Special Report

Every State's Rules for COVID-19 Social Distancing

Social or physical distancing is considered the best available means to slow down the spread of a disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from one another, not gather in groups, and stay out of crowded places. The goal is to save lives by keeping the local health care systems from being overwhelmed.

Even though there is not a nationwide stay-at-home order to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S., every state has implemented its own set of rules at different times and at varying degrees or restrictiveness. Eight states have yet to issue formal orders mandating people to not leave their place of residence.

To determine every state’s rules on social distancing and restrictions on movement, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed each state’s governor executive orders since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the United States at the end of January.  

Stay-at-home orders have halted travel and disrupted everyday lives for most Americans, but the governors of some states have waited weeks after the first confirmed case in their states to issue such orders. South Carolina was the last state to enact a stay-at-home order on April 6 – exactly a month after the first confirmed COVID-19 case in the state. People have continued to travel and maintain normal activities, potentially exposing others to the coronavirus and further spreading the disease.

As the number of COVID-19 cases skyrockets and hospitals all over the country run out of life-saving supplies — and as the death toll continues to rise — pressure to impose a nationwide stay-at-home order mounts. Some projections predict that up to 240,000 Americans may die from the novel coronavirus until the pandemic is contained. These are the states with the highest confirmed COVID-19 cases per capita.

Click here to see state rules for COVID-19 distancing.

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