With some states continuing to reopen while others have paused or reversed course due to surges in COVID-19, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released updated rankings for the States with the Fewest Coronavirus Restrictions
To identify which states have the fewest coronavirus restrictions, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 17 key metrics. Our data set ranges from whether the state has any penalties for non-compliance with COVID-19 legislation to whether the state has required face masks in public and health checks at restaurants. Below, you can see highlights from the report, along with a WalletHub Q&A.
|States with the Fewest Restrictions||States with the Most Restrictions|
|1. South Dakota||42. New Jersey|
|2. Utah||43. Pennsylvania|
|3. Oklahoma||44. Oregon|
|4. Iowa||45. Colorado|
|5. Wyoming||46. Maine|
|6. Arkansas||47. Arizona|
|7. North Dakota||48. Massachusetts|
|8. Wisconsin||49. Virginia|
|9. Nebraska||50. California|
|10. Georgia||51. Hawaii|
Note: Rankings are based on data available as of 12:30 p.m. ET on Monday, September 14, 2020.
Biggest Changes in Rank from the Previous Report
- Texas moved from 46 to 34, up 12 positions. This is due in part to the fact that the state has ordered in-person instruction part-time or full-time as schools reopen.
- North Carolina moved from 49 to 38, up 11 positions. This is due in part to the fact that the state has expanded its limit on large gatherings to 25 people or fewer, and has reopened restaurants for limited dine-in service with capacity limits.
- Hawaii moved from 37 to 51, down 14 positions. This is due in part to the fact that the state has limited large gatherings to 10 people or fewer, has ordered regional closures as schools reopen, has new service limits for reopening restaurants and bars, and has a limited statewide quarantine.
To view the full report and your state’s rank, please visit:
Q&A with WalletHub
Should states reevaluate their restrictions after the Labor Day holiday?
“States should reevaluate their restrictions after Labor Day if there is a spike in COVID-19 due to mass gatherings. Ideally, states’ laws will both protect the health of their citizens and preserve economic activity, through measures like extensive rapid testing or strong penalties for noncompliance with mask mandates,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “If we have a robust system for detecting, tracking and preventing the spread of COVID-19, we can minimize the number of cases and consequently reduce the chances of needing widespread closures again.”
What long-term consequences will there be if schools remain closed for part or all of the fall semester?
“If schools remain closed for part or all of the fall semester, one positive impact will be that the spread of COVID-19 among children will be minimized,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Unfortunately, there are many negative consequences that come with keeping schools closed. Students are likely to learn less than they would through classroom instruction, and the achievement gap between wealthy and poor students is projected to widen. Parents with young children will need to make sure the children have supervision at home, which could mean that many parents may be unable to earn a living.”
Should states strictly enforce their COVID-19 restrictions?
“States should strictly enforce their COVID-19 restrictions because otherwise there is no incentive for people to follow the rules. If there are no consequences for disobeying a state’s mask mandate, for example, people will be more likely to try to enter crowded areas without masks, which in turn will contribute to the spread of the virus,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Fines are a good deterrent to make sure Americans follow COVID-19 restrictions, and enforcement will also minimize the need for citizens to play the police.”
Should states that see spikes in COVID-19 deaths just pause their reopening or reinstitute lockdowns?
“States with spikes in COVID-19 deaths should pause their reopening as well as make sure extra preventative measures are in place, like mandatory mask wearing and temperature checks at workplaces and busy transit hubs,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “It may be necessary to reinstitute lockdowns in some places at a micro level, in small communities that are experiencing especially high death and hospitalization rates.”
Why does South Dakota rank as the state with the fewest coronavirus restrictions?
“South Dakota ranks as the state with the fewest coronavirus restrictions in part because it has no restrictions on large gatherings and it is one of only five states that have not taken any action on face coverings in public,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “South Dakota does not require or recommend working from home, and it is one of only five states that never required non-essential businesses to close during the pandemic.”
California has experienced the most coronavirus cases overall in the U.S. How has that impacted the state’s restrictions?
“California has the second most coronavirus restrictions in the U.S.,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “The state has ordered regional school closures and has made face masks mandatory in public. California is one of only two states with a limited statewide quarantine in place, while a few other states put restrictions on high-risk individuals only. California is the only state to currently ban all gatherings, and all non-essential businesses in the state remain closed.”
In Response to Federal Judge Ruling PA Gov. Tom Wolf and Administration’s COVID-19 Pandemic Shutdown Unconstitutional:
American Pastors Network—“The Judge Identified the Problem. APN Identified the Problem and Gave the Remedy – The Legislative Branch Must Now Restore the Law.” (See Open Letter and Resolution Below)
PHILADELPHIA — On Monday, federal judge William S. Stickman ruled that it was unconstitutional for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and his administration to close and provide other directives to businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stickman said that Gov. Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine “crossed the lines” established by the U.S. Constitution. According to an article from the Pittsburgh Business Times, Stickman “…ruled limits on gatherings issued by the Wolf administration violated the First Amendment right of assembly and stay-home and business closures imposed in the early parts of the pandemic violated the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”
American Pastors Network (APN, americanpastorsnetwork.net) and Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN, papastors.net) last month sent an Open Letter to all three branches of state government and wrote a Resolution to accompany it. APN President Sam Rohrer, a nine-term state representative, has called on pastors to lead the citizens of Pennsylvania in their shared responsibility to Restore the Law.
Rohrer said in reaction to the ruling, “It underscores not only the accuracy, but the content of our letter and resolution, and why the legislature must declare the July 01, 2020 Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision (regarding HR 836) to be “null and void and without authority’. Judge Stickman’s decision gives overwhelming support to the Legislature, but it does not re-establish the Legislature’s constitutional authority usurped by our Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Wolf led Executive Branch.
“The judge’s decision confirms the identification of the Problem as lawlessness and by extension the resultant serious unbalancing of the delicate Balance of Power in our Commonwealth – the same as we are seeing all across America. This usurping of authority and acting outside the law initiated by the Executive Wolf-led Executive Branch and then enabled by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was fully detailed in our Open Letter and Resolution”, Rohrer continued. No citizen though, nor Judicial Branch action can re-establish the constitutional Balance of Power or Restore the Law. This is why we called upon the Legislature and we call now again on the Pennsylvania General Assembly to move swiftly and boldly to ‘Restore the Law’ as called out in our Open Letter and Resolution.. While Judge Stickman identified the Problem, he cannot prescribe the Solution. We call on the Legislature to do what only they can do to now ‘Restore the Law’”.
All people are invited to learn about APN’s open letter and resolution at www.RestoreTheLaw.org.
Rohrer, co-hosts, and guests explore topics like these on APN’s popular, live, daily radio program “Stand in the Gap Today.” Rohrer also hosts the daily short radio feature “Stand in the Gap Minute, and “best of” shows from the week are broadcast on “Stand in the Gap Weekend.” Likewise, “Stand in the Gap TV” considers transcending complex and divisive cultural issues, seemingly difficult to navigate, from a biblical worldview perspective.
View the media page for APN here. For more information on APN, visit www.AmericanPastorsNetwork.net, its Facebook page or follow APN’s Twitter feed, @AmericanPastors. For information about forming a state chapter of APN, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.