Special Report

Every State’s Rules for Stay at Home and Social Distancing

Most of the United States is in lockdown as people are staying inside, keeping clear of the novel coronavirus that has killed about 30,000 Americans as of April 16. Nonessential businesses are closed, any social gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited, and as of April 16, stay-at-home orders are in effect in all but eight states.

To slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and save lives by keeping the local health care systems from being overwhelmed, each state has implemented its own set of rules — at different times and at varying degrees or restrictiveness.

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

According to health experts, social or physical distancing is the best available means to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Under the few circumstances, people are allowed to go outside but are asked to keep a distance of at least 6 feet from one another, unless they live in the same household.

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 latest state to enact a stay-at-home order effective April 7, a month after the first confirmed COVID-19 case in the state.

While many people may feel they are in a gridlock and resist giving up their right to go outside or travel freely, there is some evidence that social distancing limitations are working and the rate of daily new infections is slowing. Still, the country is far from easing restrictions. According to some projections, up to 240,000 Americans may die from the novel coronavirus until the pandemic is contained. Here are the states where the virus is spreading the fastest right now.

Click here to see every state’s rules for stay at home and social distancing

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.

Data on COVID-19 confirmed cases and related deaths came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as from state and local health departments. The number of COVID-19 tests every state has conducted as of April 16 also came from state and local health departments.

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