While all states have at least partially reopened non-essential businesses that were closed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. is still far from a full reopening. Many states have put a temporary pause on moving to the next stage of reopening, or have even reversed course and closed certain businesses again due to surges in the disease.
Personal financial website WalletHub compared the 50 states and DC across 17 key metrics, including any penalties for non-compliance with COVID-19 legislation, whether the state has required face masks in public, and health checks at restaurants.
So, what were the findings?
“There is a strong correlation between a state’s restrictiveness and its unemployment rate,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “WalletHub’s analysis found that 68% of states with few COVID-19 restrictions had low unemployment rates. This makes sense because states with fewer restrictions allow more places to open, which in turn provides more opportunities to work.”
Here are the most recent rankings:
|States with the Fewest Restrictions||States with the Most Restrictions|
|1. South Dakota||42. Pennsylvania|
|2. Idaho||43. District of Columbia|
|3. Utah||44. Oregon|
|4. Oklahoma||45. Arizona|
|5. Iowa||46. Colorado|
|6. Wisconsin||47. New Jersey|
|7. Wyoming||48. Maine|
|8. Missouri||49. Massachusetts|
|9. North Dakota||50. California|
|10. Arkansas||51. Hawaii|
Note: Rankings are based on data available as of 12:30 p.m. ET on Monday, October 5, 2020.
“South Dakota ranks as the state with the fewest coronavirus restrictions in part because it is one of just five states that have not taken any action on face coverings in public, and one of 15 states that have no limits on large gatherings,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “South Dakota has no penalties or enforcement for non-compliance with COVID-19 regulations, and it is one of only 16 states where non-essential businesses are fully open.”
COVID-19 Death Rate vs Restrictions
Georgia ranked 13th in the nation for the states with the fewest restrictions.
Interestingly, California has the highest number of cases overall and the second highest number of restrictions in the nation.
“California has the second most coronavirus restrictions in the U.S.,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “California mandates wearing face masks in public, and it has ordered regional school closures. The state is the only one to have a ban on all gatherings, and one of only four where all non-essential businesses are closed.”
Unemployment Ranking vs Restrictions Ranking