These Are the States Opening Back Up for Business

A server in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo: Zack Wittman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

By mid-May most states have begun relaxing the restrictions meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Outdoor spaces, including beaches and state parks, were among the first areas to open, and now states are throwing open the doors to public life.

Americans in many states can now get a haircut, go to the gym, or sit down at a restaurant, though restrictions are still in place. And more states are set to follow. This is the list of states that are back open for business:


April 30 marked the end of Alabama’s statewide stay-at-home order and the beginning of a plan Governor Kay Ivey calls “Safer at Home.” Under the new order, which expired May 15, all retail can open at 50 percent capacity with social-distancing measures in place. On May 11, barbershops, nail salons, and gyms were allowed to open too. Social gatherings of all sizes are now allowed as well, as long as people practice social distancing.


Alaska went into phase one of the state’s reopening on Friday, April 24, with Governor Mike Dunleavy allowing restaurants to open for in-person dining and personal-care-services businesses (nail salons, barbers, etc.) to operate by reservation only. Retail stores were also allowed to reopen with social distancing and masks worn by all employees and customers. As of May 8, restaurants are allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity and bars at 25 percent.


Though Governor Doug Ducey extended the state’s stay-at-home order until May 15, nonessential retail businesses were allowed to open for curbside pickup on May 4. Then, on May 8, they were allowed to let customers in, with reduced capacity and social distancing. Restaurants were allowed to resume dine-in services on May 11.


Gyms were the first businesses allowed to reopen in Arkansas on May 4. Barbershops, salons, and tattoo parlors followed on May 6. And restaurants were be permitted to open for in-person dining on May 11. All businesses will be required to reduce capacity and implement sanitation and distancing measures.


Governor Gavin Newsom issued the nation’s first stay-at-home order on March 19 and he’s showing similar caution in his plans for reopening the state. Beginning May 8, nonessential retail businesses were allowed to reopen for curbside pickup. Restaurants and bars in all but three countries remain closed to in-person customers. On May 18, Newsom announced that professional sports can resume in the state, without fans present, in the first week in June. California has 15 teams in the “big four” of American pro sports, the most of any state.


Colorado moved into its “Safer at Home” phase April 27, with some nonessential businesses allowed to reopen for curbside pickup. On May 1, personal-care services and retail businesses could reopen with strict social-distancing measures in place, and on May 4, offices were allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity. Bars and restaurants will remain closed to in-person dining until alter in May.


Restaurants and retail businesses in most of Florida were allowed to reopen as of May 4, with indoor capacity limited to 25 percent. Restaurants, which are also allowed to open outdoor seating, must space tables six feet apart and close bar seating. Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, and Broward counties, where case counts are highest, moved on a slower timeline. Restaurants and retail opened in Palm Beach May 11 and the other two counties followed on May 18.


Governor Brian Kemp has made the nation’s biggest push to reopen in the country. Starting April 24, barbershops, gyms, salons, and massage therapists could reopen. On April 27, restaurants and movie theaters followed. On April 30, the state’s stay-at-home order expired, but Kemp, who has turned his attention to restarting the state’s economy, said high-risk Georgians should stay at home at least until mid-June.


The list of businesses allowed to operate in Hawaii expanded dramatically on May 7. Joining florists, car dealerships, and golf courses, which were already allowed to open, are nonessential retail businesses, pet groomers, car washes, and non-profit organizations. Despite the loosened restrictions on businesses, Governor David Ige said people should still not be gathering in groups. “If you’re outside and shopping, we expect that you’ll be patronizing businesses alone or in family clusters only,” he said.


May 1 marked the start of Idaho’s first stage of reopening, with most retail stores, churches, and day-care centers allowed to reopen. Stage two began on May 16, when restaurants, personal-care services, and gyms were allowed to open at 50 percent capacity. Stage three is set to begin May 30 and that’s when bars can reopen.


While Governor J.B. Pritzker extended the state’s stay-at-home order to May 30, he allowed several new categories of business to open starting May 1. That includes greenhouses, garden centers, and pet groomers. Businesses previously designated as nonessential can also reopen to curbside pickup or delivery.


Stage two of Indiana’s reopening began May 4, when nonessential retail and shopping malls will be allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity. Governor Eric Holcomb is also ending travel restrictions and permitting gatherings of up to 25 people. On May 11, restaurants and personal-care services got the green light to reopen at 50 percent capacity.


Governor Kim Reynolds announced in late April that 77 of the state’s 99 counties could reopen, with some limitations, on May 1. Malls, gyms, libraries, and restaurants can all reopen at 50 percent capacity, while horse and dog tracks can reopen without spectators. Restrictions on religious gatherings have also been lifted. The 22 counties not included in the original reopening order were allowed to lift restrictions on May 15. Bars, casinos and theaters are allowed to reopen on May 27.


Kansas entered phase one of its reopening on May 4, the date on which nonessential retail and restaurants reopened to customers. Gatherings are still limited to no more than ten people, but travel restrictions have been lifted. On May 18 gyms opened, along with personal-care businesses, which are allowed to operate on an appointment-only basis. Bars and casinos remain closed.


Phase one of Governor Andy Beshear’s “Healthy at Work” order went into effect on May 11, with nonessential construction and manufacturing allowed to reopen. Dog groomers, car dealers, and horse tracks were allowed to resume business, too.


Governor John Bel Edwards is easing Louisiana back into business, with the first steps beginning on May 1. That’s when restaurants were allowed to open outdoor seating, albeit without waiter service, and shopping malls were allowed to offer curbside pickup. On May 15 the list of businesses allowed to operate got longer. Gyms, personal care services, movie theaters and museums can now open at 25 percent capacity.


Governor Janet Mills allowed Mainers to get haircuts and go to car washes on May 1, as the state begun to slowly ease off restrictions. Unlike some of her fellow state leaders, Mills is not simply recommending face coverings. Her order requires them.


May 15 marked the end of Maryland’s stay-at-home order, allowing for many businesses, including nonessential retail and personal-care services, to open at 50 percent capacity or by appointment only. Baltimore County and Prince George’s County, along with other areas, will maintain more restrictive measures.


Manufacturing and construction was allowed to resume on May 18, Governor Charlie Baker said. Houses of worship were also given the green light to resume services at 40 percent capacity. Office spaces, personal-care services, and retail curbside service will be allowed to open on May 25.


Starting Monday, April 27, some nonessential businesses began to reopen in Minnesota. An executive order from Governor Tim Walz applies to “workers in non-customer-facing industrial and office-based businesses who cannot work from home,” he said. Walz estimated that this would put 80,000 to 100,000 people back to work. On May 18, nonessential retail was allowed to reopen at half capacity. Gatherings of 10 or fewer are also now permitted.


Starting Monday, April 27, some retail businesses were allowed to open with social-distancing measures in place. Barbers, gyms, salons, spas, and movie theaters must remain closed, though. Restaurants will still be limited to drive-through, carryout, and delivery. These orders will remain in place for at least two weeks.


Governor Mike Parson announced an aggressive reopening that began May 4. That’s when all businesses can reopen with no limitations on crowd size, as long as social-distancing guidelines are followed. The ban on large gatherings will also be allowed to expire, meaning, as the Kansas City Star notes, “amusement parks and attractions, concerts, funerals, museums, school graduations and weddings will be permitted. So will events in large venues and stadiums.” Parson’s order allows local government to enact stricter rules. Kansas City and St. Louis already have, and their stay-at-home orders will not be affected by the governor’s order.


With just 461 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths, Montana is moving this weekend to lift restrictions for individuals and businesses. The statewide stay-at-home order ended Sunday, and on Monday, April 27, retail businesses could open with social-distancing measures in place. Beginning May 4, restaurants, bars, and casinos could open with social distancing and capacity reductions. And on May 7, schools were allowed to resume in-person instruction pending decisions from local districts. Gyms, movie theaters, and museums opened their doors on May 15.


Beginning May 4, funerals, weddings, and religious services were no longer capped at ten participants, Governor Pete Ricketts announced last month. Restaurants can reopen dining rooms at half capacity, personal-care services can reopen, and day cares will be allowed to once again operate, but with a maximum of 15 children per room.


As of May 1, all retail businesses, including cannabis dispensaries, can operate with curbside pickup, an option previously only open to restaurants. On May 9, restaurants, salons, and other nonessential businesses were allowed to open with limited capacity.

New Hampshire

Barbershops, salons, and retail stores in the Granite State were allowed to open on May 11. Business owners are being asked to provide employees with face masks and customers with hand sanitizer, while converting aisles to one-way traffic. On May 18, restaurants opened were allowed to seat customers, but only outside. NBC Boston reports that restaurants are allowed to “expand outside wherever an outdoor area can be set up safely, such as parking spaces close to entrances, sidewalks, existing patios and lawn areas.”

New Jersey

Nonessential retail businesses were allowed to begin operating curbside service on May 18 in New Jersey. Governor Phil Murphy’s executive order also allowed nonessential construction to resume, along with “gatherings at which individuals remain in their closed vehicles.”

New Mexico

A limited reopening began in New Mexico starting May 1, with nonessential retailers allowed to begin offering curbside pickup. Pet services and veterinarians were also given the green light to reopen. On May 16, all retailers and houses of worship were allowed to open up but required to limit capacity to 25 percent.

New York

Several regions of the state that haven’t been hit as hard by the pandemic began reopening May 15. In theses areas — Central New York, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Southern Tier, and the Finger Lakes — manufacturing, construction, and curbside retail are now allowed to open.

North Carolina

On May 8, nonessential retail in North Carolina reopened at 50 percent capacity and child-care centers reopened for the children of working parents or parents looking for work. This marked the start of the first phase in a three-phase reopening plan. Phase two is set to begin May 22.

North Dakota

Despite never issuing a stay-at-home order, Governor Doug Burgum had ordered many nonessential businesses to close. That order ended April 30, and on May 1, all businesses, including bars and personal-care services, will be allowed to reopen with restrictions in place. Among those restrictions are a ban on standing in bars and the closure of all dance floors.


On May 4, some Ohio businesses were allowed to open, including construction and manufacturing firms. May 12 marked the great reopening of Ohio, with many retail businesses allowed to reopen. Personal-care services, however, remain closed, along with restaurant dining rooms, day cares, and places of public amusement.


Personal-care services in Oklahoma could begin operating again on Friday, April 24, though by appointment only. Gyms, restaurants, movie theaters, and houses of worship can followed on May 1. Governor Kevin Stitt said phase two of the state’s plan will allow bars to reopen, and weddings and funerals with more than ten people to be held. Phase two will be implemented, he said, if hospitals remain able to handle the flow of patients for the next two weeks.


Two dozen counties in northwest and north-central Pennsylvania moved into the yellow phase of the state’s reopening plan on May 8. With the move comes allowances for the opening of child care, retail, and gatherings of 25 people or more.

Rhode Island

One of the first states in the region to begin reopening, Rhode Island loosened restrictions on businesses on May 9, allowing nonessential retailers to open, but keeping personal-care services and entertainment businesses closed. Face coverings are also now required in Rhode Island when social distancing is not possible. On May 18, restaurants were allowed to open with outdoor seating only.

South Carolina

Retail stores previously deemed nonessential, including bookstores, department stores, and sporting-goods stores, were allowed to reopen April 20. Governor Henry McMaster’s order allowing their opening restricted the businesses to no more than five customers per 1,000 square feet. On May 11 restaurant dining rooms were allowed to open, but salons and gyms required closed.


Restaurants in Tennessee were allowed to reopen on April 27, and retail stores followed on April 29, provided they operate at 50 percent capacity. The loosened restrictions from Governor Bill Lee apply only in Tennessee counties without their own public-health departments, meaning large cities, including Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville, will be allowed to set their own timeline.


Texas’s stay-at-home order expired April 30, and the state allowed many businesses to open back up. That includes nonessential retail, malls, movie theaters, and restaurants, which must all operate at 25 percent capacity. Governor Greg Abbott is allowing personal-care services to reopen on May 8, with gyms following on May 18. And though he declined to mandate Texans to wear face coverings while in public, he did “strongly recommend” it. On May 18, Governor Abbott announced that professional sports can return at the end of the month, while both day and overnight summer camps will be allowed to open on May 31.


Utah never had a statewide stay-at-home order, but schools and restaurants were closed. On May 1, restaurants and personal-care services were allowed to reopen as long as they exercise “extreme precautions.”


Governor Phil Scott has allowed certain businesses to begin operating, including “construction operations with crews of two or less and some single-person, low-contact professional services, such as appraisers, attorneys, realtors, and others.” Farmers’ markets are also allowed to open, as of May 1.


The state’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order remains in effect until May 31, but on May 5, restrictions began to loosen in the state with the earliest outbreak. That’s when Washington allowed first allowed non-contact businesses such as carwashes and lawn car services to begin.

West Virginia

Week two of Governor Jim Justice’s phased-in reopening plan began May 4 with the reopening of some small businesses, including barbershops, dog groomers, and restaurants with outdoor seating. Nonessential retail, gyms, and a dine-in restaurants followed on May 11.


Nonessential business that can operate without customer contact, such as car washes, dog groomers, and upholsterers, were allowed to open on Wednesday, April 29. Outdoor recreational rentals may also return to business, and nonessential retail could begin offering curbside pickup.


Personal-care services in Wyoming opened on May 1 with social-distancing measures in place. Two weeks later, bars and restaurants were allowed to open. Movie theaters were also permitted to open on May 15 without limits on the number of people allowed inside.

This post has been updated throughout.

These Are the States Opening Back Up for Business