State, territorial, local, and tribal governments responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in the US with the closure of schools and public meeting areas, declaration of emergencies, lockdowns, and other measures to slow the spread of the virus.
During the period of March 1-May 31, 2020, 42 states and U.S. territories issued stay-at-home orders to residents. This was to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep people from overwhelming hospital systems. During this time, 2,355 counties were affected by stay-at-home orders. This represents 73% of all the counties in the U.S.
The first U.S. territory to implement a stay-at-home order was Puerto Rico on March 15, 2020. California followed as the first state to put a stay-at-home order in place on March 19. For fourteen days after this date, mobile phone data showed that movement was limited in most counties. During the entire observation period, almost 98% of counties with lockdown orders saw decreased movement from people leaving their homes.
A nationwide patchwork of rules for residents and businesses led to months of trial and error, as governors reopened sectors only to re-close and reopen them due to the rise of case infections.
The first state to lift its stay-at-home order was Alaska. Stay-at-home orders were lifted in the state on April 21, 2020. All other states had begun at least a phased reopening by May 2020. There were still areas that had requirements about the number of people in an area or wearing face coverings, but there were few lockdown-type shelter-in-place orders.
Only two states (California and Oregon) officially lifted their lockdown orders in 2021. California lifted its stay-at-home order on June 15, and Oregon followed on June 30.
States moved closer to lifting all restrictions on gatherings and businesses as vaccines became available. In the states where they were yet to reopen fully, authorities set targets for doing so depending on the vaccination rates and other health measures.
A full reopening came with rules in many places. Some states mandated wearing masks for unvaccinated people, and some still insisted that businesses observe social distance measures. Many states eased mask mandates for those vaccinated after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that fully vaccinated people needed not to wear masks in most outdoor and indoor settings.
All across the nation, most states resumed business as usual, and restrictions have been lifted. Nearly the entire nation was opened with few restrictions by the end of 2022. We need to keep taking steps to stop the spread of the virus. Keep reading to stay safe and protect yourself and others from the pandemic.
Get your kids, and yourself boosted and vaccinated. It’s our best approach to end the pandemic. Vaccination is effective, easily accessible, and safe. Masks
Wear your mask to help stop spreading the virus to vulnerable people. This includes the unvaccinated, the immunocompromised, and those who are pregnant.
Get tested for COVID-19 if you might have been exposed. It’s confidential and available to everyone in the country. Please stay home for the appropriate time if you test positive for COVID-19. It would be best to learn how to care for yourself if exposed.
Employers need to keep their work environment safe. As an employer, learn the state’s standards and rules on how your boss can protect you and your colleagues.
Mega-events are indoor activities with about 1,000 or more people and outdoor events with 10,000 people. Please comply with state and local recommendations for each.
Keep America healthy and safe by following travel guidelines on airlines and other forms of public transportation.