It would have seemed positively apocalyptic to learn that residents of one of the most populated regions in the country, the San Francisco Bay area, were ordered to stay at home unless absolutely necessary — and that New York City might soon join them.
A few weeks into the surge in coronavirus cases in the United States, though, such announcements are not surprising. We’ve quickly become acclimated to the new standard of movement, recognizing that efforts to halt the spread of the virus and limit the number of deaths it causes both directly and indirectly necessitate measures that in December were solely the province of disaster movies.
This new normal, though, comes at a scale that many Americans might not realize. In 49 states and the District of Columbia, there are at least some school closures; in most states, all schools are on hiatus. In another dozen states and numerous counties and cities, there are restrictions on when and how restaurants, bars and other service businesses can operate. In six counties in California, people are asked to stay home.
The map of restrictions looks like this as of Tuesday evening. (We’ve included Nebraska’s school closures, though they don’t go into effect until next week.)
Those closures tend to correlate to the number of reported cases in a region. California’s shelter-in-place order is a function of the surge in cases there, as is the possibility of a similar order in New York City. (The case totals below are from Tom Quisel’s aggregation of CSBS data.)
While many of the restrictions nationally are statewide, many are not. In Idaho, Missouri, Maine and Texas, school districts (which don’t always align with counties) have some flexibility in ordering closures. In Missouri and Texas, the municipalities of Kansas City and Dallas have gone further, imposing tighter restrictions on service businesses.
The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut came together to set an agreed-upon limit on bars and restaurants. They were joined by Pennsylvania, which restricted “non-essential businesses.”
What’s interesting is that politics doesn’t always play a role in the closures. While the governors of Oklahoma and West Virginia have encouraged residents to go out to restaurants, both states have nonetheless shut their schools for the time being in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.
Again, the maps above are as of Tuesday afternoon. Cobbling together the restrictions across the country at this point is tricky, given how often the rules differ by locality. Expect that there will be additional changes over the short term.
Expect, too, that things will get more restrictive over the next few days and weeks. Expect, in other words, what we never could have expected three months ago.
This article has been updated with current information about restrictions.