Report: More states reopening with fewer restrictions

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Published Friday, April 9, 2021
by Bethany Blankley | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) - Iowa, Florida, Wyoming, South Dakota and Texas have the least coronavirus restrictions and have fully reopened, according to a new analysis of state regulated coronavirus restrictions published by the personal finance site, WalletHub.

WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 13 key metrics to rank them according to restriction levels. Data analyzed is as of April 5 and includes whether restaurants are fully or partially open, if there are state mask mandates and workplace temperature screenings, among others.

The 10 states with the fewest restrictions are Iowa, Florida, Wyoming, South Dakota, Texas, Alaska, South Carolina, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Montana.

Iowa ranks first because it has the least coronavirus restrictions, WalletHub notes, is one of 24 states that have no limits on large gatherings, has reopened all "non-essential" businesses, and is one of only 13 states that neither requires nor recommends working from home.

States with the most restrictions are Vermont, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Virginia, Washington, New York, California, Maine, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Some states improved or worsened in their rankings compared to a previous analysis the site conducted.

Texas, for example, moved up 28 positions after Gov. Greg Abbott fully reopened the state and eliminated the statewide mask mandate. Texas bars and restaurants are fully reopened and restrictions on large gatherings no longer exist.

Neighboring Louisiana fell in the ranking by eight positions partially because its governor continues to impose restrictions on large gatherings, limit restaurant and bar capacity, and still recommends that individuals work from home.

California, which has had some of the most restrictive coronavirus-related regulations, ranked 7th, also reported the most coronavirus cases nationwide. It remains one of only three states to currently limit gatherings to 25 people. Bars remain closed while "non-essential" businesses are open with limits.

The analysis also found that 76% of states with fewer restrictions had lower unemployment rates. California's high unemployment rate corresponds to having some of the strictest regulations in the country, whereas Iowa's is the opposite.

The AARP has also listed state restrictions, while the travel site Kayak.com has listed travel restrictions by state. In 38 states, there are no quarantine or testing requirements for out-of-state travelers. In 13 states, there are either quarantine requirements or recommendations in place.

In New Jersey, for example, there is a mandatory 14-day quarantine in place for travelers arriving from high-risk states. "The CDC has urged residents of New Jersey to refrain from non-essential domestic travel," Kayak states.

Residents and travelers arriving in California from out-of-state or another county are advised to self-quarantine for 10 days, the site states.

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