 percent capacity and bars reopened. The outdoor mask mandate has been lifted, but it's still necessary to wear a mask indoors. In May, Maine ended all testing and quarantine requirements for out-of-state travelers.

Massachusetts

On March 22, the state moved into Step 1 of Phase 4, which allows indoor venues and stadiums to reopen at limited capacity. In late April, Gov. Charlie Baker removed the outdoor mask mandate and set a timeline for lifting more restrictions throughout May.

For most other businesses, the capacity limit is now set at 50 percent, and gatherings are capped at 100 people for indoors and 150 for outdoors. Restaurants have no capacity limits and will be allowed to host live music performances as long as social distancing is maintained and the 90-minute time limit per table is followed.

A travel order is in effect, so if you are arriving from a high-risk state, you must fill out a travel form, provide proof of a negative test, or quarantine for 10 days. Anyone who has been fully vaccinated does not need to show a test or quarantine.

New Hampshire

In March, New Hampshire lifted the testing and quarantine requirement for incoming travelers and expanded the capacity for retail stores to 100 percent capacity. Nearly all businesses have reopened, but some restrictions are still in place depending on the business.

New Jersey

Restaurants and other businesses have expanded to 50 percent capacity. Unless they have been fully vaccinated, anyone arriving in New Jersey from out of state is asked to voluntarily get tested and self-quarantine for seven to 10 days, except for those arriving from Connecticut, Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania.

New York

Indoor dining is open across the state at 75 percent, including New York City. Most businesses throughout the state are open with some distancing rules in place. As of April 1, domestic travelers will not be required to show a test or quarantine and entertainment venues will be allowed to reopen and amusement parks reopened on April 9 at 33 percent capacity. Movie theatres have been allowed to increase to 33 percent capacity.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania lifted its travel restrictions on March 1 and indoor events are allowed to take place at 25 percent capacity. As of April 4, bars and restaurants, are allowed to increase capacity to 75 percent. The outdoor mask mandate has been lifted statewide for fully vaccinated people.

Rhode Island

In February, restrictions were loosened to expand capacity in restaurants, gyms, and offices. If you are coming to Rhode Island from a state with a testing positivity rate of five percent or more, you will be required to self-quarantine for two weeks or provide a negative test taken within the past 72 hours. Rhode Island keeps an updated list of high-risk states on the official webpage. Vaccinated travelers do not need to quarantine. The state plans to ease capacity limits and eventually lift restrictions in May.

Vermont

Gov. Phil Scott has extended the restrictions that limit gatherings to a single household and forces restaurants to close by 10 p.m. As of April 9, it's no longer necessary to quarantine when entering Vermont from out-of-state if you can show a negative test or proof of vaccination.

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

Puerto Rico

Most businesses, including restaurants, theatres, gyms, and museums, are operating at 30 percent capacity. Bars are closed. Public beaches are open, but everyone must follow social distancing guidelines. A curfew is in effect across the island from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., which also applies to the common areas of hotels and all businesses must close by 9 p.m.

Anyone planning to travel to Puerto Rico will need to fill out a Travel Declaration Form before they go and upload their PCR test result, which should be taken within 72 hours before their trip. Those who arrive without a test will be fined $300, regardless of vaccination status. Health screenings will be conducted at the airport and symptomatic travelers will be tested and required to quarantine at their hotel while awaiting results.

U.S. Virgin Islands

Any traveler over the age of five, including Virgin Island residents, will be required to provide a negative test taken within five days through the official online Travel Portal, but there's no requirement to quarantine. Restaurants are open for limited indoor dining, but bars and clubs remain closed.

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