On 23 March 2020, the U.S. states of Delaware, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan and Washington issued stay-at-home orders and banned mass gatherings as part of an overall effort to limit the rapid spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Individuals traveling for essential purposes, such as obtaining basic goods — including food and medicine — and for work in sectors deemed essential, are exempt from the restrictions. Commercial establishments that are deemed essential — such as banks, grocery stores and gas stations — will remain open; however, all nonessential businesses have been ordered to suspend in-person operations. In Delaware, the order went into effect at 0800 local time on 24 March and will remain in place until 15 May; In Indiana, from 2359 local time on 24 March to 2359 local time on 6 April; in Massachusetts, from 1200 local time on 24 March until 1200 local time on 7 April; in Michigan, from 0001 local time on 24 March to 2359 local time on 13 April; and, in Washington, the order went into effect on 23 March and will last for the next two weeks. All nonessential businesses in Washington have been ordered to shut down by 25 March.

Additionally, in Harris County, Texas — where Houston is located — officials issued a similar stay-at-home order, with the same exceptions, on 24 March, which is scheduled to go into effect at 2359 local time and expire on 3 April. In Atlanta — Georgia’s state capital — the city mayor ordered residents to stay in their homes from 0000 local time on 24 March through 7 April. As of the latest reports, the U.S. has recorded at least 46,481 confirmed COVID-19 cases with nearly 600 fatalities.