In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, new cases were spiking uncontrollably. Many areas enacted lockdowns—initiatives to limit social gathering and virus transmission—until cases declined or a solution could be found. This week, the Biden administration attracted headlines by saying it would not rule out future lockdowns as the fourth wave of COVID-19 continues to rise. At the same time, several state governments made news by saying they would oppose lockdowns of any kind, while several more are unlikely to do so. Here are five states that refuse to lock down. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You Have “Long” COVID and May Not Even Know It.
Last Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order banning mask mandates in the state’s schools, saying parents had the right to decide if their children would wear face coverings. “In Florida, there will be no lockdowns, there will be no school closures, there will be no restrictions and no mandates in the state of Florida,” said DeSantis during a speech in Cape Coral.
On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott blocked local governments and state agencies from requiring vaccines, saying that protection against the virus should be a matter of personal responsibility. “The order also reinforced his prior directive prohibiting local officials from requiring face masks, despite growing calls from city leaders for greater flexibility to reverse the renewed spread of COVID,” said the New York Times.
“For those of you who don’t know, South Dakota is the only state in America that never ordered a single business or church to close, we never instituted a shelter-in-place order, we never mandated that people wear masks,” said Gov. Kristi Noem at the CPAC conference in Orlando, Florida, last March. In 2020, South Dakota had the second-highest number of population-adjusted coronavirus infections in the country; one out of every nine residents contracted the virus, and 1 out of 600 died of it.
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Like South Dakota, North Dakota has never had a statewide mask mandate or lockdown. It seems unlikely to enact one in the future. The Grand Forks Herald reported last week that masks will be optional in Fargo school buildings when classes resume Aug. 25, and vaccines will not be required for attendance. “North Dakota’s statewide COVID-19 emergency ended April 30. Local entities are best suited to consider CDC guidelines based on local conditions, including case rates, positivity rates and available hospital capacity,” said Gov. Doug Burgum in a statement.
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A recently enacted Montana law bans quarantines to separate people who likely have been infected or exposed to a virus but aren’t yet symptomatic. Gov. Greg Gianforte tested positive for COVID-19 in April, weeks after taking office and rescinding a statewide mask mandate. As for yourself, to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.