These 6 States Never Went into Lockdown. Here's How They're Doing.

This is how many COVID-19 cases these states have had after deciding not to shut down.

To help curb the spread of the coronavirus, the U.S. basically shut down in the middle of March. Retail stores, restaurants, and public spaces were closed to prevent gatherings, and people were asked to stay inside through shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders. Recently, businesses have reopened as states have started to lift lockdown orders, but some states technically never went into lockdown in the first place. The following six states never issued shelter-in-place orders—this is how their COVID-19 case numbers have fared amid their decision to not shut down. And for areas where coronavirus rates are spiking, check out these 7 States Where Coronavirus Numbers Are Surging Right Now.

South Dakota

main street in deadwood south dakota

As one of only six states that never went into lockdown, South Dakota has continuously ranked highest on WalletHub's survey of the states with the fewest coronavirus restrictions. This is because "it is the only state that never mandated a statewide closure of bars and restaurants" either, WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said in a statement. The state has already lifted all limitations on large gatherings, and only recommends wearing a face mask rather than requiring it. According to the South Dakota Department of Health, the state has had just over 5,600 total coronavirus cases, which have resulted in nearly 70 deaths. And for more states like South Dakota, these are The 13 States With the Most Lax Face Mask Laws.


Downtown Little Rock, Arkansas, around sunset.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson questioned the prospect of enforcing a statewide shelter-in-place order in early April, calling other state orders "an illusion," the Arkansas Times reported. Some businesses were closed for a time though, despite no shelter-in-place order. However, starting May 18, large indoor venues, including movie theaters, concert arenas, and amusement centers, were allowed to open in the state, operating at a 33 percent capacity. The first post-pandemic concert was held in Fort Smith, Arkansas, on May 18. To date, the Arkansas Department of Health has reported nearly 10,370 coronavirus cases in the state, which have resulted in over 160 deaths.


iowa city old capitol building in iowa before being moved to des moines

Despite Iowa health care professionals petitioning for a statewide stay-at-home order, Gov. Kim Reynolds refused to do so. However, Reynolds did sign an order on April 7 closing nonessential businesses until April 30. On May 1, restaurants, fitness centers, and malls were allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity once the order expired. Since May 28, bars, salons, and movie theaters have also been able to reopen at 50 percent capacity. Currently, the Iowa Department of Health reports that the state has seen just over 22,550 positive coronavirus cases and 630 deaths. And for states with many more limitations, these are The 10 States With the Strictest Face Mask Laws.

North Dakota

downtown fargo and the fargo movie theater in north dakota

Like its sister state, North Dakota steered away from issuing an official, statewide shelter-in-place order. Gov. Doug Burgum closed some businesses in April, but reopened bars, restaurants, salons, athletic facilities, movie theaters, and more on May 1, through an executive orderThe New York Times reports over 2,940 COVID-19 cases in the state and over 75 deaths as of June 10. And the Grand Forks Herald reported that following the reopenings, North Dakota had its highest number of confirmed cases for a single day on May 21, with 134 new cases. And for states trying to keep coronavirus in check, check out these 10 States Where You Will Be Fined for Not Social Distancing.


lincoln nebraska state capital buildings

Nebraska never issued a statewide shelter-in-place order, but did issue a Directed Health Measure which restricted certain nonessential businesses for a time. However, according to the state health department, all counties excluding Dakota, Hall, Hamilton, and Merrick are in Phase II of reopening plans. This means that bars, restaurants, gyms, salons, and wedding venues are all allowed to run at 50 percent capacity, and general gatherings of fewer than 25 people are allowed. As of June 10, the state has had nearly 15,900 positive coronavirus cases and over 190 deaths. The highest rate of new cases for a single day was on May 7, with 677 new cases.


sheridan wyoming

Though Gov. Mark Gordon issued a plea on March 25 asking "citizens to stay home whenever possible," he never issued an official statewide shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order. His plea came with public health orders that closed schools, certain businesses, and prohibited gatherings of 10 or more people. However, those restrictions have lessened as time has passed, and as of May 27, gatherings of fewer than 25 people are authorized, and salons, restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, daycares, and more were allowed to reopen on June 1. The state of Wyoming has seen 760 positive COVID-19 cases, 210 probable cases, and 17 deaths as of June 10, according to the state health department. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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