Which States Are Opening For Business? Here Is the Breakdown
For many U.S. residents, social distancing and stay-at-home mandates have been the new way of life for several weeks. This could soon change, however. While social distancing rules may not be going anywhere, various states are beginning to lift restrictions and open up businesses that were previously closed under the “non-essential” guidelines.

“As American businesses begin to reopen, state and local REALTOR® associations across the country are working closely with their respective governments and business communities to ensure the real estate industry is safely at the heart of our nation’s economic recovery,” National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) President Vince Malta told RISMedia. “Although we are all eager to get back to work, NAR continues to urge our members to prioritize the health and well being of themselves, their clients and the American public during ongoing reopening and recovery efforts.”

Here’s what each state is doing:

Alabama

Governor Kay Ivey’s stay-at-home order is in place until April 30. Following that date, the governor will follow state task- force recommendations of allowing smaller retailers and businesses to reopen first, but with precautionary measures in place. Schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year.

Alaska

On April 22, Governor Mike Dunleavy announced phase one of the state’s “Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan.” Most businesses began opening up with limited services on April 24, including restaurants (at 25 percent capacity), retail (at 25 percent capacity), personal services, gyms, camping, and social or religious gatherings. Gatherings have a 20-person cap. Social distancing and strict disinfecting guidelines are still in effect. K-12 schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year.

Arizona

Governor Doug Ducey set an expiration date of April 30 for stay-at-home orders. He announced on Twitter that he is working with industry and business leaders “on a plan for economic recovery.”

Arkansas

On April 24, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced the state would begin lifting restrictions on May 4. He created the Governor’s Economic Recovery Task Force, appointing 27 leaders from across the state who will present a report on May 4 with recommendations on how to best proceed.

California

The State of California is under stay-at-home orders until further notice. Governor Gavin Newsom joined a multi-state task force with Oregon and Washington to discuss a plan for reopening.

Colorado

Colorado was under a stay-at-home order through April 26. Beginning on April 27, the state moved into a “Safer at Home” phase. Residents are encouraged to stay home as much as possible; however, it is not mandatory. Some businesses like retail can reopen, elective medical procedures can resume, and other services continue to stay closed, such as gyms, clubs and spas. Other businesses, including personal training, dog grooming and tattoo parlors can reopen but with strict precautions.

Connecticut

Governor Lamont extended stay-at-home orders through at least May 20. In the latest briefing, Lamont announced the state may start reopening sometime in June. Multiple states have allied with Connecticut to coordinate a plan for reopening, including Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

District of Columbia

D.C’s stay-at-home order expires on May 15. In the latest situational update, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced some businesses would be allowed to reopen with social distancing and other restrictions this summer, with recovery beginning in fall of 2020 and getting back to “normal” by spring or summer of 2021.

Delaware

Governor John Carney issued a stay-at-home order that is in effect until May 15 or until “the public health threat is eliminated.” Residents must now also wear face coverings in public settings.

Florida

Governor Ron DeSantis said he will announce soon whether he will lift the restrictions in place—a task force had until April 24 to come up with a plan for safely reopening the state. However, some rules were relaxed in several cities and counties, including Jacksonville and Brevard County, on April 17.

“We were classified as ‘essential’ and were allowed to continue providing services, as long as we did so according to the CDC guidelines. We are going to continue providing services in a responsible manner and doing everything we can to get everyone more accustomed to doing showings and transactions virtually so we can limit physical interactions.” – Rei Mesa, President & CEO, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Realty

Georgia

The state’s shelter-in-place order is in effect through April 30. On April 14, several businesses were allowed to reopen with “minimum basic operations,” including gyms, bowling alleys, barbers, massage therapists, and more.

“REALTORS® have been open the entire time here as we’ve been deemed an ‘essential service.’ We’ve just been following CDC and federal guidelines. From a safety standpoint, however, you’re only as good as those who are practicing social distancing and being cautious. I do think that the state opening up things like massage parlors and salons sends the wrong message. If you look at the order on a granular level through, I think they’re trying to follow the guidelines issued by the CDC, but they didn’t communicate that properly.” – Dan Forsman, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Georgia Properties

Hawaii

Governor David Y. Ige extended the stay-at-home order across the state to May 31, and is also enforcing a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers entering the state or going to other islands.

Idaho

The state’s stay-at-home order is in effect until April 30. Governor Brad Little announced “non-essential” businesses can reopen after April 30 but must prepare operational plans to maintain social distancing for both staff and patrons, as well as provide the proper protective coverings for employees and limit the number of people in the business at one time.

Illinois

Governor Jay Robert Pritzker extended the state’s stay-at-home order until May 31. He will begin opening businesses back up on May 1, allowing curbside service at retail stores and resuming elective surgeries.

Indiana

Governor Eric Holcomb extended the state’s stay-at-home order until May 1, but said the date could be extended again “if the outbreak warrants it.”

Iowa

Governor Kim Reynolds announced on Friday, April 24 that the state would be relaxing COVID-19 restrictions, while still maintaining precautions like standing six feet apart from each other. The governor removed the ban on elective surgeries.

Kansas

The state’s stay-at-home order expires on May 3. Governor Laura Kelly is working on a plan for reopening the state, but it has not yet been announced.

Kentucky

On March 23, Governor Andy Beshear announced the state will begin a gradual reopening of Phase 1 health care services, allowing elective surgeries to continue but with precautions. The state’s “Healthy at Home” mandate is currently in effect until further notice.

Louisiana

Governor John Bel Edwards’s stay-at-home order expires on April 30. On April 17, he announced the state is “not where we need to be” in order to reopen, but expects to be closer by May 1. Schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year.

Maine

On April 23, Governor Janet Mills announced she had a plan for gradually reopening Maine’s economy that would be “driven by public health considerations.” The current stay-at-home order is set to expire on April 30.

Maryland

The state’s stay-at-home order is currently in effect until further notice, as is the executive order for wearing face coverings in any public areas or businesses. Maryland’s governor, Larry Hogan, is planning a gradual rollout of the state’s recovery phase, which includes expanding testing capacity and bolstering healthcare efforts.

Massachusetts

The state’s stay-at-home advisory was extended to May 4. Schools will remain closed for the remainder of the year, and day care centers must remain closed until at least June.

Michigan

On April 24, Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order through May 15. In addition, residents must wear face coverings when entering enclosed public spaces. Some restrictions on outdoor activities will be lifted, allowing some to return to work—this includes landscapers, nurseries and retailers for curbside pick-up and delivery. Schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year.

Minnesota

Governor Waltz signed an executive order allowing some residents to return to work in industrial, manufacturing and office settings on April 27. The governor also allowed some recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, boating and golfing to restart on April 18. Schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year.

Mississippi

On March 24, Governor Tate Reeves signed a new executive order to begin reopening the state’s economy. The “safer at home” order will last until May 11 and suggests residents remain at home, but does not mandate them to. Businesses such as retail stores will begin opening at half capacity; however, restaurants will remain as pick-up- and curbside-only. Schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year.

Missouri

Governor Mike Parson extended the state’s “Stay Home Missouri” order until May 3. He also announced the state’s framework for moving into a recovery phase, which will be completed according to the needs and risk level of local municipalities. Schools will remain closed for the school year.

Montana

On April 22, Governor Steve Bullock announced the gradual and phased reopening of the state, with businesses set to open April 27. The governor asks residents to continue adhering to social distancing guidelines and to limit gatherings. Schools can reopen starting May 7 at the discretion of local school boards, and restaurants can open at reduced capacity.

“We’ve been restricting our office hours since March 27 because we wanted to be as cautious as possible. We are continuing to do showings if the sellers are okay with allowing us into their homes. We are going in with masks, gloves, disinfectants and trying to be as cautious as we can—and that’s what we’ll continue to do. – Bonnie Beuning, Owner, CENTURY 21 Northwest Realty MT

Nebraska

Nebraska does not have a stay-at-home order. However, Governor Pete Ricketts said he will continue asking residents to socially distance themselves, and restaurants and businesses remain closed. Schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year.

Nevada

The state’s stay-at-home order goes through April 30. Governor Steve Sisolak announced the state will be joining California, Oregon, Colorado and Washington in a plan for reopening—no date has been announced.

New Hampshire

The state’s stay-at-home order is in effect until May 4. Governor Chris Sununu has not yet announced a date for reopening, and schools will remain closed for the school year.

New Jersey

Governor Phil Murphy will soon be releasing details about his plan to reopen the state, which is taking a regional approach with five other neighboring states. The stay-at-home order does not yet have an end date. Schools are closed until May 15.

New Mexico

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s stay-at-home order was extended to May 15. Schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year.

New York

The state’s stay-at-home and school closure orders currently go through May 15. Although no firm dates have been announced, Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio have said the reopening plan may be staggered, with some areas of New York opening before New York City.

North Carolina

The state’s stay-at-home order was extended to May 8. Governor Roy Cooper’s plan has restrictions being lifted in phases; however, more details have not emerged. Schools are closed until May 15.

North Dakota

There are no stay-at-home orders in place, but there are state-wide restrictions. Non-essential businesses remain closed until April 30, and Governor Doug Burgum plans to partially reopen the state on May 1 while still following mandatory health protocols on the number of customers who can enter a business. Schools, however, will remain closed until further notice, with schools allowed to reopen for some activities starting in May.

Ohio

The state’s stay-at-home order expires May 1. Governor Mike DeWine has plans to open the state up on that date, following a phase-in approach. Schools, however, will remain closed for the school year.

Oklahoma

Starting April 24, the state allowed several businesses to reopen for appointments only, including hair salons, spas, pet groomers, state parks, etc. Beginning May 1, restaurants, entertainment venues, places of worship, and more will be allowed to reopen. Schools remain closed and the state’s “safer-at-home” order is in effect until May 6.

Oregon

The state’s stay-at-home order is continuing until further notice. Governor Kate Brown is allowing elective surgeries to continue on May 1, and schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year.

Pennsylvania

The state’s stay-at-home order expires on May 8, with restrictions starting to lift on that date, particularly for construction, curbside pickup and car sales. Schools will remain closed for the school year.

Rhode Island

Governor Gina Raimondo extended the state’s stay-at-home order to May 8. Social gatherings are restricted to five people or less, and schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year. Businesses have not been scheduled to reopen yet, but the state will do so in phases. Eat-in restaurants will open by May 8.

South Carolina

Governor Henry McMaster’s stay-at-home order expires on April 27, but may be extended further. Some non-essential businesses were allowed to reopen starting April 20, including furniture stores, jewelry stores and department stores with the exception of hardware and home improvement stores. Schools are currently closed until April 30.

South Dakota

The state has no stay-at-home orders except in two counties in South Dakota with vulnerable populations—they are practicing social distancing only. School will be cancelled for the remainder of the school year.

Tennessee

Governor Bill Lee’s stay-home order expires April 30. The state plans to reopen completely by May 1, but schools will remain closed for the school year.

Texas

Businesses could begin offering “retail-to-go” on April 24 and state parks reopened on April 20. State schools remain closed until the end of the school year.

“I think people are ready to get back to doing business as normal; however, I think real estate agents, more than ever, need to be extra sensitive to sellers and adjust accordingly. When we are showing a home, we have to remember we are going into their personal space. We’re just going to have to overcommunicate with everyone, including our sellers, and just make sure that we show houses in a way that makes everyone comfortable.” – Jennifer Shemwell, President, Phyllis Browning Company

Utah

Utah’s stay-at-home order expires May 1, and Governor Gary Herbert is hoping to reopen the state on beginning on that date, in phases starting with elective surgeries, sit-down dining and gyms. Schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year.

Vermont

Governor Phil Scott’s stay-home order is active until May 15. Low-contact business could begin reopening as of April 20. Schools will remain closed for the school year.

Virginia

Governor Ralph Northam’s stay-home order is active until June 10, and schools will remain closed for the school year. Businesses, however, may potentially reopen starting May 8.

Washington

The state’s stay-home order will expire on May 4, but that could be extended as Governor Jay Inslee said the state is “not close” to reopening. Schools will remain closed for the school year.

West Virginia

Governor Jim Justice’s stay-home order does not have an expiration date. Schools will remain closed for the school year.

Wisconsin

Governor Tony Evers’ “safer-at-home” order was extended to May 26. Schools will remain closed for the school year.

Wyoming

The state does not currently have any stay-at-home orders, but businesses and restaurants are closed until April 30. Schools will be closed until May 1.

As the coronavirus and its impact on the industry unfold, RISMedia is providing resources and updates. Get the latest.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at [email protected]

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