We recently saw the new guidelines for opening up the country that were announced by the White House. Basically, in a nutshell, states need to show a decline of cases over the span of two weeks and then they can enter the first phase of re-opening up.
The decisions are being left to state and local leaders and so we will see re-openings come in a lot of different forms.
Some states are forming coalition clusters with each other and trying to make decisions together so that they are on the same page as a region like those on the West Coast (California, Oregon, and Washington).
This makes a lot of sense as regions will be affected by the decisions made by their neighbors.
Some states are announcing specific factors or guidelines that must be met before reopening — usually with a focus on testing and tracing and not overburdening the local healthcare systems.
For example, Michigan wants to see:
- a sustained reduction in cases
- expanded testing and tracing capabilities
- sufficient healthcare capacity
- best practices for the workplace
- Closely monitor and track potential cases
- Prevent infection of high-risk people
- Prepare hospitals to handle surges
- Develop therapeutics to meet demand
- Ensure schools, businesses and child-care facilities can support social distancing
- Develop guidelines for when to ask Californians to stay home again if necessary
For businesses that are opening back up, curbside deliveries may be more common and social distancing/face coverings may still be required.
So people will be working again, but things will still feel different due to the protective measures being implemented.
Also, businesses are opening up in phases. So don’t expect to see all businesses allowed to resume normal hours at once. Most states will have several different phases that they work through over the next few weeks or months.
Many of the stay at home orders are set to expire at the end of this month, so quite a few states will be making decisions just before then in the next week to week and a half.
As things open up, you will likely see some patterns emerge such as opening up outdoor spaces first and keeping indoor venues closed such as schools. Elective procedures are also among the first activities that are being allowed.
So if you want to golf or visit a dentist, those will be one of the first things to open up. But if you want to go to the gym or get a haircut, those are probably going to happen later in many states.
Some states are being very conservative and vague about what will open up and when (which is probably smart) but others are being more specific and have already begun to open things back up.
Here’s a rundown of what some states are doing and probably what type of things you can expect to open up in the next couple of weeks.
In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott announced that the state will be opening up state parks and also easing restrictions on retail stores.
Basically, they will be allowing “retail to-go” which means that the stores can deliver items to customer’s cars and even homes. Schools are remaining shut down though.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to start opening up next week and has even opened up beaches as of this weekend.
They may also start by allowing things like elective surgeries and then phase in other needs accordingly. It’s possible that Southeast Florida, which was an epicenter of the outbreak, could be on a different timeline from the rest of the state.
Ohio, Idaho, and North Dakota
Ohio, Idaho and North Dakota are reportedly ready to open up nonessential businesses starting on May 1. In states like Ohio, opening up will still be a gradual process and things like social distancing and face coverings will still be present.
The governor signed an executive order that opened outdoor recreational facilities including places like golf courses, beach shops, marinas, and outdoor shooting ranges but indoor recreational facilities must remained closed. Even at the outdoor locations, social distancing guidelines are still in effect.
Montana is reportedly planning on lifting restrictions April 24. Montana has seen a downward trend in coronavirus cases since late March and so they have easily met the requirement of two weeks of declining cases needed to enter “Phase One.”
New York is working with neighboring states like Connecticut and New Jersey to open up certain public areas like marinas and boat yards for recreational use. Other outdoor facilities like golf courses have been opened, subject to certain types of restrictions.
Vermont is set to start re-opening some businesses starting May 1, such as farmers markets. They also have emphasized reopening certain types of businesses such as property management, one-to-two-person construction crews, and “low-or-no-contact” services like municipal clerks and attorneys.
Alaska is re-opening up elective surgeries and doctor visits for non-urgent needs on May 4.
To see what the latest status is on your state, check out the CNN article.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC.