A growing number of states and counties across the nation are cracking down on residents' movements amid the spread of the coronavirus — a new normal that's led to more than 220 million Americans being ordered to stay home.
At last count, at least 26 states had issued such orders.
While some states call for shelter-in-place orders, others are calling their directives stay-at-home orders. The directives differ by location but generally require people 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.
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.
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Here's what the new orders look like in each state as of Sunday:
Kansas to 'stay home'
After citing models that predicted a possible increase of local cases in Kansas to 900 over the following week, Gov. Laura Kelly signed an executive "stay home" order March 28. The order becomes effective at 12:01 a.m. Monday. It will run until April 19 and allows Kansans to leave their homes for essential activities.
“I know this is hard, and I can’t tell you how much I wish it weren’t necessary,” Kelly said Saturday. “But we have a small window to ensure that Kansas does not suffer the same terrible fate of other hard-hit states like New York and Missouri."
North Carolina decision 'a matter of life or death'
After some counties mandated that their residents stay home, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper extended the order statewide on Friday. Calling the decision “a matter of life or death,” Cooper said the order will become effective at 5 p.m. Monday and extend until April 29.
Alaska keeping social distance
Alaska on Friday implemented what it's calling a “social distancing” mandate, which is similar to a shelter-in-place order. Gov. Mike Dunleavy directed residents to stay at home and banned most travel within the state.
“We crossed a line today for Alaska,” Dunleavy said Friday after the state's first death linked to the coronavirus.
Montana at home 'to the greatest extent possible'
Gov. Steve Bullock issued an order March 26 that went into effect two days later, directing residents to stay at home and closing nonessential businesses. Residents can leave their homes, however, for essential activities like seeking health care and outdoor exercise, as long as social distancing is practiced.
"I'd rather be accused of overreacting than having a health care system overwhelmed and unable to help our most-at-risk Montanans when they need it the most," Bullock said.
Non-essential businesses close in New Hampshire
The order went into effect at midnight Friday and was expected to be in place until May 4. The state saw its first death from the virus just days before Sununu issued the order.
Idaho 'order to self-isolate'
Gov. Brad Little signed an "Order to Self-Isolate" on Wednesday evening that became effective immediately and will run for three weeks. The order exempts residents who need to leave for essential activities. Little also signed an "extreme emergency declaration" and mobilized the Idaho National Guard "to support civil authorities and local jurisdictions."
Colorado stay-at-home order
Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday issued a statewide stay-at-home order that went into effect Thursday morning and will run until April 11. The order stipulates that Coloradans should leave their homes only for "critical activities."
Minnesota says stay at home
Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order Wednesday that directs residents to stay in their homes and limit movement to essential activities. It went into effect Saturday and runs until April 10 at 5 p.m. The order was based on models released by the Minnesota Department of Health and University of Minnesota that predicted more than 70,000 residents could die if no action was taken.
Wisconsin issues 'Safer at Home' order
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 news release.
Nevada limits public gatherings
Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a public directive Tuesday that prohibits gatherings of 10 or more people. The directive does not, however, prohibit people from leaving their homes, as long as social distancing is practiced. "To be clear, this does not mean your home," Sisolak said in an address. "This is not to prevent your household members from going for a walk. If you live inside together, you can be outside together."
Only 'essential activities' in 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 also exempted.
The order will be effective through April 30.
Virginia closes schools, nonessential businesses
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed an executive order Monday that went into effect immediately and mandates all schools to be closed through the end of the academic year. It also requires many nonessential businesses close for at least 30 days.
Though Northam stopped short of writing any stay-at-home restrictions into the order, it effectively banned any public or private gatherings of 10 or more people. "I have said repeatedly, ‘Stay at home unless it’s essential that you go out,''' he said.
Puerto Rico and territories under varying restrictions
Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez signed an executive order March 15 that imposed a 9 p.m. curfew on the entire island and its population of around 3 million and mandated that nonessential businesses be temporarily closed. She later amended the order to set the curfew from 7 p.m. until 5.a.m. and extend it to April 12. Vehicle transit will also be restricted.
Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero signed an executive order March 19 that forced nonessential businesses to close by noon the following day.
On Monday, U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. signed a "stay-at-home" order that began Wednesday, closed schools and limited business operations to those deemed essential. Hotels and temporary vacation housing cannot check in new guests for 30 days and bars are closed.
Puerto Rico and Guam have activated their respective National Guards.
'Extremely limited' operations in New Mexico
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 went into effect Tuesday morning and stated that residents "should stay at home and undertake only those outings absolutely necessary for their health, safety or welfare." The order also prohibits gatherings of more than four people.
First US 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 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 Monday that went into effect Tuesday night at 8 p.m.
The order also shuts down all non-essential businesses and will last until a subsequent order terminates it.
Hoosiers to 'hunker down'
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.
Coloradans stay home; 'Now is not the time to die,' governor warns
About 5.7 million residents of Colorado were ordered to stay at home Wednesday. The governor's order says residents should stay at home unless absolutely necessary; they should also avoid travel or contact with anyone outside their homes.
"Now is the time to stay at home,” Gov. Jared Polis said. "You have the chance to be a hero and save thousands of lives by staying at home. The lives of many Coloradans hinge on your ability to be able to stay at home for the next couple weeks to the most of your ability ... Now is not the time to die."
Local governments to decide 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, directing their residents to stay home. Among those them: Dallas County, Harris County – which includes Houston – Bexar County – which includes San Antonio, Collin County, El Paso County, Tarrant County, Austin and Hunt County.
On Sunday, Abbott expanded the state’s mandatory self-quarantine order for travel from coronavirus hot spots, including non-commercial road travel out of Louisiana. The expanded order also includes travelers on flights from Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago and anywhere in California and Washington state. Abbott’s previous quarantine order applied to air travelers from airports in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Orleans.
Michigan issues executive order
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.”
South Carolina 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."
Thank you @BrianKempGA for the updated state guidelines. Based upon our density & specific needs/concerns in Atlanta, I’ve signed a 14 day Stay at Home Order. As of now, this does not include essential businesses, parks, @AtlantaBeltLine & restaurants serving takeout. pic.twitter.com/c2rw5eWjmH
— Keisha Lance Bottoms (@KeishaBottoms) March 24, 2020
In Missouri, two cities under stay-at-home orders
On March 21, Missouri's two largest cities issued stay-at-home orders. 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 on Wednesday signed an order encouraging residents to "remain Healthy at Home,'' which he later said amounts to a directive to remain in the house except for essential activities.
Also, while many medical facilities have complied with a request to cease elective procedures, it became a mandate starting Monday.
Louisiana issues stay-at-home order
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statewide stay-at-home order March 22 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 the order expanded 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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,, USA TODAY; Ashley Balcerzak, NorthJersey.com; 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