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States that have been locked down the longest

  • States that have been locked down the longest

    State responses to COVID-19 varied wildly, leaving many residents understandably confused. But which states stayed closed the longest, and what effect has that had? Some states have low populations with less of a contrast between small cities and rural residents, and others, like New York, have made very different rules for very different environments. Stacker used information provided by The New York Times (as of May 29) and state websites to compile a list of states with the longest COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. The earliest orders came in March, and while there are some overall trends among governors from the same political party, there are also plenty of surprises. One of the most contentious has been Wisconsin, where the governor’s order was rescinded by the state Supreme Court.

    While most states are reopening in phases to prevent a resurgence of cases, 42 of the 50 states plus Washington D.C. issued an official stay-at-home order in response to the pandemic, with a majority of these orders expiring in April and May. The states listed below are ranked according to how long their statewide stay-at-home order was in effect. Eight states (Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming) did not issue statewide stay-at-home orders, so they were not ranked. Additionally, while most stay-at-home orders have either expired or are about to expire, each state has its own criteria for opening up businesses and other establishments, and could keep businesses closed well into the summer if necessary for the prevention of an increased COVID-19 spread.

    Virtually all the reopened states still encourage residents to be careful and hygienic, with social distancing and masks urged almost across the board. The reopenings show the different regional priorities of certain places, from pickleball to rodeos to the spring wild turkey hunting season. Large cities like New York and Seattle will likely be the last to fully reopen, but residents can already go to more places outside, visit more stores, and travel more freely than before.

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  • #44. States without statewide stay-at-home orders

    Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming did not issue official statewide stay-at-home orders. Several counties and cities in these states issued their own orders, and many nonessential businesses still closed down.

    In Utah, for example, the governor urged residents to stay home but did not order it by law. Salt Lake City’s newly elected mayor chose to turn the governor’s suggestion into city law because of the higher rates of COVID-19. The states with statewide orders have tiered levels of legality and enforcement as well, and no state has acted as a monolith.

  • #43. Mississippi

    - Length of official stay-at-home order: 24 days
    --- Date order started: April 3, 2020
    --- Date order expired: April 27, 2020
    - 2019 state population: 2,976,149

    Gov. Tate Reeves began reopening the state after just a few weeks of shelter in place. The state’s rates continued to increase during that time. As of June 4, there are 12 positive test results per 100,000 residents. All businesses were allowed to reopen June 1.

  • #42. Alabama

    - Length of official stay-at-home order: 26 days
    --- Date order started: April 4, 2020
    --- Date order expired: April 30, 2020
    - 2019 state population: 4,903,185

    By May 22, Alabama had reopened everything. Gov. Kay Ivey eased back to a suggestion to stay-at-home on April 30, when nonessential retail reopened. After that, gyms and salons followed on May 11.

  • #41. South Carolina

    - Length of official stay-at-home order: 27 days
    --- Date order started: April 7, 2020
    --- Date order expired: May 4, 2020
    - 2019 state population: 5,148,714

    Gov. Henry McMaster was among the final to issue stay-at-home orders to close, on April 7, and one of the first to open less than a month later. After a month with reopened stores and other businesses, cases are on the rise, with 361 new cases on June 4. Stores have been told to lower capacity and limit customers, but restaurants don’t need to report employees who are diagnosed with COVID-19.

  • #40. Missouri

    - Length of official stay-at-home order: 27 days
    --- Date order started: April 6, 2020
    --- Date order expired: May 3, 2020
    - 2019 state population: 6,137,428

    Gov. Mike Parson allowed all businesses to reopen on May 3 as long as they agreed to comply with social distancing. Since then, the state’s rate of new COVID-19 cases has stayed steady and even begun to rise again. The state’s recommendations still include avoiding travel, crowded situations like trade shows, and gathering too closely outdoors.

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  • #39. Georgia

    - Length of official stay-at-home order: 27 days
    --- Date order started: April 3, 2020
    --- Date order expired: April 30, 2020
    - 2019 state population: 10,617,423

    Georgia was one of the first states to reopen, making news around the country for Gov. Brian Kemp’s insistence contrasted with the high-profile opposition of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Even restaurant dining rooms reopened, with restrictions, at the end of April.

  • #38. Alaska

    - Length of official stay-at-home order: 27 days
    --- Date order started: March 28, 2020
    --- Date order expired: April 24, 2020
    - 2019 state population: 731,545

    Gov. Mike Dunleavy started to reopen the state on April 24. But Alaska’s low population and gigantic area mean that the social climate is unique among the United States, and its business restrictions weren’t fully relaxed until nearly a month later on May 22.

  • #37. Texas

    - Length of official stay-at-home order: 28 days
    --- Date order started: April 2, 2020
    --- Date order expired: April 30, 2020
    - 2019 state population: 28,995,881

    Texas didn’t close until April 2 and reopened less than a month later, and the populous state’s rates of COVID-19 continue to increase. Some of Texas’ more unusual reopenings include caves, rodeos, and bingo halls.

    [Pictured: Guitarist James Young of Eli Young Band performs at the Global Life Field parking lot on June 4, 2020, in Arlington.]

  • #36. Montana

    - Length of official stay-at-home order: 29 days
    --- Date order started: March 28, 2020
    --- Date order expired: April 26, 2020
    - 2019 state population: 1,068,778

    Montana has had very few confirmed cases of COVID-19, and the state began to reopen after its curve effectively flattened in April. The number of new cases stayed at almost zero until just this week. Everything from gyms and massage parlors to bowling alleys and concert venues are reopened now.

  • #35. Tennessee

    - Length of official stay-at-home order: 30 days
    --- Date order started: March 31, 2020
    --- Date order expired: April 30, 2020
    - 2019 state population: 6,829,174

    Tennessee was closed for just 30 days by Gov. Bill Lee, and restaurants and gyms both reopened by May 1. Since then, Tennessee’s number of new cases has continued to slowly rise, and positive tests per 100,000 residents are up to 8.4 as of June 4. Amusement parks and movie theaters are also open.

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