By Thursday of this week, a significant majority of states had acted to instruct residents to stay at home and to close non-essential businesses in response to the spread of COVID-19. Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia are the latest U.S. states and territories to announce mandatory statewide and territory-based "stay-at-home" orders. Further, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana and Michigan have joined Alabama, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont and Virginia in closing the public schools through the end of the school year.

The latest changes, either to issue new or supersede existing statewide or territory-based orders to "stay-at-home" or to close non-essential businesses, are summarized below. While many states' orders have been issued together with public announcements that law enforcement will address noncompliance with education and warnings before imposing fines or other penalties, we anticipate that states will address or clarify the existing enforcement measures as reports of noncompliance by businesses and individuals rise. The Governor of Washington State issued such clarifying enforcement guidance earlier this week.

The status of statewide and territory-based restrictions is evolving and information will be updated as it becomes available. For up-to-date information regarding which states have issued Executive Orders to stay at home and to close non-essential businesses, see our COVID-19 Response Team's interactive map, available here.


On March 30, 2020, Governor Doug Ducey issued a Stay at Home Executive Order that promotes increased physical distancing, while encouraging social connectedness among citizens. Under the "Stay home, Stay healthy, Stay connected" policy, all Arizonans shall limit their time away from their residence except to conduct or participate in Essential Activities; for employment, to volunteer or participate in Essential Functions; to utilize any services or products provided by Essential Business services; and for employment if as a sole proprietor or family owned business, work is conducted in a separate office space from your home and the business is not open to serve the public. There is no requirement that Arizonans provide documentation or proof of the justification for these activities. Violations of the Order will be considered class 1 misdemeanors under Arizona law; however, prior to any enforcement an individual shall be notified and given an opportunity to comply.


Effective April 3, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered senior citizens and individuals with underlying medical conditions to stay at home, and all individuals to limit their movements and personal interactions only to those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities. Essential Services include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce and the list of Essential Services propounded by Miami-Dade County in its Emergency Order 07-20 issued on March 19, 2020. Essential Activities include attending religious services, participating in recreational activities, and caring for loved ones or friends. These orders are set to expire on April 30, 2020, unless extended by a subsequent order. The orders do not describe violations or penalties for noncompliance. Additionally, all Florida public and private schools are to remain closed through at least May 1, 2020. This order supersedes any local order, which may have more stringent components.


On April 2, 2020, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued an Executive Order instituting a state-wide "Shelter in Place" for all persons (expanding Executive Order for a shelter-in-place for only persons with serious underlying conditions), and a closure of all businesses that are not "critical infrastructure." The Order is effective from April 3 through April 13, 2020. Non-critical infrastructure businesses may still conduct minimum basic operations. Additionally, individuals may travel to conduct essential services, perform necessary travel, perform minimum basic operations of a business, or travel to the workplace for critical infrastructure. Furthermore, critical infrastructure workplaces are required to take additional measures listed in the Order to mitigate exposure to COVID-19, such as screening/evaluating workers with COVID-19 symptoms, prohibiting handshaking, suspending use of PIN pads, providing disinfectant and sanitation products, and placing notices that encourage hand hygiene. The Order also authorized the Georgia Department of Economic Development to issue guidance to businesses regarding its status as Critical Infrastructure; businesses may submit requests for such guidance, which is considered final agency action. Failure to comply with the Order will be considered a misdemeanor, and officials are authorized to close businesses after providing reasonable notice. Furthermore, Georgia issued an Executive Order on April 1, 2020, closing all schools for the entire 2019-2020 school year.


On March 28, 2020, Governor Laura Kelly issued Executive Order 20-16, imposing a statewide stay at home mandate, which applies the previous Executive Order 20-15, establishing the Kansas Essential Functions Framework ("KEFF") to define essential functions/businesses. As part of the KEFF, businesses which are under a similar local stay at home order are directed to contact their local issuing authority to request an exemption from the local order, if the business fits into one of the KEFF essential functions. The statewide stay at home order is in effect through April 19, 2020, however various municipalities and counties have imposed their own stay at home orders which expire closer to the end of April. These counties are able to extend their stay at home orders past the statewide date as they see fit. The Order expressly states that individuals are not required to carry documentation establishing their purpose for being out of the house. There are no express penalties for violation of these orders. Also, all public schools are closed through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.


On March 24, 2020, Governor Janet Mills issued an order closing non-essential public facing businesses while allowing essential businesses to remain open. On March 31, 2020 Governor Mills issued a "Stay at Home Order," ordering all Maine residents to stay in their residences and extending the closure of nonessential businesses through April 30, 2020. The "Stay at Home Order" took effect on April 2, 2020. Individuals are required to stay at home at all times unless for an essential job or an essential personal reason, such as obtaining food, medicine, health care or other necessary purposes. Any essential business that violates the directive will be subject to on-site restrictions or closure. Violations may be classified as class E crimes punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.


On March 30, 2020, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued Executive Order Number 20-03-30-01, amending and restating his previous orders, and instituting a general "stay-at home" order effective as of 8:00 PM on March 30. The Order requires individuals to stay in their homes or places of residence except to conduct or participate in Essential Activities, or where they work for Essential Businesses, or where they are operating Non-Essential Businesses for the purposes of engaging in Minimal Operations. The Order defines Essential Activities, Non-Essential Businesses, and specifies the types of businesses that must close. Violation of the Order is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to one year of imprisonment.


On April 1, 2020, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves issued a Shelter in Place Order, effective April 3, 2020 through April 20, 2020. All businesses except Essential Businesses or Operations must cease operations, except for certain defined "Minimum Operations." All public and private gatherings of more than 10 people must be cancelled or rescheduled, and all places of amusement and recreation, including beaches, are closed to the public. Restaurants and bars may remain open but are limited to drive through, curbside and delivery service only. In-person visits to hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities are prohibited, except for certain defined exceptions. All public schools are closed through April 20, 2020. Under the Order, individuals may leave their residences only to engage in activities necessary to their health and safety or the health and safety of others unable to leave their homes, to obtain necessary food, services or supplies, to engage in individual outdoor activity and recreation, or to perform work at an Essential Business or Operation. Any person convicted of violating the Order will be subject to a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00) or imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months or both.


On April 1, 2020 Governor Steve Sisolak issued a "Stay at Home Order," ordering all Nevadans to stay in their residences and extending the closure of nonessential businesses through April 30, 2020. Individuals may leave their residences to provide services, provide work necessary, or obtain services from Essential Healthcare operations on behalf of themselves, pets, or those in their household. Individuals may also leave their residence to provide Essential Infrastructure operations, and perform work necessary or obtain services or goods necessary from other Essential Licensed Businesses. Local governments have the authority to impose civil penalties -- including fining and revoking licenses. State and local law enforcement will have the ability to treat noncompliance as a criminal act after all other options have been exhausted.


Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has issued Executive Order 2020-07, which includes limited stay at home requirements and closes non-essential businesses in all counties in the state. Under the Order, all "vulnerable individuals" (adults over sixty-five and people of any age who have serious medical conditions) are required to stay at home unless working in a critical infrastructure sector or conducting essential errands (i.e., obtaining medication/medical services, groceries, and gasoline). Through April 16, 2020, all businesses not within a CISA critical infrastructure sector (as expanded by Executive Memorandum 2020-01) located within Oklahoma must close. Restaurants and bars may continue to provide pick-up, curbside and delivery services, in these areas. The Order prohibits social gatherings of more than 10 people. Visitors are prohibited from entering nursing homes, long-term care facilities and retirement homes. All elective surgeries, minor medical procedures, and non-emergency dental procedures are postponed until April 7, 2020. Except where otherwise stated, the Order is effective for 30 days. Additionally, on March 29, 2020, the Governor amended Executive Order 2020-07 to require travelers from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Louisiana, and Washington, to self-quarantine for 14 days.


Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 22, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tim Wolf and Secretary of Health of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Rachel Levine, MD, ordered all individuals living in certain counties to stay at home or their place of residence. Under the "stay at home" order individuals may leave their homes only for essential activities, such as to get groceries and household supplies, and as needed for essential government functions, or to participate in essential businesses and operations. Based on amendments to the Order on April 1, 2020, Governor Wolf expanded the geographic scope of the Order to cover the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania effective at 8:00 PM on April 1st. The expanded state-wide Order will now remain in effect until April 30, 2020. This order is in addition to Executive Order 14 issued by Governor Wolf on March 19, 2020, directing all non-life sustaining businesses to close effective March 19, 2020. Governor Wolf subsequently amended such order to extend enforcement action for non-life-sustaining businesses that are out of compliance to March 23, 2020. Executive Order 14 includes a list of life-sustaining businesses, including businesses critical to infrastructure, that may continue physical operations. An entity that fails or refuses to comply with the closure order may forfeit its ability to receive any applicable disaster relief, and may be subject to other appropriate administrative action including termination of state loan or grand funding, or suspension or revocation of licensure.

Rhode Island

On March 28, 2020, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo issued Executive Order 20-14 "Amended- Staying At Home, Reducing Gatherings, Certain Retail Business Closures, Further Quarantine Provisions." All residents are required to stay at home unless traveling to work, for medical treatment, to obtain necessities, or exercise. When out of the home, residents must practice social distancing. Employers, other than public health, public safety and healthcare, must allow employees that travel from other states to telecommute or work from home. Residents who work in other states (except public health and safety and healthcare workers) who can work from home must do so. If they cannot, they must self-quarantine while not at work. All gatherings are limited to five people. Effective March 30 through April 13, 2020, all non-critical retail businesses must cease in-person operations. Persons coming from other states for non-work purposes must self-quarantine for 14 days. The quarantine for travelers has been enforced through police and National Guardsmen stopping cars entering the state from the south on interstate highways. Guardsmen are also posted at train stations, bus stations and the T.F. Green International Airport to inform visitors about the self-quarantine policy. This Order was followed up on March 30, 2020 with Executive Order 20-15 to extend the previous executive orders as related to the operation of food establishments and close contact businesses.


On March 30, 2020, Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee issued a state-wide Executive Order urging all persons in Tennessee to stay at home, which was amended on April 2, 2020 requiring all persons in Tennessee to stay at home, and closing all businesses which do not perform essential service to members or the public. The Order permits non-essential businesses to maintain only minimum necessary services. Essential business activity should be limited and should follow health guidance recommendations to the greatest extent possible. The Order does not specify any specific penalties for non-compliance. Further, the Order does not repeal local orders. Each of Tennessee's major cities have issued separate orders in various ways. Nashville, Memphis (also the entirety of Shelby County), Chattanooga, Clarksville, and Franklin have each issued orders which both direct their residents to stay at home and prohibit in-person non-essential business. Knoxville has likewise issued an order which prohibits in-person non-essential business, but has not yet issued any stay at home directives to Knoxvillians. Like the statewide Order, the local/city orders do not clearly identify specific penalties for violations, with the exclusion of the Franklin order, which declares a violation a misdemeanor criminal offense.


On March 31, 2020, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-14 directing every person in Texas to minimize social gatherings and minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household, except when engaging in essential activities or where necessary to provide or obtain essential services. Essential activities include going to the grocery store or gas station, providing or obtaining other essential services, visiting parks, hunting or fishing, or engaging in physical activity like jogging or bicycling, as long as social distancing is followed. Essential services include the sectors and workers described in the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce list issued by the Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Texas has taken the position to allow religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship. The critical workforce includes workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are essential to continued critical infrastructure viability, including staffing operations centers, maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, operating call centers, working construction, and performing management functions, among others. Schools remain closed and visitors to adult residential care facilities remain prohibited, unless providing critical assistance. Violation of the Order is punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days. Additionally, in accordance with the roadway quarantine between the Texas and Louisiana border, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has set up roadblocks to check those entering the state. In accordance with the roadway quarantine, DPS will also be making unannounced checks on individuals that have supplied the self-quarantine form at the border. This order went into effect statewide at 12:01 AM on April 2 and lasts through April 30.


On March 30, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order No. 55, which amended and incorporated Executive Order Nos. 53 and 51, and is to remain in effect until June 10, 2020. Together, the Orders temporarily require all individuals in Virginia to remain in place at their residence, and to the extent individuals must use outdoor or shared spaces, to maintain social distancing. The Order also: allows individuals to obtain food, beverages, goods, or services identified in Executive Order 53; identifies 8 other essential activities; prohibits gatherings with more than 10 individuals; prohibits higher education from holding any in person classes; prohibits overnight stays at privately owned campgrounds for less than 14 days; and closes all public beaches. Essential businesses may remain open. The Governor has instructed all state and local law enforcement to address violations of the Order with education and warnings. However, a violation is a class one misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. The Virginia State Police are currently assessing violations on a case-by-case basis. All schools are closed for the remainder of the academic calendar.

The following Polsinelli attorneys have supported this project by conducting state-specific research and updates: Sara Ainsworth, Jane Arnold, Josh Arters, Ted Bingham, Breanna Caldwell, Anne Cooper, Jennifer Eng, Grant Gendron, Colleen Guinn, Nora Kaprielian, Melissa Latini, Jessica Lee, Rebecca Lindstrom, Erik Martin, Ryan McAteer, Ryan Mize and Adrienne Testa

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.