The 5 State Holdouts

Here’s who hasn’t issued statewide shelter orders (yet)

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
2 min readApr 1, 2020


On Wednesday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced a shelter-in-place order for the state of Mississippi that will go into effect on Friday at 5 p.m. “This is a somber time for our country and our state,” said Reeves in a press conference. “We are all in danger from coast to coast.”

Earlier in the day, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also issued a stay-at-home order for the state that will last 30 days.

That leaves only five states whose governors haven’t issued shelter-in-place requirements for either the whole state or part of the state. Below are the holdouts (with reporting credited to the New York Times and USA Today — both newsrooms are tracking and updating these orders).

While these states have not instituted statewide shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders (which means no travel except for essential needs), there are still social distancing measures in place for all of them.


People are told not to gather in groups larger than 10, but there is not a statewide order to shelter in place. “I do not want to go to a shelter-in-place environment,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said, according to USA Today.


The state has informal guidance that Gov. Kim Reynolds says she feels is “equivalent” to a stay-at-home order. Social distancing is encouraged (no gatherings of more than 10 people), schools are closed, and people are encouraged to work from home. “What else are we doing by doing (a shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order) except for potentially disrupting the supply chain, putting additional pressure on the essential workforce, and making sure that we are considering how we bring that back up?” Reynolds said on March 25. “And, actually, what’s the benefit of taking that additional step?”


There are only certain restrictions for some counties in the state. Restaurants and bars in the areas are asked to close and move to takeout or delivery. Schools are also closed, but staff working in the buildings can continue. Crowds should be no more than 10 people.

North Dakota

All nonessential businesses are shut down, but so far there are no orders from Gov. Doug Burgum telling residents to stay put. “It’s not about staying home, it’s about avoiding contact,’’ Burgum has said, as USA Today reported.

South Dakota

Though it is encouraged, there is not an order for people to stay home in the state that has 129 cases reported and two deaths, according to the New York Times. Gatherings of 10 or more people are discouraged. Some cities are taking stricter measures.



Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog

Health and science journalist. Former editor of Medium’s Covid-19 Blog and deputy editor at Elemental. TIME Magazine writer before that