Statistics as of the end of July revealed that over 339 million total vaccines have been administered to Americans, and that number continues to climb each day. As more residents get vaccinated, additional states are beginning to lift their COVID-19 restrictions to match the CDC’s current guidelines regarding face masks and social distancing for fully vaccinated Americans. Going back to a pre-pandemic normal is looking to arrive sooner than we think.
Most states have fully reopened brick-and-mortar retailers with no more restrictions, while some have plans to fully reopen within the next month or two, depending on if COVID-19 cases continue to drop. For now, the majority of states are following CDC guidelines and allowing those who are fully vaccinated to no longer have to wear face masks while in public and indoor settings. While we have a summary of the recent changes below, the Chamber of Commerce has a more detailed list of state regulations on their website for retailers to check out at www.chamberofcommerce.org.
States with No Restrictions
Many states are now fully reopened, meaning that there are no restrictions for business owners. That said, county/city level restrictions may still apply, so business owners should check with their local governments to confirm. The states that no longer have restrictions include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
States with Certain Restrictions
While the remaining states have lifted most of their regulations, according to the Chamber of Commerce, there are still some with remaining restrictions for businesses. Of course, these rules are subject to change at any time and are being slowly phased out as COVID-19 caseloads improve. Here are the restrictions in the remaining states:
California – Residents need a proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test in order to attend certain large indoor and outdoor gatherings.
Colorado – Businesses are still required to implement social distancing guidelines.
Delaware – Businesses are required to have hand sanitizer and hand washing stations available to both employees and customers.
Hawaii – Most restrictions are set on the county level. Hawaii has a 5-stage reopening plan, and counties are free to set their own restriction levels.
Kansas – While most restrictions have been lifted, each county health department may have specific guidelines for the community. Please check-in with them for additional information.
Michigan – Certain businesses may face capacity limitations.
Nevada – A statewide mask mandate is still in place for all counties, but certain counties have their own occupancy limits and social distancing guidelines.
New Mexico – Many restrictions are lifted, but this state uses a risk level assessment on a county basis to implement guidelines for each county. Most non-essential businesses can operate at up to 75 percent capacity, but this depends on the county risk level.
Oregon – This state uses a county-level restriction scheme that is set by the statewide government, based on risk level and vaccination levels in each county. Businesses in high-risk counties may still face substantial restrictions, particularly on indoor dining.
Rhode Island – Most restrictions are lifted, but all organizations are still required to screen employees and customers entering their establishments. Posting the screening tool signage, (health.ri.gov/forms/screening/COVID19_Employee_Screening_Tool.pdf) found on the state’s website at the entrance of your establishment satisfies this requirement. All businesses are still required to post masking signage at the entrance to their establishments.