Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has assembled a task force to work on reopening the state’s economy (though Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has formed his own group with a faster timeline). Abbott announced on Friday that retail stores could soon offer curbside pickup, and hospitals could allow a limited number of nonessential surgeries. State parks will reopen in Texas next week, but visitors must cover their faces with masks and keep six feet away from others. Texas schools will stay closed for the rest of the year.
Republican Gov. Phil Scott said that starting Monday, two workers per office would be allowed to return to work in low-contact professional services, like realtors and lawyers. Two workers per construction site will also be allowed to return to their jobs, but must cover their faces and stay six feet apart. Farmers markets will reopen May 1.
Residents were allowed to resume outdoor activities like golfing, boating, hiking and visiting outdoor shooting ranges beginning on Saturday. Democratic Gov. Tim Walz’s new recreational guidelines say Minnesotans should stay 6 feet apart, avoid crowded areas and stay close to home when doing outdoor activities. Campgrounds, retail stores, equipment rentals and charter boat services will remain closed.
The modesty of these steps suggest that the country is in for a lengthy wait before life starts to bear some resemblance to pre-coronavirus times. Most governors have imposed strict guidelines for reopening businesses, and students in many states will not return to school until the fall.
Even the states that may be able to safely reopen in early May, according to a new coronavirus tracking model, say they will do so slowly. Those states — Vermont, West Virginia, Montana and Hawaii — have relatively small populations and low coronavirus case numbers compared to other parts of the country.
Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock has said his state could reopen slowly after April 25, but declined to give details until next week. The governors of Hawaii and West Virginia have not offered concrete plans to relax social distancing guidelines.
New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu announced Thursday that schools are canceled the rest of the year. Sununu is already eyeing safety measures for when children return to school in September.
Even in Florida, which has loosened some social distancing restrictions already, a timeline for reopening the state economy is unclear. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis allowed some beaches in his state to reopen this weekend and has assembled a task force to loosen restrictions in the state, but did not provide dates for when the state could return to normal.