State Watch

Several states have yet to issue stay-at-home orders

Twelve states have yet to issue stay-at-home orders to their residents despite a rising number of coronavirus cases and deaths across the country.

The number of states that have yet to impose strict recommendations on people to stay at home is steadily decreasing, and those not doing so are likely to come under heavy pressure in the wake of new estimates from the Trump administration that as many as 240,000 people could die from the coronavirus even with heavy social distancing.

Every state has imposed at least some restrictions, such as making all restaurants switch to takeout or delivery only, banning large gatherings, and closing schools. And some states have issued stay-at-home orders for affected regions or the most vulnerable populations. 

Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide state-at-home order on Wednesday after coming under heavy pressure for days. Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf also expanded a stay-at-home order to the entire state after initially limiting it to certain counties.

Here’s a look at the policies in the states that still don’t have stay-at-home orders.


Republican Gov. Kay Ivey is advising people to stay home but has resisted issuing an official statewide stay-at-home order because of concerns about effects on the economy.

A shelter-in-place order is in effect for Birmingham due to action taken by local officials.

Statewide, Alabama residents face restrictions including a ban on large gatherings, closures of businesses deemed nonessential, an order that restaurants serve takeout or delivery only, and closures of schools.


GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson said last week that he did “not want to go to a shelter-in-place environment.”

Arkansas has ordered bans on large gatherings and school closures and mandated that all restaurants switch to takeout or delivery only. Hutchinson also issued a directive ordering certain nonessential businesses to close, including barbershops and spas.   


GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds has insisted that a statewide stay-at-home order isn’t necessary, pointing to measures already in place to limit gatherings to 10 people, requiring restaurants to do takeout or delivery only, and asking businesses to let employees work from home.

All of Iowa’s K-12 schools also voluntarily closed after Reynolds recommended a four-week shutdown on March 15. “I can’t lock the state down,” Reynolds said Tuesday, according to the Des Moines Register


Several localities in Missouri are already under stay-at-home orders. But GOP Gov. Mike Parson has rejected calls from local officials and medical groups for a statewide order and argued against a one-size-fits-all approach.

He noted on Tuesday that there were still 95 counties with fewer than five coronavirus cases.

“I have to take all that into consideration as I make decisions on how it affects the economy and how it will affect those areas,” Parson said, according to The Kansas City Star.

All public schools have temporarily closed, although Parson did not order them to do so. Parson did order casinos in the state to close.


Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican, has ordered that the entire state limit social gatherings to 10 people.

Otherwise, Ricketts has limited further restrictions to counties where there has been confirmed community spread of the coronavirus.

Ricketts has ordered certain affected counties to require restaurants to serve only takeout and delivery, while restaurants in other counties that are not covered by those orders can have up to 10 patrons. Ricketts has indicated that he does not plan to issue a stay-at-home order.

North Dakota

GOP Gov. Doug Burgum has ordered that schools close, that restaurants limit service to takeout or delivery, and that nonessential businesses such as health clubs, movie theaters and salons close.

Many Indian reservations in the state have established curfews and stay-at-home orders on their own. Burgum indicated that statewide guidance could change if the situation worsens.

“It’s not about staying at home. It’s about avoiding contact. We’ll keep monitoring the situation, and if our approach isn’t working, we may issue additional guidance,” Burgum said last week.


GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt has urged older and vulnerable people to stay home but has not issued such an order applying to all residents.

Mayors in some localities such as Oklahoma City and Tulsa have ordered residents to stay home.

Stitt has also issued an executive order requiring travelers from certain states with high numbers of coronavirus cases, including New York and Washington, to self-quarantine for 14 days. Oklahoma public schools are closed, while nonessential businesses and restaurant dining rooms in counties with confirmed coronavirus cases must close. 

South Carolina

Some localities, including Charleston and Columbia, have directed residents to stay home, but there is still no statewide order in place. GOP Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered all nonessential businesses, beaches and schools closed but has stopped short of a stay-at-home order.

“We are not ordering people to stay at home, but from the very beginning we’ve been telling people to stay home … and a lot of people are staying home,” McMaster said. 

South Dakota

GOP Gov. Kristi Noem issued an executive order last week that advises people over the age of 60 or who have respiratory or cardiac conditions to “take extra precautions and remain home if possible.”

But Noem has not ordered those populations or the rest of the state’s residents to stay home and has largely taken a hands-off approach. Some cities, including Sioux Falls, have moved to close restaurants and nonessential businesses.


Many localities that include urban centers such as Houston, San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth have told residents to stay home. Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, this week issued an executive order directing residents to minimize nonessential gatherings and physical contact with people outside their households. He declined to formally call it a stay-at-home order but said that it effectively advised Texans to stay home as much as possible.

Abbott has also issued executive orders to prohibit gatherings of 10 or more people, limit restaurants to takeout or delivery, and close schools.

He has also mandated a 14-day quarantine for people arriving from several states and cities, including Louisiana, New York, California and Washington.


Some counties, including Salt Lake County and Summit County, have issued enforceable stay-at-home orders, while GOP Gov. Gary Herbert has issued a directive encouraging people to “stay safe, stay home.”

However, Herbert’s directive explicitly states that it is “not to be confused with a shelter-in-place order.” Herbert has also ordered all restaurants in the state to offer only takeout or delivery services.


GOP Gov. Mark Gordon said this week that the state had no plans for a stay-at-home order.

“If we’re going to issue a shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order, it will not have multiple exemptions. It will be a true stay-at-home order,” Gordon said, according to The Associated Press.

Gordon has ordered schools and nonessential businesses to close. The municipality of Jackson has issued a stay-at-home order for residents.

Tags Alabama Arkansas Florida Kristi Noem Missouri Nebraska North Dakota Oklahoma Pennsylvania Ron DeSantis South Dakota Texas Utah Wyoming

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