Texas and Ohio among states taking steps toward reopening

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott holds the Governor’s Report to Reopen Texas book during a news conference where he announced he would relax some restrictions imposed on some businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Monday, April 27, 2020, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Restaurants opened up to dine-in patrons in at least three states Monday and the governor of Texas allowed movie theaters, malls and eateries to start letting customers trickle into their establishments later this week.


Across the country, an ever-changing patchwork of loosening stay-home orders and business restrictions took shape Monday.

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott outlined a slow reopening of one of the world’s largest economies amid the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants in Tennessee, Georgia and Alaska’s biggest city began opening their doors to dine-in customers, with new rules such as temperature checks at the door and logging of customer information for possible contact tracing.

Construction workers are being allowed back on the job in Vermont and other states. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s first steps toward reopening will require masks for workers and shoppers.

“No masks, no work, no service, no exception,” DeWine said.

Here’s a look at what’s happening in the individual states and their shutdown orders.


TEXAS: Abbott’s plan allows restaurants, retailers, movie theaters and malls to let in customers up to 25% of capacity as long as they follow social distancing guidelines. Abbott also said he will let his monthlong stay-at-home order expire on Thursday. Bars, barbershops, hair salons and gyms remain closed.

ALASKA: Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Friday began allowing the limited reopening of restaurants, stores, hair and nail salons and other businesses. It wasn’t until Monday that the state’s main population center, Anchorage, allowed those businesses to open. The strict restaurant rules require reservations and only family members to share tables.

COLORADO: Democratic Gov. Jared Polis’ stay-at-home order expired Monday. A “Safer at Home” plan encourages continued telecommuting and allows non-essential retailers to offer drive-up and home delivery. On May 4, non-essential business offices can reopen with half the usual staff to allow for social distancing.

GEORGIA: Restaurants resumed dine-in service and movie theaters were allowed to reopen Monday under Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s controversial reopening order. Gyms, hair and nail salons, bowling alleys and tattoo parlors opened Friday with restrictions.

OHIO: The much anticipated return to normalcy in Ohio will happen slowly, with the reopening of many health care offices on Friday. Retail stores will need to wait two weeks before they can open, the governor said Monday. He also imposed a strict mask requirement.

LOUISIANA: Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Monday he is extending Louisiana’s stay-at-home order through May 15, saying some regions of the state haven’t shown enough progress to lessen widespread restrictions on businesses and public gatherings. But if the state’s rate of infections continues to decrease, the Democratic governor said he expects he will begin to loosen constraints on May 16, with churches and more retailers allowed to open statewide at that time, including hair and nail salons and some restaurant dine-in services.

RHODE ISLAND: Gov. Gina Raimondo said Monday her goal is still to lift the state’s stay-at-home order on May 8 and the next day start a “slow and methodical and careful” economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

FLORIDA: Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has asked his state coronavirus task force for recommendations for the first phase of reopening. He says the state should look at risk factors as it starts to reopen for business, and not just what’s essential. Over the past couple of weeks, many municipalities have reopened beaches and parks to allow recreation under social distancing rules — a key exemption to a state safer-at-home order running through Thursday.

MONTANA: Churches resumed Sunday services and retailers closed for a month cautiously reopened Monday with social distancing and disinfecting guidelines under a plan announced earlier by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock. Schools have the option to return to in-classroom instruction May 7, but several districts decided to end the academic year with remote instruction.

OKLAHOMA: Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt allowed non-elective surgeries to resume and hair and nail salons, barbershops, spas and pet groomers to reopen last Friday, by appointment only and if they adhere to social distancing and strict sanitation. Restaurant dining rooms, movie theaters, gyms and places of worship can open starting this coming Friday as long as businesses follow social distancing and sanitation protocols.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Republican Gov. Henry McMaster has begun to gradually allow more businesses to reopen. On Tuesday, nonessential 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: Many restaurants were allowed dine-in service again Monday as part of Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s directive to begin reopening the economy. The plan comes just a day after the state reported its biggest one-day jump in confirmed coronavirus cases. One restaurant was checking the temperature of customers at the door.

UTAH: Restaurants could begin reopening to dine-in customers Friday in parts of Utah, with social distancing measures in place. Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has already allowed elective surgeries to resume and reopened state parks to all residents in one of the few states with a voluntary statewide shelter-in-place order.

VERMONT: Republican Gov. Phil Scott has taken steps toward loosening restrictions on nonessential businesses. Still, many of the altered provisions remain strict, including five construction workers per job site on the condition that they stay 6 feet apart.


ALABAMA: Republican Gov. Kay Ivey has 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 nonessential businesses such as salons and entertainment venues.

ARIZONA: Republican Gov. Doug Ducey will allow hospitals to resume elective surgeries Friday, but is waiting for more data on the virus before he decides whether to extend his current stay-at-home order when it expires Thursday.

ARKANSAS: Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s ban on elective surgeries was eased starting Monday. Hutchinson has said he hopes to begin lifting some other restrictions May 4. Arkansas does not have a broad stay-at-home order but has imposed other rules.

HAWAII: Democratic Gov. David Ige’s stay-home order is in effect until Wednesday and could be extended, but Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has extended the stay-at-home order for the state’s largest city through May 31. Caldwell announced some initial steps to ease rules starting with allowing people to walk and jog in city parks beginning Saturday, April 25.

IDAHO: Republican Gov. Brad Little’s stay-home order restricting nonessential businesses expires Thursday. Last week, he allowed more businesses to reopen if they could offer curbside service and ensure social distancing.

INDIANA: Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb lifted elective medical procedures beginning Monday, and the statewide stay-at-home order is in effect until Friday. Holcomb has said he may announce steps relaxing restrictions on some businesses and major changes will be made in collaboration with neighboring states.

KANSAS: Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly supports a phased economic reopening following widespread testing and contact testing. She’s under increasing pressure from the Republican-controlled Legislature to outline such a plan and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce to start reopening the economy.

KENTUCKY: Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear has announced plans to ramp up coronavirus testing with new sites in Louisville and Lexington, the state’s two largest cities, along with Owensboro and Bowling Green. The Democratic governor also announced an initial phase of resuming hospital services such as diagnostic and radiology procedures.

MICHIGAN: Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has said she will extend the state’s stay-at-home order when it expires Thursday, but also hopes to relax some restrictions that to start reopening some sectors of the economy. Some has hinted that the elderly and people with chronic lung problems may face restrictions longer than others.

MISSISSIPPI: Republican Gov. Tate Reeves favors gradual reopening, but has not set a timeline. He has allowed some nonessential businesses like florists and clothing stores to start delivery or curbside pickup. The statewide state-at-home order has ended, replaced with an order for just medically vulnerable people to stay home.

MISSOURI: Republican Gov. Mike Parson said Monday all Missouri businesses and social events will be allowed to reopen next week as long as residents and business owners continue to practice proper social distancing requirements. He said as of next Monday, residents will be able to return to all businesses, such as restaurants, manufacturing plants, gyms and hair salons, along with churches, sporting events and social gatherings. Parson said local governments can impose stricter limitations if their officials believe it is necessary. Kansas City’s stay-at-home order is scheduled to continue through May 15. St. Louis, which has had a majority of the state’s cases, has not yet said when it will lift its order.

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.

NORTH CAROLINA: Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has extended a statewide stay-at-home order until May 8 and closed schools for the rest of the semester. He has released details on testing, contract tracing and case rate goals that must be met before easing business and movement restrictions. His three-phase proposal could not be fully achieved until mid-June at the earliest.

OREGON: Democratic Gov. Kate Brown has 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.

PENNSYLVANIA: Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has shut schools for the academic year and shuttered tens of thousands of businesses. But he is allowing construction statewide to resume on Friday, and a week later plans to lift his stay-at-home order and ease other restrictions in the least-impacted parts of the state. Wolf says the shutdown can be loosened once the number of new cases falls below one new infection for every 2,000 people over a two-week period.

WASHINGTON: Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee has said easing the stay-at-home home order in effect through May 4 will be gradual with decisions based on 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.

WEST VIRGINIA: Republican Gov. Jim Justice announced Monday that as long as the state’s positive test rate stays below 3% for three consecutive days, he’s allowing hospital elective procedures, outpatient health care, primary care, dentistry, and psychological and mental health services. Next week would involve the reopening of small businesses, outdoor seating at restaurants, barber shops, nail salons, and church and funeral services. In subsequent weeks, offices, hotels, casinos, restaurants and other remaining businesses could reopen.


IOWA: Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said Monday she would partially reopen businesses and churches in 77 of Iowa’s 99 counties, even as the state experiences increased numbers of coronavirus-related cases and deaths. Reynolds said restaurants, fitness centers, retail stores and malls could reopen Friday at 50 percent of their operating capacity in those mostly rural countries. Reynolds will allow church services to resume. Tougher restrictions remain for counties with Iowa’s largest cities, including Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.

NEBRASKA: Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts didn’t impose a stay-at-home order but required schools to close and imposed a 10-person limit on gatherings, including at businesses. Ricketts last week announced he will relax coronavirus restrictions in 59 of Nebraska’s 93 counties, including the Omaha area, and will allow in-person church services to resume with some limitations. The changes go into effect May 4 and will allow restaurants in the affected counties to reopen their dining rooms but require them to keep crowds at or below half of their rated occupancy.

NORTH DAKOTA: Republican Gov. Doug Burgum ordered most businesses closed until at least Thursday and hasn’t signaled when he would lift the restrictions. Burgum last week said the state plans to increase testing and contact tracing to protect residents and meet White House guidelines to put people back to work.

SOUTH DAKOTA: Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, has resisted calls to shut down businesses or issue a stay-at-home order, even amid criticism 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 never implemented a statewide stay-at-home order. Testing capacity for the coronavirus remains limited but Republican Gov. Mark Gordon 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 Thursday.


CALIFORNIA: Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom last week allowed hospitals to resume scheduled surgeries in the first significant change to the stay-at-home order in the nation’s most populous state. But Newsom said the state’s broader stay-at-home order won’t be lifted until the state can dramatically increase its testing capacity. Newsom said Monday that California may be just weeks away from “meaningful changes” to its stay-at-home order, but warned progress will be jeopardized if people crowd beaches as they did in some places over the warm spring weekend. Some rural counties are seeking to ease restrictions and some in the San Francisco Bay Area are extending them through the end of May.

CONNECTICUT: Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont has said he’ll start thinking about reopening Connecticut’s economy on May 20, when when his order shutting down schools and nonessential businesses is due to expire. But he says before that happens they must be 14 days of declining hospitalizations, much greater testing capability and more masks and other personal protective equipment for workers who interact with the public.

DELAWARE: Democratic Gov. John Carney has indicated state officials will develop a plan for reopening Delaware’s economy based on guidance from the CDC, including 14 days of declining cases. Carney also says extensive testing and contract tracking programs must be in place before economic restrictions are loosened.

ILLINOIS: Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week extended his stay-at-home order, which also closed all nonessential businesses, to May 30. Beginning Friday, face coverings must be worn in public when 6-foot distancing is not possible. Also, surgeries that were delayed may now be rescheduled, retail stores not on the essential-business list can start providing pickup and delivery service and state parks will reopen for activities such as hiking and fishing. Schools remain closed through the semester with remote learning.

MARYLAND: Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has called for a gradual reopening of the state that will be guided by the rate of hospitalizations due to the virus and number of patients admitted to intensive care. Still in effect is the state-at-home order, which would be lifted under the state’s first phase of the reopening process. It would also enable some small shops and certain small businesses to resume service.

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

MINNESOTA — The state’s stay-at-home order runs through May 4, and it’s not clear when Democratic Gov. Tim Walz will announce whether it will be extended. Walz gave the green light for people who work at some 20,000 industrial, manufacturing and office settings that don’t face the public to begin returning to work Monday.

NEVADA: Nevada joined a western regional pact Monday to help fight the virus outbreak while moving closer to reopening businesses and modifying stay-at-home orders. Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak has not given a date for easing restrictions. He said the Western States Pact including Colorado, California, Oregon and Washington has a shared vision that puts science ahead of politics. Sisolak said millions of people from the U.S. West visit Nevada every year so the partnership will be vital to the state’s immediate recovery and long-term economic comeback.

NEW MEXICO: Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has said the state is likely to extend major social distancing and business restrictions through May 15 as it convenes mayors and business leaders to help with economic recovery plans. The state has no deadline or date for starting its first phase of reopening the economy.

NEW JERSEY: Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy Monday unveiled a plan setting the stage for reopening the state’s economy. The governor said any lifting of restrictions will require two weeks’ worth of a drop in positive cases, expanded testing, increased contact tracing, and safe places for positive people to isolate.

NEW YORK: At the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he has enlisted former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to help create a “tracing army” to 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.

VIRGINIA: Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has said state’s stay-at-home order in effect through June 10 could be changed and has not outlined a specific timeline for reopening businesses. Northam has said he generally agrees with federal guidelines recommending a phased-in approach starting after 14 days of declining cases.

WISCONSIN: The health secretary for Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has extended the state’s stay-at-home order closing most nonessential businesses until May 26. It originally was to end April 24 and Republican legislative leaders on April 21 asked the state Supreme Court to block the order, calling it constitutional overreach. Evers Monday loosened an earlier stay-at-home order to allow reopening of all nonessential businesses that can offer curbside service, like dog groomers and lawnmower repair shops. He previously allowed golf courses to open and permitted libraries to offer curbside book pickup.

MAINE: Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has said her administration is planning a phased reopening but the timing remains uncertain because of a lack of adequate testing.

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