States with the Fewest Coronavirus Restrictions
Americans experienced unprecedented restrictions on their everyday life in order to fight the coronavirus, but now most states have partially reopened. In order to determine the states with the fewest coronavirus restrictions, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 11 key metrics. Our data set ranges from whether child-care programs and restaurants have reopened to the presence or absence of a “shelter-in-place” order. Read on for the state ranking, additional insight from a panel of experts and a full description of our methodology.
States with the Fewest COVID-19 Restrictions
Delta in Overall Rank vs. May 5
|49||District of Columbia||14.88||0|
Note: Rankings are based on data available as of 12:30 p.m. ET on Monday, May 18, 2020.
COVID-19 Death Rate vs Restrictions
Note: Rank 1 on the “COVID19 Death Rate Ranking” means fewest deaths and Rank 1 on “Fewest Restrictions Ranking” means the fewest restrictions in place.
When deciding on how to manage restrictions, including when to lift them, states must consider the health of their citizens first and foremost. For more insight on this topic, WalletHub turned to a panel of experts. Click on the experts below to read their bios and responses to the following key questions:
- What are the top measures that can be taken in order to safely open the economy and prevent a second wave of coronavirus infections?
- What would be the consequences of opening the economy too early?
- What are the best ways to protect the population most at risk while resuming economic activity?
- What can individuals do to safely begin to get back to normal?
In order to identify the states that have the fewest coronavirus restrictions, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 11 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the fewest restrictions.
We then determined the weighted average across all metrics to calculate an overall score for each state and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.
- Requirement to Wear a Face Mask in Public: Double Weight (~9.30 Points)
Note: This metric measures the presence or absence of state action requiring residents to wear a face mask in public.
- 1 – State recommends residents wear face mask in public;
- 0 – State requires residents to wear face mask in public.
- Travel Restrictions: Full Weight (~4.65 Points)
Note: This composite metric measures state Employee Restricted Travel enactment and Domestic Travel Limitations.
Employee Restricted Travel:
- 1 – State never had Employee Restricted Travel;
- 0.5 – State had but lifted Employee Restricted Travel;
- 0 – State has Employee Restricted Travel.
Domestic Travel Limitations:
- 1 – State never had Domestic Travel Limitations;
- 0.75 – State had imposed but lifted Domestic Travel Limitations;
- 0.5 – State has recommended Domestic Travel Limitations;
- 0 – State has imposed Domestic Travel Limitations by executive order.
- Large Gatherings Restrictions: Triple Weight (~13.95 Points)
Note: This metric measures the presence or absence of policies that have banned large gatherings in a state.
- 1 – State never banned large gatherings;
- 0.8 – State had banned large gatherings but lifted all restrictions;
- 0.7 – State that had banned all gatherings, but have eased restrictions by banning gatherings of 50 participants or more;
- 0.6 – State had banned gatherings, but has eased restrictions by banning gatherings of 20-25 participants or more;
- 0.4 – State has banned gatherings of 10 participants or more;
- 0.2 – State has banned gatherings of 5 participants or more;
- 0 – State has banned all gatherings.
- Statewide School Restart: Double Weight (~9.30 Points)
Note: This metric measures whether a state has ordered/recommended the closure of all public schools.
- 1 – State recommended closure;
- 0.5 – State had but lifted order to close;
- 0 – State has ordered closure.
- Reopening of Restaurants and Bars: Quadruple Weight (~18.60 Points)
Note: This metric measures whether a state has imposed mandatory closings of restaurants and bars to the public.
- 1 – State has never closed restaurants and bars due to COVID-19;
- 0.75 – State had closed but fully re-opened restaurants and bars;
- 0.5 – State had closed but reopened for limited dine-in service with capacity limits;
- 0.25 – Limited dine-in service;
- 0 – Closed except for takeout/delivery.
- Reopening of Non-Essential Businesses: Double Weight (~9.30 Points)
Note: This metric measures whether a state has imposed mandatory closings of non-essential businesses to the public.
- 1 – States that have never closed non-essential businesses;
- 0.8 – All non-essential businesses have fully reopened;
- 0.6 – Certain non-essential businesses reopened;
- 0.4 – Certain non-essential businesses opened or have been reopened with reduced capacity;
- 0.2 – Certain non-essential businesses are closed;
- 0 – All non-essential businesses are closed.
- Child Care Programs Reopening: Full Weight (~4.65 Points)
Note: This metric measures states policies regarding the reopening of Child Care Programs.
- 1 – Child care programs open;
- 0.6 – Child care programs reopening according to state guidelines;
- 0.4 – Child care programs closed with exceptions for essential workers;
- 0 – Child care programs closed.
- Strictness of “Shelter in Place” Order: Quadruple Weight (~18.60 Points)
Note: This metric measures whether a state has imposed mandatory quarantine policies.
- 1 – State never issued “Shelter in Place” order;
- 0.9 – States that have lifted all stay-at-home mandatory restrictions;
- 0.7 – Only high-risk groups quarantine;
- 0.5 – Limited statewide quarantine (religious exemptions and/or beaches or state parks are open);
- 0 – Statewide mandatory quarantine.
- Presence of Multistate Agreements to Reopen: Full Weight (~4.65 Points)
Note: This metric measures the participation in Multistate Agreement or Regional Partnership by state.
- 1 – State is part of Multistate Agreement or Regional Partnership;
- 0 – State is not part of Multistate Agreement or Regional Partnership.
- Suspension or Postponement of Legislative Sessions: Half Weight (~2.33 Points)
Note: This metric measures whether a state has suspended or postponed Legislative Sessions.
- 1 – State never suspended or postponed Legislative Session;
- 0.9 – State Legislative Session has been resumed;
- 0 – State legislature has postponed its Legislative Session.
- Guidance on Elective Surgery and Medical Procedures: Full Weight (~4.65 Points)
Note: This metric refers to whether states have issued guidance for hospitals and other medical facilities to reschedule nonessential surgeries to ease the demand for medical supplies during the coronavirus crisis, or previously had such guidance but lifted it.
- 1 – State never issued guidance on elective surgeries;
- 0.5 – State had but lifted guidance on elective surgeries;
- 0 – State has issued guidance on elective surgeries.
Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the National Governors Association, Kaiser Family Foundation, Editorial Projects in Education, Child Care Aware of America, Ballotpedia, National Conference of State Legislatures, American College of Radiology, the COVID Tracking Project and news reports.
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