The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on sweeping changes in how people interact and how business is conducted. The U.S response to the COVID-19 pandemic, since its declaration in March 2020, has largely focused on the containment and control of the spread of the coronavirus. This effort has been left up to states and local government entities that have enforced precautionary measures, that includes closures, face mask, and social distancing mandates, for example. The gradual reopening of economies by many states began in April 2020 in stages. Still, the infection rates across the country ticked up during the winter and fall season, but in early 2021, the rates are falling consistently. As states forge ahead with vaccinations and lifting restrictions, many people are wondering if and when their state will reopen. Here’s what to know.
Loosening Restrictions in Business
States are loosening restrictions overall on businesses, but some states are more or less restrictive for patients. As early as May 20, 2020 states had begun lifting the restrictions of businesses and public spaces. What you see is a nationwide patchwork of rules being applied to businesses and citizens but these rules are not set in stone as sectors are reopened and reclosed as infection rates rise and fall. Some states allow people in some spaces(restaurants, places of worship, events) either at full capacity or with capacity restriction. With vaccination campaigns happening around the country, many states are moving closer to lifting all restrictions, while others have mandates in place for the wearing of face masks in public and social distancing, for example.
Status of Restrictions
Restrictions and mobility orders vary by state, county, and also city in some cases, with some eased, lifted, tightened, or unchanged. Extreme restrictions or loosening of restrictions may increase or decrease your relative risk for COVID-19. States that have lifted restrictions include Montana, Arizona, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, and Florida, while West Virginia and some Washington counties have tightened restrictions, affecting restaurants and cosmetology and retail and outdoor recreation respectively. The majority of other states have eased some restrictions but maintain some orders in place as deemed necessary for the safety of residents and limiting the spread of COVID-19.
Extreme loosening of restrictions has the potential to have a negative outcome. In light of the increased risk of variants spreading across the nations, maintaining restrictions and not weakening them. Texas, Iowa, Mississippi, Alabama, and West Virginia, for example, all moved to end statewide pandemic restrictions, including mask mandates and caps on indoor capacity. Less extreme rollback by states like Massachusetts and New York includes a ban on all indoor dining which was imposed during the winter months. In Oregon, where the B.1.1.7 variant is now the dominant strain, a ban is placed on indoor dining and restricting capacity at other businesses. States must do all that they can to help control this pandemic. Removing restrictions too quickly can have devastating consequences in the fight against COVID-19.
If you are planning on resuming your daily activities or traveling to a high-risk state, then make sure you get a COVID test before and afterward. Get a viral COVID-19 test at your urgent care and know your status. Ask about the COVID-19 vaccine and protect yourself from dangerous variants. Call today or book a telemedicine appointment.