US states represent patchwork as they mull economic restarts

National News
Christina Blossey

Christina Blossey stands in front of her body piercing business, Piercing Experience, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in Atlanta. Blossey says her business is likely to remain closed until she can be assured that she can acquire masks and cleaning materials regularly to keep her customers safe. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced a plan to allow certain businesses to reopen this weekend. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)

(AP) – As governors around the country weigh reopening their economies amid the fight against COVID-19, a patchwork of stay-home orders and other business restrictions exist.

Some states are moving faster to reopen, like Georgia, where the governor is allowing nail salons, bowling alleys and other businesses to reopen Friday. Other states such as New Hampshire are considering extensions. Montana’s governor has given the green light to schools to open back up in the coming weeks.

And some states, such as Wyoming and South Dakota, never instituted a stay-home order to begin with.

Here’s a look at where states stand on reopening.

MAKING MOVES

MONTANA: Churches can hold services on Sunday, and restaurants, bars and casinos can reopen on May 4 with reduced capacity and hours under a plan announced Wednesday by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock. Schools have the option to return to in-classroom instruction May 7.

GEORGIA: Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s call to reopen shuttered businesses — one of the most aggressive in the nation — lets gyms, hair and nail salons, bowling alleys and tattoo parlors open with restrictions Friday. Restaurants can resume dine-in service Monday. However, the mayor of Atlanta questioned the logic of moving so quickly, and some business owners are reluctant to reopen their doors. Georgia’s testing system has lagged behind much of the nation and public health experts warned that moving too quickly could fuel a resurgence in infections.

ALASKA: Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration announced plans to begin allowing the limited reopening of restaurants, stores, hair and nail salons and other businesses starting Friday. Restaurants, for example, would be able to provide limited dine-in services, but only able to operate at limited capacity and only seat household members at a table.

TEXAS: State parks reopened and nonessential surgeries have resumed, and all retailers will be allowed to sell items curbside beginning Friday. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott says more relaxed restrictions are coming Monday.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, has begun to gradually allow more businesses to reopen. On Tuesday, non-essential businesses such as flea markets, department stores and boutiques could reopen and local governments were allowed to remove barricades to beaches. McMaster said the timing for additional steps depends on reports from state health officials.

TENNESSEE: Gov. Bill Lee announced earlier this week that he will not extend the state’s mandatory safer-at-home order, which expires April 30. Instead, the Republican says businesses in most counties will be allowed to reopen as early as Mondsay. However, the governor has not yet revealed which businesses will be the first to phase back open, but has promised to give those details at the end of the week. Large cities including Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville will get to decide on their own when to reopen.

FLORIDA: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has asked his state task coronavirus task force for recommendations by the end of next week on a plan for the first phase of reopening the state . He says the state should look at risk factors as it starts to reopen for business, and not just what’s essential. DeSantis has allowed beaches to reopen.

LOUISIANA: Gov. John Bel Edwards’ statewide stay-at-home order expires April 30. The Democratic governor has said he will lift some of his restrictions on businesses by May 1, but hasn’t yet described what he’ll reopen. In a first, small step, the governor announced some non-emergency medical procedures can begin again next Monday.

VERMONT: Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has taken steps toward loosening restrictions on non-essential businesses. Still, many of the altered provisions remain strict, such as no work crews of more than two people.

MORE GRADUAL:

NORTH CAROLINA: Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said he would release later this week more details on testing, contract tracing and case rate goals the state must meet before easing business and movement restrictions. He said he also would announce whether a stay-at-home order set to expire next week would continue. But he’s already said the state isn’t meeting the guidelines from President Donald Trump’s administration to reopen when it comes to declining numbers of cases. Hundreds of people who want the order cancelled or phased out marched around the Executive Mansion on Tuesday to try to pressure him.

WASHINGTON: Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee says easing his stay-home order, in place through May 4, will be gradual with decisions based on several markers including adequate testing and the pace of new cases. But there are mounting calls for easing restrictions in the state that had the first major deadly outbreak, including a sheriff who says he won’t enforce the stay-home order because it violates constitutional rights.

ALABAMA: Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is expected to announce next week what business closures will continue. The Republican said she is eager to reopen but urged people to continue following the order. The order, in place through April, disallows dine-in restaurant service and closes non-essential businesses such as salons and entertainment venues.

MISSOURI: Republican Gov. Mike Parson extended his stay-home order last week through May 3, but pledged that on May 4 “people are going to go back to work.” However, Democratic leaders in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas have extended local stay-home orders through mid-May.

MISSISSIPPI: Republican Gov. Tate Reeves favors gradual reopening, but he has not set a timeline. On April 20, Reeves allowed nonessential, including florists and clothing stores, to start delivery or curbside pickup. His stay-home order is set to expire Monday, but Reeves says people should continue social distancing beyond then.

OREGON: Gov. Kate Brown this week circulated Oregon’s own version of a three-phase plan to lift restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, including allowing childcare facilities to reopen in phase one and possibly restaurants. But Oregon’s plan contains no time frame for reopening certain areas of the economy and Brown has listed no specific end date for her social-distancing directives.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has appointed a bipartisan group of lawmakers, business leaders and state officials to examine how the state can begin to re-open its economy. The state’s stay-at-home order expires May 4, but Sununu said there likely will be further extensions.

NO STAY-HOME ORDER

SOUTH DAKOTA: Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, has resisted calls to shut down businesses or issue a stay-at-home order, even as she has come under criticism from some, especially after an outbreak infected hundreds of workers at a Sioux Falls pork plant that had to be shuttered. Noem has instead called on gatherings to be limited to 10 or fewer people and on businesses and individuals to practice safe distancing.

WYOMING: Wyoming is among a handful of states that hasn’t implemented a statewide stay-at-home order. Testing capacity for the coronavirus remains limited but Gov. Mark Gordon, a Republican, considers the state already essentially in Phase One of the White House reopening guidelines. Gordon has ordered schools and many types of businesses to remain closed until April 30.

NOT ANYTIME SOON

NEW YORK: The epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S. is still in the midst of crisis and not ready to start thinking about reopening. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s enlisted former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to help create a “tracing army” that will find people infected with the coronavirus and get them into isolation. New York will work on the massive effort with neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut.

MASSACHUSETTS: Gov. Charlie Baker said it’s too early to begin reopening the state’s economy. The Republican said Wednesday that new hospitalizations is a key data point, and a modest increase continues statewide. When the state does begin to emerge, the question will be less what businesses are essential or nonessential and more about what are the rules everyone will need to follow, Baker said.

MAINE: Democratic Gov. Janet Mills announced last week her administration is making plans for a phased economic restart. However, timing is uncertain because of a lack of testing, a prerequisite for reopening the economy.

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