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The following study was published by WalletHub, and is reprinted with permission:

With states opening up more but a full reopening only possible once most of the population has been vaccinated, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released updated rankings for the States with the Fewest Coronavirus Restrictions, as well as accompanying videos and audio files.

To identify which states have the fewest coronavirus restrictions, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 14 key metrics. Our data set ranges from whether restaurants are open to whether the state has required face masks in public and workplace temperature screenings. Below, you can see highlights from the report, along with a WalletHub Q&A.

States with the Fewest Restrictions States with the Most Restrictions
1. Iowa 42. Washington
2. South Carolina 43. Colorado
3. Oklahoma 44. New Mexico
4. Idaho 45. North Carolina
5. South Dakota 46. Massachusetts
6. Alaska 47. California
7. Utah 48. Hawaii
8. Florida 49. District of Columbia
9. Tennessee 50. Vermont
10. Montana 51. Virginia

Note: Rankings are based on data available as of 12:30 p.m. ET on March 1, 2021.

Biggest Changes in Rank from the Previous Report

  • Idaho moved from 14 to 4, up 10 positions. This is due in part to the fact that the state has eased restrictions on large gatherings, has fully reopened restaurants and bars and has no mandate on face coverings in public.
  • Illinois moved from 42 to 30, up 12 positions. This is due in part to the fact that the state has reopened restaurants and bars while maintaining some service limits, has eased restrictions on large gatherings and has reopened non-essential businesses with limitations.
  • Wyoming moved from 16 to 24, down 8 positions. This is due in part to the fact that the state has imposed service limits for restaurants and bars, and has instituted new restrictions for non-essential businesses.

CLICK HERE to view the full report and your state’s rank.

Q&A with WalletHub

Should there be any vaccine-related COVID-19 restrictions?

“America should implement vaccine-related COVID-19 restrictions. The U.S. could follow the model of Israel, which has instituted a ‘Green Pass’ system. The ‘Green Pass’ allows people who have received both doses of the vaccine, as well as people who have already recovered from COVID-19, to visit certain institutions like gyms, hotels and entertainment venues that are closed to the general public, ” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Having a ‘Green Pass’ in the U.S. would not only help to keep people safe, but it would also encourage more people to get vaccinated and it would help struggling industries open sooner. ”

Is there a correlation between how restrictive a state is and its unemployment rate?

“There is a moderate correlation between a state’s restrictiveness and its unemployment rate,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “WalletHub’s analysis found that 80% of states with few COVID-19 restrictions had low unemployment rates. This makes sense because states with fewer restrictions allow more places to open, which in turn provides more opportunities to work.”

Should states strictly enforce their COVID-19 restrictions?

“States should strictly enforce their COVID-19 restrictions because otherwise there is no incentive for people to follow the rules. If there are no consequences for disobeying a state’s mask mandate, for example, people will be more likely to try to enter crowded areas without masks, which in turn will contribute to the spread of the virus,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Fines are a good deterrent to make sure Americans follow COVID-19 restrictions, and enforcement will also minimize the need for citizens to play the police.”

Why does Iowa rank as the state with the fewest coronavirus restrictions?

“Iowa ranks as the state with the fewest coronavirus restrictions in part because it is one of 15 states that have not taken any action on face coverings in public, and one of 21 states that have no limits on large gatherings,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Iowa has reopened all non-essential businesses, and it is one of only 14 states that neither require nor recommend working from home.”

California has experienced the most coronavirus cases overall in the U.S. How has that impacted the state’s restrictions?

“California has the 5th most coronavirus restrictions in the U.S., and is one of only two states to ban all gatherings currently,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Non-essential businesses in California are open with limits and the state is one of only a few with a statewide order for partial school closures.”

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  1. I will move to Iowa! Interesting CA with most restrictions yet have the most cases! Take off the damn masks, let the people breath fresh air and watch your cases go down! No vaccine for me!

  2. I live in Missouri and have done very little difference because of covid-19. I go shopping I go out to eat I go see my mother. I do wear the mask if it is insisted that I wear it to enter but that has gotten less of a problem because no one says anything if you don’t have it on. I have had but it was a very very mild case. I had a head cold. We need to just open the country and let people use common sense and live

  3. Proud to be from Iowa! We still practice social distancing, some counties require masking, wash your hands & stay home when you are sick, basically use common sense. I am a safety director for a construction company and we worked all season, we never shut down, masks were made available but were not mandatory.


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