When States Plan to Fully Reopen

[nytimes.com – 2021.05.29] All across the country, mask mandates are easing, restrictions are lifting and many states have gone back to business as usual. It appears much of the country will be open with few restrictions in the coming weeks.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, it has been largely up to state and local officials to determine what restrictions, if any, to impose to slow new infections. A nationwide patchwork of rules for businesses and residents resulted over months of trial and error, as governors reopened some sectors only to later re-close and reopen them again as infection rates rose and fell.

States have moved closer to lifting all restrictions on businesses and gatherings as the vaccination campaign has progressed. In many states that have yet to fully reopen, governors have set targets for doing so based on vaccination rates or other health measures.

A full reopening still comes with rules in many places. Some states will continue to require the use of masks in most indoor public settings, and some governors are still mandating businesses observe social distancing rules, even as they lift capacity limits.

Many states eased mask requirements for those who are vaccinated after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that fully vaccinated people could go without masks in most indoor and outdoor settings.