Written by Jacqueline Slobin and Khang Vuong
Safer-at-home, stay-at-home, and shelter-in-place orders
As the spread of COVID-19 progressed in the United States, many individual states mandated safer-at-home, stay-at-home and shelter-in place orders in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, avoid overwhelming hospitals, and protect vulnerable members of the population. Safer-at-home orders encourage individuals to make an effort to stay home when they can. These orders may allow some nonessential businesses to remain open and are not strictly enforced. Stay-at-home orders mean that individuals should remain at home and only leave for essential purposes, such as buying groceries or seeking medical attention. Under most stay-at-home orders, individuals are permitted to leave the home for exercise outside. Shelter-in-place orders are most extreme and mean you must stay inside your home until given further instruction.
Most states have implemented stay-at-home orders, which are transitioning to safer-at-home advisories as states begin to reopen nonessential businesses. However, some cities in Oklahoma, Delaware, and Georgia temporarily made shelter-in-place orders effective. These decisions have been made by evaluating hospital surge capacity and new infections over several months.
What are you allowed to do under a stay-at-home order?
Although specific regulations differ by state, there are some general guidelines for acceptable behavior during a stay-at-home order. During a stay-at-home order, essential businesses such as gas stations, pharmacies, supermarkets, and hospitals will remain open with new sanitation protocols. Gyms, salons, retail stores and other nonessential businesses will likely remain closed for in-person services. You can still exercise outdoors or walk your dog, as long as you remain at least 6 feet away from others and follow your state‚s protocol for wearing face coverings. Doctors are seeing patients for non urgent needs on a case-by-case basis. You may be able to go to a doctor‚s office or make an online appointment.
In general, you should make an effort to remain at home when possible. If you are running out of things to do at home, check out 7 Things To Do During Quarantine, Where To Exercise in NYC During COVID-19 Quarantine, and some tips on Home Exercise.
Federal and State Guidelines
In mid-March, the U.S. federal government issued national emergency declarations in order to properly support states with emergency relief funds and protect the economy. Individual states, however, have been making a variety of decisions regarding the implementation and extension of stay-at-home orders. The current statewide stay-at-home orders and when they will be lifted depend on several factors, including population density, current coronavirus cases, capacity of hospitals, and ability to monitor the spread of the virus via contact tracing and testing.
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When will the stay-at-home order end in each state?
Extensions and expirations of stay-at-home orders vary greatly by state and in some cases, by county as well. Below is a list of the current end dates for the stay-at-home order by state.
The expiration of a stay-at-home order, however, does not mean that all businesses will reopen and operate normally. For more information on reopening businesses and retail stores, see our article: When Will Gyms, Restaurants, and Salons Reopen. It is also important to continue to take precautions, such as social distancing and wearing a face covering, even as states begin to reopen. Data Updated May 19th 2020.
- Alabama: Expired April 30th
- Alaska: Expired April 24th
- Arizona: Expires May 15th
- Arkansas: No mandated order
- California: Indefinite end date
- Colorado: Expired April 26th
- Connecticut: Extended until May 20th
- Delaware: Expired May 31st
- Florida: Expired May 4th in most counties, May 11th in Palm Beach, and May 18th in Miami
- Georgia: Expired April 24th
- Hawaii: Extended to May 31st
- Idaho: Expired April 30th
- Illinois: Extended to May 30th
- Indiana: Expired May 1st in most counties, Marion May 15th
- Iowa: No mandated order
- Kansas: Expired May 4th
- Kentucky: ‚ÄúHealthy at Home‚Äù order indefinite end date
- Louisiana: Expired May 15th
- Maine: Extended to May 31st
- Maryland: Expired May 15th and replaced with health advisory
- Massachusetts: No mandated order, stay-at-home advisory expired May 18th
- Michigan: Extended to May 28th
- Minnesota: Expired May 18th
- Mississippi: Expired April 27th and replaced with safer-at-home order until May 25th
- Missouri: Expired May 3rd
- Montana: Reopening began April 26th
- Nebraska: No mandated order
- Nevada: Expired May 9th
- New Hampshire: Expired May 31st
- New Jersey: Indefinite end date
- New Mexico: Extended to May 31st
- New York: Extended to May 28th (upstate areas are currently reopening)
- North Carolina: Extended to May 22nd
- North Dakota: No mandated order
- Ohio: Expires May 29th
- Oklahoma: Safer-at-home order expired May 6th
- Oregon: Indefinite end date
- Pennsylvania: Expired May 8th for some counties and extended to June 4th for other counties
- Rhode Island: Expired May 8th
- South Carolina: Expired May 4th
- South Dakota: No mandated order
- Tennessee: Expired April 30th and replaced with new executive order until May 30th
- Texas: Expired April 30th
- Utah: No mandated order
- Vermont: Expired May 15th
- Virginia: Expires June 10th
- Washington: Extended to May 31st
- West Virginia: Lifted May 4th and replaced with safer-at-home restrictions
- Wisconsin: Extended until May 26th, but decision was ruled unlawful and overturned on May 13th
- Wyoming: No mandated order
What will reopening look like?
As stay-at-home orders are lifted, it is likely that each state will begin reopening in three main phases: minimal reopening, reopening with physical distance, and normal function. Public health officials have created general guidelines for each phase of this process, but reopening will look different in each state. Each region will need to meet certain criteria for phase 1 before they can enter phase 2 and 3 of reopening.
The reopening process will likely take anywhere from 3-6 months depending on testing availability, hospital capacity, and known COVID-19 cases. It is also important to ease into each stage to avoid a resurgence of the virus. Read more about the phases of reopening and a timeline in New York City and Los Angeles here!