To monitor the state and local government response to the coronavirus, MultiState created a COVID-19 State and Local Policy Dashboard in early March that provides a quick and easy reference to updates and information issued by state and key local agencies and policymakers. But after a government-mandated shutdown of many businesses across the country, governors are now focused on “reopening” the economy.
MultiState's COVID-19 State Reopening Guide provides a numerical rating of each state’s degree of “openness” — in other words, how open for business is each state now that states have begun shifting their focus to economic recovery? Each state’s rating is calculated based on a daily grading of eleven key factors. The map and chart below indicate current ratings, and the matrix and methodology section dives into the details.
Once a state decides its public health crisis has abated sufficiently to begin easing restrictions, the reopening process in each state is unique but generally resembles a reversal of the initial order of shutdowns we witnessed on a rapid basis in mid-March. This phased-in approach will take much longer than the initial shutdown and could still potentially reverse if a COVID-19 outbreak reemerges.
We frame the reopening question as “how open for business is each state?” instead of "how robust is each state's reopening plan" because states are starting from different positions. A handful of states never issued stay-at-home orders at all, while all states mandated at least some business closings on a sliding scale of strictness during the pandemic.
Once each state is evaluated based on the eleven factors described in the methodology, the factors are then condensed into each state’s “openness score.” The openness ratings range “most open,” indicating the state is fully open beyond standard social distancing guidelines (the highest possible score is 100) to “least open,” indicating the state is in full lockdown to (a score of 0). Each state’s grading is updated daily by our team of analysts.
Need Additional Data, Reporting, or Analysis?
If you’d like to learn more about how we assessed each state, in-depth data on each of the eleven factors that went into each state’s score, or source materials, please contact us for premium access. There is a wealth of information behind each state’s score, and we can customize additional data, reporting, and analysis to meet any needs. MultiState is able to track, report, and provide custom research and analysis for specific industries to help you navigate the reopening process in all 50 states.
Click here for a snapshot of the data behind each state ranking (grades for each state factor are color-coded, with green closer to “open” on the openness spectrum and red closer to “closed”).
States were evaluated based on eleven factors:
- Are residents under a stay-at-home order? This factor examines whether the state is currently under a stay-at-home order. Considerations include how strict the order is (mandates versus guidance) and whether the order has expired or been replaced by a weaker safer-at-home order.
- Is the state under a mandatory curfew? (factor added Feb. 8, 2021)This factor examines whether the state is under a mandatory curfew, similar to a stay at home order but restricted by hours.
- Are there restrictions on private or public gatherings? (factor added Feb. 8, 2021) This factor examines whether the state has put a numerical or percentage limitation on the amount of people who can gather publicly or privately in outdoor or indoor settings.
- Are non-essential offices (not customer-facing) allowed to open? This factor examines whether non-customer facing offices may operate with minimal social distancing and sanitation requirements. Considerations include reduced occupancy requirements or if activity beyond minimum basic operations is permitted.
- Are non-essential retail open? This factor examines whether non-essential retail businesses may operate with minimal social distancing and sanitation requirements. Considerations include whether the business is limited to pick-up and delivery, reduced capacity requirements, and strict PPE requirements
- Are personal care services open to customers? This factor examines whether personal care services (e.g., barbershops, salons) may operate with minimal social distancing and sanitation requirements. Considerations include reduced capacity requirements and strict PPE, social distancing, and sanitation mandates.
- Are physical fitness businesses open to customers? This factor examines whether physical fitness businesses (e.g., gyms, fitness classes) may operate with minimal social distancing and sanitation requirements. Considerations include reduced capacity requirements and strict PPE, social distancing, and sanitation mandates.
- Are restaurants open beyond pickup and delivery? This factor examines whether restaurants may operate with minimal social distancing and sanitation requirements. Considerations include whether dine-in customers are permitted, reduced capacity requirements, indoor versus outdoor seating, and strict PPE, social distancing (table spacing and maximum party requirements), and sanitation mandates.
- Are bars open beyond pickup and delivery? This factor examines whether bars may operate with minimal social distancing and sanitation requirements. Considerations include whether dine-in customers are permitted, reduced capacity requirements, indoor versus outdoor seating, and strict PPE, social distancing (bar seating permitted, table spacing, and maximum party requirements), and sanitation mandates.
- Are venues that service large crowds open? This factor examines whether large crowd venus (e.g., concerts, sports stadiums) of over 50 people may operate with minimal social distancing and sanitation requirements. Considerations include large gathering prohibitions or guidelines, indoor or outdoor requirements, and strict social distancing mandates.
- Local Preemption and Statewide vs. Regional Approaches. This factor examines whether the state will approach reopenings on a statewide, regional, or county-by-county timeline. A key consideration here is whether the state has announced a statewide approach and whether the state’s executive orders explicitly preempt local measures that are more restrictive than state measures or whether it explicitly allows local governments to pass orders more restrictive than statewide orders.
Each of these eleven factors is given a rating (red, orange, yellow, green) based on how open the state is for each factor. These ratings are then run through a weighted formula to produce a score from 0 to 100.
Retired Factors as of Feb. 8, 2021:
- How broadly does the state define “essential business”? If the state is under a stay-at-home order that requires non-essential businesses to close, this factor examines how the state defined essential businesses based on whether the definition is in line with or more or less permissive than CISA Guidance.
- Are construction sites allowed to operate? This factor examines whether construction sites may operate with minimal social distancing and sanitation requirements. Considerations include whether construction is defined as an essential business and what types of limits are placed on construction operations.