Here Are The Most “Open for Business” States

By Amanda Postma - May. 14, 2020

Find a Job You Really Want In

When Covid-19 hit the U.S. stay-at-home orders were issued on a state-by-state basis in order to keep people safe at home. Now that it’s been a couple of months, people are starting to become stir crazy and are itching to get out of the house. That mixed with concerns over what state the economy is in has led to state governors taking matters into their own hands.

Many states have announced the end of their stay-at-home order and put out the open sign. Which states are the most open for business?

We analyzed the numbers and found out the states where it is almost business as usual.

The Most Open For Business States

  1. Montana
  2. North Dakota
  3. Tennessee
  4. Alaska
  5. Alabama
  6. Mississippi
  7. West Virginia
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Utah
  10. Texas

With these 10 states in the lead, the U.S. economy is sure to be back on track in no time. Although none of these states have completely reopened, or are even operating at full capacity, the businesses and workers who reside in these states are beginning to get a bit of normalcy back into their lives.

Keep reading to see the list of all 50 states.

How We Figured it Out

Each state was ranked in three areas:

  • Date Restrictions Were Lifted
  • Business Capacity
  • COVID Tests Per Cases

We researched each state’s policies to determine what percentage of capacity they have allowed their businesses to open up to and sorted each state. Similarly, we found the date restrictions were lifted (although it is worth noting not all states have lifted restrictions/announced the end date, and one state never put restrictions in place to begin with.)

Finally, we took the number of tests each state has given and divided it by the number of Coronavirus cases. The more tests per positive case, the more testing a state is doing. We thought this was fitting since the federal government has determined that the more testing states give out, the more ready they are to open for business.

1. Montana

montanaRestrictions Lifted: 04/26/2020
Operating Capacity: 0.5
Ratio of Tests Given to Cases: 49.97

Montana is the most open for business. Montana’s Stay-at-Home order expired April 26 and since then houses of worship, retail stores, salons, barbershops, massage parlors, restaurant dining, bars, breweries, distilleries and schools are operating at 50% capacity. The state announced a second phase that is coming soon will reopen gyms, museums and movie theaters. The state has reported 461 cases of COVID-19 but has administered 23,035 tests.

2. North Dakota

north dakota
Restrictions Lifted: 05/01/2020
Operating Capacity: 0.5
Ratio of Tests Given to Cases: 30.45

North Dakota refrained from issuing a Stay-at-Home order but instead placed restrictions on businesses and workers to comply with social distancing measures. Those restrictions were loosened on May 1 with restaurant dining, bars, gyms, salons, tattoo parlors, massage therapy and movie theaters reopened to 50% capacity. There have been 1,571 cases reported in North Dakota and 47,832 tests administered.

3. Tennessee

Restrictions Lifted: 04/30/2020
Operating Capacity: 0.5
Ratio of Tests Given to Cases: 17.62

The Stay-at-Home order for Tennessee expired April 30 giving way to most counties opening up their state parks, gyms, restaurant dining, retail stores, salons and barbershops to 50% capacity. In hopes of keeping the virus at bay, the state has administered 283,824 tests. So far, the state has reported roughly 16,111 cases.

3. Alaska

Restrictions Lifted: 04/25/2020
Operating Capacity: 0.25
Ratio of Tests Given to Cases: 78.23

Alaska reopened restaurant dining, bars, retail stores, hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, gyms, pools, libraries, theaters, bowling alleys and museums on April 25. With social distancing restrictions still in place, this Phase 1 only includes 25% operating capacity. About 5 days after the order expired, new cases per day jumped to 10 but are now back down to 4 per day, which is the number of new cases the state had per day before the stay-at-home order expired.

5. Alabama

Restrictions Lifted: 05/01/2020
Operating Capacity: 0.5
Ratio of Tests Given to Cases: 12.73

Alabama reopened parts of the state on May 1 after the stay-at-home order had expired. Only running at 50% capacity, the number of new cases per day stayed around 200 after the order had expired. Now, that number is around 300 per day. In total, the state has reported more than 10,470 cases of coronavirus and has administered 133,218 tests. As part of Phase 1, the state reopened beaches, gyms, retail stores, restaurant dining, bars, breweries and salons.

6. Mississippi

Restrictions Lifted: 04/27/2020
Operating Capacity: 0.5
Ratio of Tests Given to Cases: 9.86

The Stay-in-Place order in Mississippi officially expired April 27 with the state reporting 9,908 total cases. Since then, retail stores, restaurant dining, bars, state parks, gyms, salons and barbershops have reopened to 50% capacity. In order to continue monitoring the COVID situation, Mississippi has administered 97,692 tests.

7. West Virginia

west virginia
Restrictions Lifted: 05/03/2020
Operating Capacity: 0.25
Ratio of Tests Given to Cases: 47.22

West Virginia was under a Stay-at-Home order that expired May 3. Once the restrictions were lifted restaurants with outdoor dining, salons, barbershops and pet groomers were allowed to reopen to 25% capacity. So far, the state has reported 1,378 cases and handed out 65,069 tests.

8. Oklahoma

Restrictions Lifted: 04/24/2020
Operating Capacity: 0.1
Ratio of Tests Given to Cases: 20.31

Oklahoma was one of the few states that never enacted a Stay-at-Home order, but instead placed restrictions. Those were eased up on April 24 with salons, barbers and pet groomers being the first nonessential businesses to reopen. On May 1, the state took it a step further by reopening restaurant dining, movie theaters, gyms, places of worship and sporting venues. As long as those businesses are following social distancing guidelines by enforcing a 6-foot distance and the state continues to administer tests, then nightclubs and bars will be the next to reopen. Currently, Oklahoma has reported 4,732 cases and administered 96,111 tests.

9. Utah

Restrictions Lifted: 05/01/2020
Operating Capacity: 0.1
Ratio of Tests Given to Cases: 23.86

As another state to not enforce a Stay-at-Home order, Utah placed restrictions in order to keep its current number of 6,432 cases down. So far, the state has administered 153,485 tests. Restaurant dining, gyms and salons were allowed to reopen May 1 as long as they continued to follow social distancing guidelines.

10. Texas

Restrictions Lifted: 04/30/2020
Operating Capacity: 0.25
Ratio of Tests Given to Cases: 12.6

On April 30, Texas tried to get back a little bit of normalcy as its Stay-at-Home order expired. The very next day state parks, pools, retail stores, malls, restaurant dining, movie theaters, museums, libraries, salons and barbershops were given the opportunity to reopen to 25% capacity. While the state’s number of cases, 41,733, remains high, the amount of tests it has administered, 525,697, also is high. This amount of testing will lead to gyms, offices and manufacturing reopening next.

Business as Usual

While no state in the U.S. has returned to pre-COVID normalcy, there are several that are on their way. Many of the states have set up guidelines to continue reopening businesses every two weeks as long as their number of cases stays low and their testing continues full speed ahead. Other states have ramped up opening businesses every few days and have pledged to provide more testing. Only time will tell if the United States will return to business as usual.

The Most Open For Business States

Rank State Restrictions Lifted Operating Capacity Covid Test To Cases
1 Montana 4/26/2020 50% 50
2 North Dakota 5/1/2020 50% 30
3 Tennessee 4/30/2020 50% 17
3 Alaska 4/24/2020 25% 78
5 Alabama 4/30/2020 50% 12
6 Mississippi 4/27/2020 50% 9
7 West Virginia 5/3/2020 25% 47
8 Oklahoma 4/24/2020 10% 20
9 Utah 5/1/2020 10% 23
10 Texas 4/30/2020 25% 12
11 Colorado 4/26/2020 50% 5
11 Wyoming 5/1/2020 10% 22
13 Iowa 5/1/2020 50% 6
13 Vermont 5/15/2020 25% 22
15 Arkansas 5/6/2020 33% 16
16 Nevada 5/9/2020 50% 10
17 Florida 5/4/2020 25% 13
18 North Carolina 5/22/2020 50% 12
18 Missouri 5/3/2020 25% 11
20 Indiana 5/4/2020 50% 6
20 New Mexico 5/15/2020 20% 20
22 Nebraska 5/4/2020 50% 5
23 Idaho 4/30/2020 0% 14
24 South Dakota Never closed 10% 6
25 New Hampshire 5/31/2020 50% 11
25 South Carolina 5/4/2020 20% 11
25 Georgia 4/30/2020 10% 7
28 Ohio 5/29/2020 50% 8
29 Oregon 5/15/2020 0% 23
30 Kansas 5/3/2020 10% 7
31 Louisiana 5/15/2020 25% 7
32 Arizona 5/15/2020 10% 10
32 Hawaii 5/31/2020 0% 59
34 Maine 5/31/2020 10% 16
35 Rhode Island 5/8/2020 10% 8
36 Virginia 6/10/2020 50% 6
37 Minnesota 5/17/2020 19% 9
37 Wisconsin 5/26/2020 10% 11
39 Kentucky Late May 0% 15
40 Pennsylvania 6/4/2020 50% 4
41 Michigan 5/28/2020 10% 6
42 Washington Still in Effect 0% 14
43 California Still in Effect 0% 14
44 New York 5/15/2020 0% 3
45 Massachusetts 5/18/2020 0% 5
46 Illinois 5/31/2020 0% 5
47 Connecticut 5/20/2020 0% 4
48 Delaware 5/31/2020 0% 4
49 Maryland Still in Effect 0% 5
50 New Jersey 6/5/2020 0% 3

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.


Amanda Postma

Amanda Postma is a writer for the Zippia Career Advice blog with a focus on creating entertaining content to help you through your job search. She received her BA from the University Of Missouri-Columbia.

Related posts