(KTAL/KMSS) – Oklahoma and Arkansas are among the top five states in the U.S. with the fewest coronavirus restrictions, according to rankings released Tuesday by personal finance website Wallet Hub.
WalletHub says it compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 14 key metrics, ranging from whether restaurants are open to whether the state has required face masks in public and workplace temperature screenings.
Oklahoma came in first in the country among states with the fewest restrictions. Arkansas came in at number 4, Louisiana 22nd, and Texas 28th.
“Oklahoma ranks as the state with the fewest coronavirus restrictions in part because it is one of just four states that have not taken any action on face coverings in public, and one of 19 states that have no limits on large gatherings,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Oklahoma has reopened all non-essential businesses, and it is one of only 13 states that neither require nor recommend working from home.”
Here are the top 10 states WalletHub says have the least COVID-19 restrictions:
- South Dakota
- South Carolina
Here are the top 10 states with the most COVID-19 restrictions:
- District of Columbia
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
Data compiled by the website shows four out of the top five states with the fewest restrictions are also among those with the highest death rates: Oklahoma, South Dakota, Arkansas, and Florida. The tenth on the list, South Carolina, also ranks among the highest in WalletHub’s death rate rankings. But the rest of the states that make up the bottom half of the top 10 states with the fewest restrictions are all among the lowest-ranked in death rates: Iowa, Utah, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Alaska.
WalletHub also shared some answers to Frequently Asked Questions along with the release of the state-by-state rankings on coronavirus restrictions:
How might the results of the election impact COVID-19 restrictions?
“The results of the election will likely bring about a more uniform COVID-19 response across the U.S., as the Biden administration will likely use the power of Federal Government dollars to encourage states to follow the same types of plans,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “We may also see an additional stimulus to help support people whose livelihoods are impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.”
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 68% 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.”
California has experienced the most coronavirus cases overall in the U.S. How has that impacted the state’s restrictions?
“California has the most coronavirus restrictions in the U.S., and is one of only four states to ban all gatherings currently,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “All non-essential businesses in California are closed. The state is one of only a few with a statewide order for partial school closures, as well as a limited quarantine, too.”