As Americans enter another month with non-essential business, schools and offices closed and many dealing with unemployment from the losses to the economy, legislators throughout the country are faced with decisions about when to lift stay-at-home orders.
President Donald Trump has left that choice up to state governors. And while most of the country is eager to resume their pre-quarantine lives and conservative groups have organized small protests against the current restrictions across the country, health experts say that it is not a decision that should be rushed. The U.S. has only just passed the likely peak of the COVID-19 outbreak and thousands of people are still being diagnosed with and dying of the virus each day.
Additionally, experts say that widespread testing — something that has not been available in the U.S. throughout the outbreak — is needed before people can go back to work and school, or else the country risks a resurgence in cases.
Currently, some stay-at-home orders are set to expire by the end of the month, others will last through May, and several states have yet to make any announcements about when they will lift restrictions.
Although individual orders vary from state to state, most stipulate that people with essential jobs — such as doctors, firefighters, police and grocery store workers — are allowed to go to work, while everyone else must stay at home. Residents are permitted to leave to get groceries and other essentials, and most orders allow people to go outside for walks or exercise, while staying six feet apart from other people.
As of April 20, there are at least 753,317 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and 36,109 people have died.
Here’s when the states under full stay-at-home orders will begin to lift restrictions, based on the information they have made available.
- Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s stay-at-home order went into effect on April 4, and is currently set to expire on April 30.
Alaska declared its order on March 28, and it will remain in effect until further notice.
Arizona’s order is currently set to remain in place for the rest of April, although Gov. Doug Ducey has expressed doubts that the state will immediately begin to reopen.
“It’s too early right now for me to say that there’s something magical about May 1st. Of course I’m hopeful. I want to be aspirational on this,” Ducey, who has been criticized for exempting golf courses from the order, said during a recent press conference.
There is no current timeline for when California’s stay-at-home order, which went into effect on March 19, will be lifted.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has said that before decisions can be made, the number of hospitalizations will need to be on the decline for several weeks, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Colorado’s stay-at-home order is currently set to remain in place until April 26.
Gov. Ned Lamont has extended Connecticut’s statewide order until May 20. The state has been under a stay-at-home order since March 23.
Delaware’s statewide restrictions are set to remain in effect “until May 15 or until the public health threat is eliminated.”
District of Columbia
Mayor Muriel Bowser implemented the order on March 30, which has been extended through May 15.
Florida’s stay-at-home order is set to last through April 30. The state has faced widespread criticism for its handling of the spread of the virus, including its decision to reopen some beaches and parks.
Gov. Brian Kemp has extended Georgia’s stay-at-home order through April 30.
Hawaii’s stay-at-home order was put in place on March 25, and is currently set to last through the end of April, although Gov. David Ige has indicated that not all restrictions are likely to be lifted.
“This is not about ripping off the Band-Aid,” added Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell during an April 16 press conference, according to Hawaii News Now. “As we go forward over many, many months, the stay-at-home/work-at-home order will remain in place but will be modified. It has to be thought out. It has to be very careful and … based on science.”
Idaho’s stay-at-home order was amended on April 15 in order to extend the mandate through April 30, an additional 15 days.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker previously extended Illinois’ stay-at-home order to last through April 30, and has not announced whether there will be any additional extension.
Indiana’s state order has been extended through May 1, a decision that was made in collaboration with several neighboring states.
Gov. Laura Kelly announced on April 16 that Kansas’ stay-at-home order would be extended through May 3.
“Cases of COVID-19 continue to increase and have spread to additional counties in Kansas. Extending the stay-home order will keep Kansans safe as we work to fight this pandemic,” Kelly said. “While we won’t be able to lift all restrictions on mass gatherings overnight, we will continue to develop mitigation efforts so Kansans, their families and businesses can plan for the future.”
The decision was made alongside Missouri Gov. Mike Parson.
An end date for Kentucky’s stay-at-home order has yet to be announced by Gov. Andy Beshear.
At the start of April, Gov. John Bel Edwards formally extended the state order to last through April 30.
“It is absolutely critical that each Louisianan take this stay-at-home order seriously. Act as if your life depends on it — because it does,” he said.
Although additional information has yet to be announced, Edwards has shared that when the current stay-at-home order expires, it will be replaced with a new mandate that “won’t look like what we have in place now,” according to the Associated Press.
Maine’s stay-at-home order is set to remain in place until at least April 30.
Maryland’s statewide order, which went into effect last month, will stay in place until it’s lifted by Gov. Larry Hogan.
Hogan has also spoken out against actions taken by President Trump that seemingly encouraged nationwide protests against stay-at-home orders.
“I don’t think it’s helpful to encourage demonstrations,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union on April 19. “it just doesn’t make any sense.”
Gov. Charlie Baker has extended Massachusetts’ stay-at-home order through May 4.
“If we can limit face-to-face, person-to-person contact now, we can slow the spread and get back to work as soon and as safely as we possibly can,” he said on March 31, when the announcement was made, according to NBC Boston.
Michigan’s stay-at-home order, which has been met with considerable backlash, was extended through the end of April.
“Michigan right now has the third-highest death count in the country. We are the 10th-largest state. As you can deduce, this means we have a uniquely hard issue going on here,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said over the weekend on CNN’s State of the Union, noting that the “sacrifice” was helping to save lives and begin to slow the spread of the virus.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey has said the possibility of extending the order again is unlikely.
Although Minnesota’s current stay-at-home order is set to last through May 4, Gov. Tim Walz has said that there is a possibility for extension.
“I don’t know yet at this point,” he said on April 17, during a press conference. “It’s going to depend on what the peak [number of cases] looks like.”
Days before the state’s stay-at-home order was set to expire, Gov. Tate Reeves announced a one-week extension, which would last until April 27.
“We are still in the eye of the storm,” he said, according to NBC affiliate WTVA, also noting the loosening of some restrictions relating to fishing and businesses that have been deemed non-essential.
Missouri’s stay-at-home order has been extended through May 3, a decision which was made in collaboration with the state of Kansas.
“We are seeing very early signs in the data leading us to be cautiously optimist that Missouri is beginning to slow the course of the infection and see improvement, even in our hardest hit areas like St. Louis and Kansas City,” said Gov. Mike Parson said. “We must be ready for a slow but steady road to recovery with some sort of social distancing continuing even as we begin to reopen the economy. I look forward to seeing Missourians safe, healthy, and back to work.”
Gov. Steve Bullock has extended the state’s stay-at-home order through April 24.
“We also stay home so that we can more quickly rebuild to a thriving economy. It is not a choice between a healthy population and a healthy economy — the two go hand in hand,” Gov. Bullock said. “Managing this public health crisis now will help to prevent long-term consequences that could upend our economy for a longer duration and with a worse outcome.”
Nevada’s statewide order has been extended through at least April 30, and has been protested by hundreds of residents, according to KRNV.
The state’s stay-at-home order is currently set to last through May 4, although Gov. Chris Sununu has yet to announce whether it will be extended.
Gov. Phil Murphy has not indicated how long the statewide stay-at-home order will stay in effect. In his executive order, Murphy indicated that the order, which went into effect on March 21, “shall remain in effect until revoked or modified by the Governor.”
Gov. Michelle Lujan has extended the statewide order through at least April 30.
New York, which has been hit especially hard by COVID-19, was the second state to go under a stay-at-home order, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has since extended the order to last through May 15.
The state’s stay-at-home order went into effect on March 30, with Gov. Roy Cooper issuing an executive order set to last for thirty days, until April 29.
Although Cooper has not yet announced whether the stay-at-home order will be extended, last week he stated that in order to begin lifting restrictions the state will need to make progress in testing, contact tracing and flattening numbers.
“In order to ease restrictions, we have to see COVID-19 trends move in the right direction,” he said during a press conference, according to ABC 11, going on to note that even after the current order was lifted, restrictions would still remain.
“I’m anxious to get North Carolina back to normal, but we have to be realistic for a while. There will be a new normal for a while,” he said.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has extended the statewide order through May 1.
“We understand that this is tough – it is very difficult. But, I would not be making these decisions if it wasn’t a mater of life and death,” said Gov. DeWine. “We have to keep this monster down. It’s not dead – it’s very much alive.”
Gov. Kate Brown’s executive order, which was issued on March 23, does not stipulate when restrictions will be lifted.
“The order is effective immediately, and remains in effect until ended by the Governor,” a press release states.
“None of us have ever been through this before, and that means there is no way to know exactly what lies ahead. We don’t know yet when this outbreak will end, or what changes this will bring for our state and for our country. But I want to make sure that we’ve done all we can to end it as quickly as possible,” said Brown.
Gov. Tom Wolf has extended Pennsylvania’s stay-at-home order, which was originally set to expire at the end of the month, until May 8. Wolf had resisted a statewide order until April 1.
Gov. Gina Raimondo has extended the state’s stay-at-home order to last through at least May 8.
Rhode Island is working with Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware to coordinate plans to battle the virus and revitalize the economy in the region.
South Carolina’s stay-at-home order has been extended through at least April 27.
Gov. Bill Lee initially placed the state in a stay-at-home order until April 14, although the order has since been extended to last through the end of the month.
“It’s clear that our economy cannot stay shut down for months on end,” Lee said earlier this month, noting that their goal was to begin re-opening the state in May. “We need Tennesseans to go back to work.”
Although there was initially some confusion with several cities and counties enacting their own orders in lieu of a statewide restriction, Gov. Greg Abbott put Texas into a stay-at-home order on April 2, which is currently set to expire on April 30.
Vermont’s stay-at-home order has been extended through May 15, a month later than the original order was set to expire.
“These are incredibly difficult times, and I know this extension is disappointing news for many. But the fact is, Vermonters are literally saving hundreds of lives by staying home,” Governor Phil Scott said in a press release. “We are making big sacrifices to save lives, but we cannot let our foot off the gas just yet.
Virginia’s order went into effect last month, and is set to remain in place until June 10, “unless amended or rescinded by a further executive order.”
“We are in a public health crisis, and we need everyone to take this seriously and act responsibly,” said Gov. Ralph Northam. “Our message to Virginians is clear: stay home. We know this virus spreads primarily through human-to-human contact, and that’s why it’s so important that people follow this order and practice social distancing. I’m deeply grateful to everyone for their cooperation during this unprecedented and difficult time.”
Gov. Jay Inslee has extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 4.
“We are yet to see the full toll of this virus in our state and the modeling we’ve seen could be much worse if we don’t continue what we’re doing to slow the spread,” Inslee said in a press release announcing the month-long extension.
The state is home to the nation’s first case and death, and became the first epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak.
West Virginia’s stay-at-home order went into effect on March 24 and will continue “until terminated by subsequent executive order” from Gov. Jim Justice.
Despite protests over the initial stay-at-home order — which was set to last through April 24 and would subject violators to up to 30 days in jail, a $250 fine, or both — an extension was announced on April 16.
The order will now remain in effect through May 26 and mandates that all K-12 schools “ shall remain closed” for the rest of the school year. Previous penalties will remain in place.
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