A CLOSER LOOK: 7 states with “no shelter in place order” overview

A Closer Look

AR Governor: are you accomplishing anything by doing that order?

ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Seven states did not declare statewide stay-at-home orders in connection to the new coronavirus pandemic — AR, IA, NE, ND, SD, UT, WY.

Those states have an approximate total population of 12.5 million, as of the 2010 U.S. Census. Overall, nearly 270,000 people have been tested for the virus. There have been nearly 22,000 positive results and 346 deaths, according to The COVID Tracking Project data from Wednesday, April 29.

That breaks down to 2.16% in those seven states have been tested. The percentage of positive results of those tested is 8.15%.


Governor Asa Hutchinson (AR-R), in early April questioned the effectiveness of a shelter-in-place order. “The question is, ‘are you accomplishing anything by doing that order?’”

April 3, 2020 where there was only 5 states with no shelter in place order.

Governor Kim Reynolds (IA-R) used a 12-point scale to determine if the state should do either a stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order. However, she has not explained the plan except that the metrics would align with recommendations from the Centers of Disease Control.

Gov. Kim Reynolds (IA-R), Photo: AP pool photo, Olivia Sun, The Des Moines Register. Friday, April 24, 2020, Johnston, IA.

Governor Pete Ricketts (NE-R) has pushed back against arguments that Nebraska should join 40+ other states with official shelter-in-place orders, saying it doesn’t make sense to compare states with different needs and populations. “These things aren’t all apples to apples,” he said.

Gov. Pete Ricketts (NE-R). Photo: governor.nebraska.gov

Governor Doug Burgum (ND-R) said his state is “blessed” compared to other states because of the relatively low number of cases. “We’ll take smart targeted actions to flatten the curve. People in North Dakota can relate to the fact that … many hunters in North Dakota would know we’re using a rifle and not a shot gun when it comes to the decisions we’re making.”

Gov. Doug Burgum (ND-R). Photo: governor.nd.gov

Gov. Burgum issued this statement:

“The vast majority of North Dakota’s economy has remained open through this crisis. Our success against the coronavirus has hinged on a low-mandate, high-compliance approach, and North Dakotans have done their part to slow the spread through social distancing and other measures. Now, as we move into the next stage with an even lighter touch of government mandates, we’re counting even more on the individual responsibility of citizens and employers.”

Governor Kristi Noem (SD-R) said that South Dakota is not New York. Also, “statewide orders would limit the rights of individuals in her state.” Noem has released a “Back to Normal” plan.

Governor Gary Herbert (UT-R) did a “voluntary initiative to stay home” that will extend to May 1. The state’s plan is a basic message, “Stay Safe. Stay Home.” The directive’s recommendation is based on three specific groups: general population, high risk individuals and children.

Governor Mark Gordon (WY-R) on March 30 said he had no plans for a statewide order and it wasn’t until April 13 that the state had its first COVID-19 related death.

Governor Mark Gordon (WY-R). Photo, governor.wyo.gov


ARKANSAS: Total Tested: 45,449 with 3,192 positive tests. People hospitalized 93 (389 cumulative), 18 are on ventilators, and 59 people have died. (Population 2.9M, 2010 census)

IOWA: Total Tested: 41,337 with 6,843 positive tests. People hospitalized 323, 100 in ICU, 74 on ventilators, and 148 people have died. (Population 3M, 2010 census)

NEBRASKA: Total Tested: 23,631 with 3,374 positive tests. No additional information is on the website except for 55 deaths. (Population 1.8M, 2010 census)

NORTH DAKOTA: Total Tested: 25,536 with 1,033 positive tests. People hospitalized 28, 437 have recovered, and 19 people have died. (Population 654,000, 2010 census)

SOUTH DAKOTA: Total Tested: 16,833 with 2,373 positive tests. People hospitalized 69 (165 cumulative), and 13 people have died. (Population 820,000, 2010 census)

UTAH: Total Tested: 105,778 with 4,495 positive tests. People hospitalized cumulatively 383, 1,641 have recovered and 45 people have died. (Population 2.8M, 2010 census)

WYOMING: Total Tested: 9,217 with 536 positive tests. People hospitalized 12 (56 cumulative), 362 have recovered, and seven people have died. (Population 548,000, 2010 census)

“Stay at Home Order” vs “Shelter in Place Order”

In relation to COVID-19, a stay-at-home order is usually made by a governor requesting for people to stay home except for essential tasks or jobs. Whereas, a shelter-in-place order could mean if you don’t you could be cited for a misdemeanor. But the meaning varies state-to-state along with the penalty, if any. Also, mayors can make this recommendation for its respective jurisdiction. California was the first state in the country to issue a stay-at-home order on March 19.

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