Across the country, a number of COVID-19 related executive orders restricting commerce expired this week. Many of these states have implemented phase in plans and economic task forces to advise the government on the best course of action for safely reopening their economies.
Here are updates on states where COVID-19 restrictions were recently lifted:
Alabama – Governor Ivey announced that a “Safer at Home” Executive Order will be in effect until May 15. This order encourages residents to stay home and follow good sanitation practices. Businesses may open but are subject to sanitation and social distancing guidelines. However, certain higher-risk businesses and activities are to remain closed. All retail stores are allowed to open but must have a 50 percent occupancy rate and follow social distancing and sanitation rules. Read more here.
The Alabama Small Business Commission Emergency Task Force recently put forth a plan for re-opening the state economy. For manufacturing and industry, the Task Force recommends that each organization develop an internal pandemic response team that will implement a “return-to-work” plan. It is recommended that the plan include the following: an inbound parts/materials/packages disinfection strategy; a transportation contamination mitigation strategy; an on-site health screening strategy; a social distancing strategy based on the layout and workflow of the facility; and an isolation strategy for a potential COVID-19-infected employee or contaminated facility.
Florida – The first phase of Governor Ron DeSantis’ “Re-Open Florida” plan goes into effect on Monday, May 4, for all counties except Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach. The first phase will allow retailers to open at 25% capacity. The Re-Open Florida Task Force is still taking public comment. Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach will slowly re-open based on improved health data in the coming weeks.
Georgia – On April 20, Gov. Kemp issued an order lifting some of the stay at home requirements for Georgia that began on March 27 to allow minimum basic operations at some in-person retail locations in the state. Manufacturers are open as the shelter in place order has been lifted, however, in accordance with executive orders, businesses must operate with strict social distancing and sanitation rules to keep customers and employees safe through May 13, 2020. Those rules vary by business type for a measured, health-driven approach.
Idaho – Governor Little’s “Idaho Rebounds” plan moves into stage one of four on May 1. Retail operations will be able to reopen from May 1 – May 16, provided they follow the plan’s protocols, which include social distancing, sanitation requirements, limiting close interactions and identifying strategies for addressing ill employees. The Governor’s staff will evaluate moving into phase two and beyond every two weeks. Read the full plan here.
Iowa – Governor Kim Reynolds will reopen 77 of 99 counties on May 1 with some limitations. The state public health emergency and relief efforts have been extended until May 27. The reopening guidelines among the businesses that can operate in those 77 counties include:
- Restaurants can open at 50% of their normal operating capacity. Restaurants cannot seat more than six people at a table, and all tables must be at least six feet apart. Restaurants cannot have buffets or other self-serve items.
- Malls, fitness centers, libraries and retail stores can also open at 50% of their legal occupancy capacity, which is determined by fire code. Mall operators must keep play areas and other common seating areas, such as food courts, closed.
- Race tracks, other than those conducting horse or dog races, can reopen as long as they do not permit spectators.
- Social, community, recreational and leisure sporting events are limited to 10 people or fewer.
Tennessee – On April 28, Governor Bill Lee announced a new Safer At Home order for residents of Tennessee. The order is in effect from 12:01PM on April 29, 2020 until 11:59PM May 29. The new order relaxes previous restrictions put in place.
The new order indicates certain businesses, organizations or venues that offer close-contact personal services must remain closed; such as barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, etc. However, the new order provides further information for individuals and employers to return safely to work. Under the order, individuals are encouraged permitted to return to work while following health guidelines. The order does note that six local counties (Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby and Sullivan) have local authority to issue additional orders.