With most states partially reopened after closing down non-essential businesses earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released updated rankings for the States with the Fewest Coronavirus Restrictions, as well as accompanying videos.

To identify which states have the fewest coronavirus restrictions, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 11 key metrics. Our data set ranges from whether child-care programs and restaurants have reopened to the presence or absence of a “shelter-in-place” order. 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 T-41. Connecticut / Michigan
2. Wisconsin T-41. New York
3. Idaho T-44. New Mexico
4. Missouri T-44. Washington
5. Utah 46. Hawaii
6. Wyoming 47. Vermont
7. Montana 48. Massachusetts
8. Arizona 49. District of Columbia
9. North Dakota 50. Rhode Island
10. Iowa 51. Illinois

Note: Rankings are based on data available as of 12:30 p.m. ET on Monday, May 18, 2020.

Biggest Changes in Rank from the Previous Report

  • Wisconsin moved from 34 to 2, up 32 positions. This is due in part to the fact that the state has lifted all restrictions on large gatherings, had closed but fully re-opened restaurants and bars, has child care programs open and has fully reopened all non-essential businesses.
  • Arizona moved from 32 to 8, up 24 positions. This is due in part to the fact that the state has lifted all restrictions on large gatherings and has lifted all stay-at-home mandatory restrictions.
  • Georgia moved from 11 to 28, down 17 positions. This is due in part to the fact that the state requires wearing a face mask in public and that the state still has its legislative sessions postponed.

To view the full report and your state’s rank, please visit: https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-fewest-coronavirus-restrictions/73818/

Q&A with WalletHub

What should states be most mindful of when reopening?
“States should be most mindful of limiting close contact between residents even as businesses reopen, which means that state legislatures should transition from guidelines on social distancing to laws, such as requiring mask wearing in public places and limiting the number of people per square footage. States can show extra care to vulnerable populations by making sure they are accommodated with free deliveries of essential goods and exclusive hours at all businesses,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Most importantly, state governments need to closely monitor the number of coronavirus cases, prepare for a second wave, and adjust further reopening plans if needed to avoid too much of a strain on hospitals.”

What can citizens do to maintain their safety in the states that have the fewest restrictions?

“In order to stay safe in the states that have the fewest coronavirus restrictions, people can wear masks and gloves in public even if it’s not required, and they can minimize the amount of time they spend around other people,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Employees whose jobs allow for working from home could request that their employers let them do so for another few months, and those who can’t work remotely should make sure their workplaces are cleaned regularly and have measures in place to reduce crowding.”

Why does South Dakota rank as the state with the fewest coronavirus restrictions?

“Two major reasons why South Dakota ranks as the state with the fewest coronavirus restrictions are that it is one of only seven states that never had a mandate for all schools to close during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is the only state that never required a statewide closure of bars and restaurants,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “South Dakota has already lifted some of the restrictions it did implement, such as its ban on large gatherings, and it only recommends wearing a mask in public rather than requiring it like most states do.”

New York has the most coronavirus cases in the U.S. How has that impacted their restrictions?

“New York ranks as No. 9 for the most coronavirus restrictions in the U.S.,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “One of New York’s most prominent COVID-19 restrictions is its continued limited statewide quarantine even as many states start to reopen, and it is one of only 8 states in which all gatherings remain prohibited. New York is also among 19 states that participate in multistate agreements for making decisions on the reopening process.”