These states are ordering residents to stay home or shelter in place

A growing number of states and counties across the nation are cracking down on residents’ movements amid the spread of the coronavirus to the point that more than 100 million Americans have been ordered to stay home.

While some officials are instituting shelter-in-place orders, others are calling their directives stay-at-home orders. The directives differ by location but generally require residents to avoid all nonessential outings and stay inside as much as possible.

Don’t panic, the orders are not lockdowns. They allow residents to continue performing tasks essential to the health and safety of family and pets. It’s still fine to buy groceries, go for a run, walk the dog, pick up medicine, visit a doctor or get supplies to work from home.

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Federal guidelines give state and local authorities leeway in what they consider “essential” businesses during an emergency. But in general, those industries include grocery stores and food production, pharmacies, health care, utilities, shipping, banking, other governmental services, law enforcement, emergency services and news outlets.

Since each state can designate what is classified as essential, employers must be careful to follow regulations. Civil penalties could result from not following such executive orders.

As of Wednesday, here’s a look at the latest orders for people to avoid leaving home:

  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed a “Safer at Home” order Tuesday that bans all nonessential travel and went into effect Wednesday morning. “Issuing a Safer at Home order isn’t something I thought we’d have to do and it’s not something I take lightly, but here’s the bottom line: folks need to start taking this seriously,” Evers said in a press release.

  • Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed a stay-at-home order Monday that went into effect Wednesday at 12:01 a.m., prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people. It states that residents can leave “only for essential activities or to engage in the essential businesses and operations.” As long as social distancing is practiced, “ocean activities such as surfing and swimming” are exempted. The order will be effective through April 30.

  • Officials from Mecklenburg County (N.C.), where Charlotte is located, signed a stay-at-home order Tuesday afternoon that will go into effect Thursday morning at 8 a.m. The order allows some movement for “essential” activities and will run until April 16, though the order said it “will be regularly reviewed and evaluated and may be revised, amended, extended accordingly.”

  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed an executive order that mandates all schools to be closed through the end of the academic year and that many non-essential businesses close for at least 30 days. The order went into effect Monday.

  • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a public health order Monday that calls for non-essential businesses to be closed until at least April 10. The order stated that residents “should stay at home and undertake only those outings absolutely necessary for their health, safety or welfare.” The order went into effect Tuesday morning.

Here’s what the new orders look like in each state:

First U.S. epicenter gets ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order

Washington state became the first state in the country to suffer an outbreak. On Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee took more drastic action, signing a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order that prohibits Washingtonians from leaving their homes, except for essential tasks.

The order went into effect immediately and will last at least two weeks, Inslee said. Nonessential businesses must close by Wednesday at midnight.

“This is a human tragedy on a scale we cannot yet project,” Inslee said Monday in the address. “It’s time to hunker down in order to win this fight.”

Last state to report acts quickly

Though West Virginia was the last state in the U.S. to report a confirmed case of the coronavirus, Gov. Jim Justice issued a stay-at-home order on Monday that went into effect Tuesday night at 8 p.m.

Residents are still allowed to perform essential activities, including obtaining food or medicine, non-elective medical appointments, going to work that is deemed essential, visiting places of worship and outdoor activities such as hiking and jogging, as long as social distancing is observed.

The order also shuts down all non-essential businesses and will last until a subsequent order terminates it.

Hoosiers to ‘hunker down’

Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb told state residents on Monday to stay at home until at least April 7, asking “Hoosiers to hunker down” in an executive order.

The order allows residents to leave their homes for work deemed essential, medical care, grocery shopping and other actions that affect the health and safety of people and pets. The order gives Indiana State Police and local law enforcement the authority to enforce violations.

It went into effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday night.

Local governments to make calls in Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott has left decisions on stay-at-home restrictions to local governments rather than issuing a statewide edict.

The most populous counties in the state have taken action.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins on Sunday night issued a stay-at-home order for the county. By the following day, Harris County – which includes Houston – andd Bexar County – which includes San Antonio, Collin County, El Paso County, Tarrant County, Austin and Hunt County – followed suit.

The Dallas County order became effective Monday night and runs through April 3, while each of the others became effective on Tuesday.

Michigan issues executive order

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday signed a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order that went into effect Tuesday at midnight and runs through April 13. 

Several essential workers and businesses are exempted from the order. Essential activities such as grocery shopping and walking for exercise are also exempted. Violating the order is a criminal misdemeanor and could bring fines and also result in businesses being shut down.

“I know this will be hard, but it will be temporary,” Whitmer said. “If we all come together, get serious, and do our part by staying home, we can stay safe and save lives.”

S.C. executive order relies on law enforcement

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order Monday that grants law enforcement the authority to ban or disperse public gatherings of more than three people.

“We must all assume we have the virus and we must all assume the people we are talking to have the virus,” McMaster said.

While urging people to stay home, McMaster added on his verified Twitter account that “this is not a shelter-in-place order but another measure aimed at containing the virus by controlling crowds, so that we do not have to shelter in place.”

Massachusetts faces two-week order

Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday announced a stay-at-home advisory for all unnecessary activities that became effective Tuesday at noon. The order will run until April 7. 

“We’re asking everyone to use their common sense, think about the impact this virus is having on the sick and elderly, and to limit their interactions with other people,” Baker said.

Hardest-hit counties in Pennsylvania at home

On Monday, Gov. Tom Wolf issued stay-at-home orders for seven counties in Pennsylvania that have been hit hardest, including the areas surrounding Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, its two largest cities.

Philadelphia, Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Monroe and Montgomery are the affected counties.

The orders each went into effect Monday night and will last two weeks.

On his verified Twitter account, Wolf wrote Monday that “residents must stay home unless someone’s life depends on leaving.”

Atlanta at home for two weeks

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms signed a stay-at-home order Monday that will last for the next 14 days. Essential businesses, parks, the Atlanta BeltLine multi-use trail and restaurants serving takeout are exempted.

In Missouri, two cities under stay-at-home orders

On March 21, Missouri’s two largest cities issued stay-at-home orders Saturday. St. Louis’ mandate, which also applies to St. Louis County, began Monday, and the one for Kansas City and its metro area went into effect Tuesday.

“This situation will only get worse, much worse, if we don’t act right now,” Mayor Lyda Krewson of St. Louis said Saturday.

Delaware announces stay-at-home order

Gov. John Carney ordered Delaware residents to stay at home and closed nonessential businesses in the state. The order became effective Tuesday at 8 a.m.

Under Carney’s stay-at-home order, residents can leave their homes to get medical care, shop for groceries, go to work if their employer is permitted to stay open and exercise with proper social-distancing.

Restaurants will be allowed to continue carry-out and delivery business.

‘Nonessential’ businesses close in Kentucky

Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Sunday that all nonessential retail will be closed to in-person traffic, the latest move of restrictions that became effective Monday.

Also, while many medical facilities have complied with a request to cease elective procedures, it became a mandate starting Monday. 

The order applies to clothing stores, entertainment stores, sporting goods stores, shoe stores, jewelers, florists, furniture stores, bookstores and auto dealers (though repair and part stores are exempt). It does not apply to grocery stores, gas stations, liquor stores, banks, veterinary hospitals, pharmacies and drug stores. 

Louisiana issues stay-at-home order

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statewide stay-at-home order Sunday for nonessential workers and businesses. The order went into effect Monday evening.

Many businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and banks will be exempt from the order. All public schools and many businesses such as bars and gyms in Louisiana were already closed by previous executive orders, but Sunday’s order expands the closures.

Ohio issues mandate, with exceptions

Gov. Mike DeWine imposed a mandate for Ohio’s residents to stay at home, an order that went into effect on 11:59 p.m. Monday.

The order will last until at least April 6 and will be reassessed as necessary, DeWine said. The order can be enforced by local health and law enforcement departments, the governor said.

DeWine said the order allows exceptions, such as going to the grocery store, getting restaurant carryout, going to a park (but not use of playground equipment), taking care of neighbors or family members and attending weddings and funerals.

California issues shelter-in-place order

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a statewide shelter-in-place order on March 19. 

Newsom identified 16 critical infrastructure sectors – including those providing food, health care and energy – that remain open.

“This is a dynamic situation,” Newsom said. “I don’t expect this to be many, many months, but for the time being, we are recognizing the next eight weeks” as especially important.

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New York is on ‘PAUSE’ plan

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced March 20 that all New York residents must stay home “to the maximum extent possible,” an order that became effective at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Cuomo called the order the “New York State on PAUSE” plan, and it bans all nonessential gatherings of individuals “of any size for any reason.”

Residents can leave their homes for solitary exercise or to obtain essential services or items, including trips to the grocery stores. When in public, they must keep a 6-foot distance from others.

Mass transit will stay operational; food delivery and takeout services will stay open, as will other essential businesses, such as gas stations and grocery stores. But all workers should stay home unless they fall into the list of essential businesses.

Here’s what you can and cannot do in New York.

Illinois issues stay-at-home order

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a “stay-at-home” order March 20 that began the following day and will last until at least April 7.

All nonessential businesses must close, and all people who can work from home must do so, Pritzker said. All Illinois schools will stay closed until at least April 8.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the order “is not a lockdown or martial law.” Pharmacies, grocery stores, clinics and airports remain open and garbage is being collected. 

Connecticut issues stay-at-home order

Gov. Ned Lamont announced an executive order March 20 that directed all nonessential businesses and not-for-profit entities to prohibit all in-person functions if they are able to. The order went into effect Monday.

The order excludes essential business, such as health care, food service, law enforcement and similar critical services.

The order recommended that people maintain social distancing, limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact and limit the use of public transportation to when it’s absolutely necessary, among other items.

MAP: Track coronavirus outbreaks across the US and in your state

Oregon issues stay-at-home order

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown told residents on March 20 to stay home, calling the directive “both an order and a public awareness campaign.”

“I am directing Oregonians tonight to stay home to stay healthy. Social distancing done well and done early can save lives,” Brown said in a press conference.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said on Twitter:  “This is not a lockdown. This is a ‘stay at home unless it’s absolutely necessary to go out’ order.”

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New Jersey announces stay-at-home order

On March 21, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered residents to stay at home. He also canceled gatherings of any number, including parties, weddings and religious ceremonies. 

“We need you to just stay at home,” Murphy said. “We have to change our behaviors.”

Murphy said the restrictions would not change “anytime soon” and could continue for weeks or months.

Contributing: Mike Snider, Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY; Ashley Balcerzak,; Bethany Bruner, The Columbus Dispatch; Greg Hilburn, Monroe (La.) News-Star; Sarah Ladd, Louisville (Ky.) Courier Journal.

Follow Grace Hauck on Twitter @grace_hauck

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus lockdown: Which states in US have ordered people stay home

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