Best States to Move to if You Hate Mask Mandates, Lockdowns and Vaccine Passports

When we were leaving Oregon and researching states, we didn’t have the advantage of knowing how crazy or sane each state’s governor truly was. You guys, who are considering a move now, get to see which governors have handled the last year the best. I’m really glad we left Oregon, seeing how Kate Brown has treated Oregon residents and business owners.

Let’s be clear–I was not a fan of lockdowns or face covering mandates, at all. I think people need to breathe and should be able to make their own choices about whether they want to wear a mask or not, and whether they want to stay home or not. I think that vaccine passports will lead down a terrible, discriminatory, ugly path and I pray that our country does not implement them.

Assuming you’re still following and want to know more, let’s dive in and figure out which ones handled lockdowns, masks, and this whole vaccine passport idea the BEST, and WORST (ahem, Oregon). Also, it’s important to note how the stay-at-home-orders impacted people’s livelihoods, so I have included the current unemployment rate for each state.

While many do not want to admit that the virus restrictions have been political–it is clear, when you research the facts, that this has been very political. In general, states with Democrat governors had more restrictions and states with Republican governors had less. To show this point, I have marked states with Republican governors in red and Democrat governors in blue.

By the way, for the naysayers who believe we should lock down, wear masks and check everyone’s vaccination status from now until the end of time, I’ll also share the deaths per million residents of each state. In my opinion, the states that promoted freedom, don’t exactly look like they have “blood on their hands,” as some would say (talk about extreme rhetoric!). Okay, moving on…

The States, In Order (Best to Worst)

Based on scores from the data below, with COVID-19 Deaths per million listed next to every state. States at the top were the least restricted states and also the states that lost the least businesses and have the smallest unemployment numbers. The states at the bottom were the most restricted states and also have the highest unemployment rates and the highest number of businesses lost.

**Please Note** The COVID death counts did NOT increase because a state was less restrictive. NOR did COVID death counts decrease because a state locked down longer, shut down churches or banned HCQ.

**Also Note** When people say that the lockdowns and masks and banning of life-saving meds was “not political,” they’re lying. Look at the red vs blue states. Republican governors, in general, cared about freedom and Democrat governors, in general, seized the opportunity to control their people. Again, their extreme control did not prevent deaths, which was what they told us they were doing. This has definitely been political.

  1. Arkansas, under 2,000 per million
  2. South Dakota, 2,000 per million or more
  3. North Dakota, under 2,000 per million
  4. Nebraska, under 1,500 per million
  5. Utah, under 1,000 per million
  6. Florida, under 2,000 per million
  7. Iowa, under 2,000 per million
  8. South Carolina, under 2,000 per million
  9. Tennessee, under 2,000 per million
  10. Alabama, 2,000 per million or more
  11. Ohio, under 2,000 per million
  12. Wyoming, under 1,500 per million
  13. Georgia, under 2,000 per million
  14. Missouri, under 2,000 per million
  15. Idaho, under 1,500 per million
  16. Indiana, 2,000 per million or more
  17. Texas, under 2,000 per million
  18. Arizona, 2,000 per million or more
  19. Alaska, under 1,000 per million
  20. Wisconsin, under 1,500 per million
  21. Kansas, under 2,000 per million
  22. Oklahoma, under 2,000 per million
  23. Montana, under 2,000 per million
  24. West Virginia, under 2,000 per million
  25. Mississippi, 2,000 per million or more
  26. New Hampshire, under 1,000 per million
  27. Pennsylvania, 2,000 per million or more
  28. Colorado, under 1,500 per million
  29. Louisiana, 2,000 per million or more
  30. Michigan, 2,000 per million or more
  31. Kentucky, under 1,500 per million
  32. Vermont, under 1,000 per million
  33. Minnesota, under 1,500 per million
  34. Maryland, under 1,500 per million
  35. North Carolina, under 1,500 per million
  36. Massachusetts, 2,000 per million or more
  37. Virginia, under 1,500 per million
  38. Connecticut, 2,000 per million or more
  39. Rhode Island, 2,000 per million or more
  40. Maine, under 1,000 per million
  41. Delaware, under 2,000 per million
  42. Washington, under 1,000 per million
  43. Nevada, under 2,000 per million
  44. Illinois, under 2,000 per million
  45. District of Columbia, under 2,000 per million
  46. New Mexico, under 2,000 per million
  47. Hawaii, under 1,000 per million
  48. Oregon, under 1,000 per million
  49. New Jersey, 2,000 per million or more
  50. New York, 2,000 per million or more
  51. California, under 2,000 per million

Our state, Virginia, isn’t doing so hot! BUT! We moved from Oregon (#48) to Virginia (#37), so at least we’ve moved up in the world! 😉

Where do you want to live, now?


If you’d like to know how each state ranked in each area, here are the details! This is a very long post!

Mask Mandates

In my opinion, mask mandates have been ridiculous, unproven, government overreach. While some states have were lenient when it came to people with health conditions or the hearing impaired, some states required masks no matter what, even outdoors, and on athletic fields.

States that Did Not Mandate Masks
Note that some of these states did have mask mandates in particular cities or counties.

Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wyoming

States that Ended their Mask Mandates

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin

States that are Expected to End their Mask Mandates Soon

Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia

States that STILL Have Mask Mandates as of May 22, 2021

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington

Stay at Home Orders

In all situations through history, the sick were quarantined, NOT the healthy. In my opinion, stay at home orders were a crazy, controlling, unproven decision. Some governors kept the stay-at-home orders going for too long, while others never imposed such orders.

States that Did Not Impose Stay at Home Orders

Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming

States with Stay at Home Orders Lasting 30 Days or Less

Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas

States with Stay at Home Orders Lasting 40 Days or Less

Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, West Virginia

States with Stay at Home Orders Lasting 50 Days or Less

Arizona, Indiana, Maryland, Rhode Island, Washington, Wisconsin

States with Stay at Home Orders Lasting More than 50 Days

California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont

States with Stay at Home Orders Lasting More than 60 Days

Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania

States with Stay at Home Orders Lasting More than 70 Days

Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia

Business Shut Downs

Nearly every state ordered restaurants and “non-essential” businesses to shut down. This title, “Non-essential,” was also used in World War II–by Hitler and the Nazis. There was no place for this kind of government overreach and these measures have caused many small businesses to close down.

The Only States that Did Not Shut Down Restaurants

South Dakota, Nebraska (Restricted but not shut down)

States that Did Not Shut Down “Non-Essential” Businesses

Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming

Businesses Lost

Shutting down businesses leads to the permanent loss of businesses, as all states are experiencing to some degree.

States that were Not Included On a List of States that Lost the Most Businesses

Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Tennessee, Utah

States that Lost Less than 150 Businesses Per Million Residents

Delaware, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia

States that Lost Less than 200 Businesses Per Million Residents

Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Wisconsin

States that Lost More than 200 Businesses Per Million Residents

Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming

States that Lost More than 250 Businesses Per Million Residents

Colorado, Oregon, Washington

States that Lost More than 300 Businesses Per Million Residents

California, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Nevada

Gathering Restrictions

Most states limited groups of people from meeting. Each state varied in the number of people who could gather, and some states prohibited gatherings entirely.

States that Restricted Gatherings to 50 People

Arizona, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota

States that Restricted Gatherings to 25 People

Rhode Island

States that Restricted Gatherings to 11 People

Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma

States that Restricted Gatherings to 10 People

Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming

States that Restricted Gatherings to 5 People

New Mexico

States that Restricted All Gatherings

California, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin

School Closures

The shut downs impacted children, too. As of Spring 2021, this is where each state stands on schools reopening.

States that Have Required Schools to Reopen or at Least Some Grades to Reopen

Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Texas, West Virginia

States that are Allowing Districts to Decide About Reopening

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

States that Have Partial Closures in Effect

California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, New Mexico

Church Closures

Americans have the right to assemble, and the governor should not make any laws or restrictions on this right, no matter what. Closing down churches was unconstitutional government overreach. When bars and casinos were allowed to open but churches were not, it became very clear that this was indeed, political.

As of September 2020

States with No Church Restrictions

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

States that Restricted Church Gatherings to 500 People


States that Limited Church Gatherings to 75% Capacity


States that Limited Church Gatherings to 250 People


States that Limited Church Gatherings to 50% Capacity

Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington

States that Restricted Church Gatherings to 150 People

New Jersey

States that Restricted Church Gatherings to 125 People

Rhode Island

States that Restricted Church Gatherings to 100 People

California, Connecticut, District of Columbia

States that Restricted Church Gatherings to 50 People

Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon

States that Limited Church Gatherings to 25% Capacity

New Mexico

States that Restricted Church Gatherings to 10 People

New York

States that Banned Singing in Church


Last State to Lift the Ban on Church Services

New Jersey

As of April 2020

States with No Church Restrictions

Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia

States that Restricted Church Gatherings to 50 People


States that Restricted Church Gatherings to 25 People


States that Restricted Church Gatherings to 10 People

Alabama, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

States that Restricted Church Gatherings to 5 People

Rhode Island

States that Banned Church Gatherings Altogether

Alaska, California, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Washington

Unemployment Rates

All of the closures, of course, impacted unemployment rates.

States with Unemployment Rates Under 3.0

Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont

States with Unemployment Rates Under 4.0

Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Wisconsin

States with Unemployment Rates Under 5.0

Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia

States with Unemployment Rates Under 6.0

North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming

States with Unemployment Rates Under 7.0

Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas

States with Unemployment Rates Under 8.0

District of Columbia, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania

States with Unemployment Rates Over 8.0 (The Highest in the Country)

California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, New York

States that Banned or Restricted a Potentially Life-Saving Medication

Hydroxychloroquine suddenly became a political drug when President Trump mentioned it in a press briefing. Even though it showed promise in preventing extreme cases of the virus, some states decided to ban the medication. Many believe the governors who did this caused unnecessary deaths.

States that Allowed the Use of HCQ for COVID-19 or Did Not Prohibit It

Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin

States that Discouraged HCQ for COVID-19

District of Columbia, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming

States that Banned or Restricted HCQ Use for COVID-19

Arizona, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia

Vaccine Passports

Vaccine passports are a scary concept! If we need a vaccine passport to get on a public bus or to enter a store, I believe we will be very near to Jesus returning. We can’t know the day or the hour, but end times prophecy will be lining up…

States that have Banned Vaccine Passports

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wyoming

States that have Discussed Banning Vaccine Passports

Alaska, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin

States that are Unsure or have Mixed Policies about Vaccine Passports

Connecticut, Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Vermont, West Virginia

States that have Discussed Issuing Vaccine Passports

California, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, Virginia

States that are Working On or Have Issued Vaccine Passports or Have Made it Necessary for People to Show their Vaccine Card (Effectively, Vaccine Passports)

Hawaii, New York, Oregon, Washington

COVID-19 Deaths

One might expect that no mask mandates and no stay home orders would mean more deaths. This hasn’t necessarily been the case.

States with Less than 1,000 Deaths per Million

Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington

States with Less than 1,500 Deaths per Million

Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

States with Less than 2,000 Deaths per Million

Arkansas, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia

States with 2,000 Deaths per Million or More

Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota

Some Individual State Notes

When I found interesting information about each state’s requirements, I shared them here:


“Businesses are not required to deny entry to people who aren’t wearing a mask, but they retain the right to do so.”

“The order doesn’t apply to people with a medical condition or disability that prevents him or her from wearing a facial covering.”

“The facial-covering requirement does not apply to people who are actively engaged in exercise or athletic activities.”

However, “The penalty for violating the order can result in a $500 fine and/or jail time.”


Here’s the official word:

“Exceptions for exercise. The facial-covering requirement does not apply to:
(i) Any person who is actively engaged in exercise in a gym or other athletic facility
if he or she maintains six feet of separation from persons of another household;
(ii) Any person who is directly participating in athletic activities in compliance with
paragraph 11 of this order; or
(iii) Any person who is in a swimming pool, lake, water attraction, or similar body of
water, though wearing a face covering or social distancing is strongly encouraged
if safe and practicable.
c. Exceptions for effective communication. The facial-covering requirement does not
apply to:
(i) Any person who is seeking to communicate with another person where the ability
to see the person’s mouth is essential for communication (such as when the other
person has a hearing impairment); or
(ii) Any person speaking for broadcast or to an audience if the person maintains six
feet of separation from persons from another household.
d. Exceptions to facilitate constitutionally protected activity. The facial-covering
requirement does not apply to:
(i) Any person who is voting, though wearing a face covering is strongly
encouraged; or
(ii) Any person who cannot wear a facial covering because he or she is actively
providing or obtaining access to religious worship, though wearing a face
covering is strongly encouraged.
e. Exceptions for essential job functions. The facial-covering requirement does not apply
(i) Any first responder (including law enforcement officers, firefighters, or
emergency medical personnel) if necessary to perform a public-safety function; or
(ii) Any person performing a job function if wearing a face covering is inconsistent
with industry safety standards or a business’s established safety protocols.”





Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said at a news conference on March 16 that restaurants can remain open “on their own choosing and based upon market demand”. Source


“For outdoor activities,” what Ghaly called “mega outdoor events” with attendance of more than10,000, he announced, “We are recommending that those operators have a system to verify vaccination or verify.” Operators of those events can also “give that person an option to come into the event and wear a mask.” Source


“There are challenges with respect to mostly enforcement because you don’t know who’s vaccinated or not,’’ he said. “We’re not going to be in the business of asking people for a so-called vaccine passport.”



“Here in Iowa, we will protect Iowans from being forced by tyrannical governments to inject their body with chemicals that they may or may not wish to have,” state Sen. Jake Chapman (R), said, according to the Register.”



Regarding Vaccine Passports:

“I really think the focus for us and for the commonwealth generally should be on getting everybody who wants to get vaccinated vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can. There’s plenty of time to talk about some of this other stuff,” Baker said during the press briefing in Revere.”


New Jersey

“I was asked about the vaccination passport, if I was open-minded to it at one point. I said ‘Yeah, that’s something that I’d be open minded to,'” said the governor. “I don’t want anyone to think that we’re up here pounding the table, to think that this is something we unquestionably support. The CDC is the place that that discussion and that guidance has to come from.”


North Dakota

“Hoverson said that “The mask is a part of a larger apparatus of a movement of unelected, wealthy bureaucrats, who are robbing our freedoms and perpetuating lies.” He also reportedly said, “Our state is not a prison camp.”



“In order to meet the CDC guidance that someone who is vaccinated does not need to wear a mask, or keep their distance, we need to know who is vaccinated. We need someone to disclose their vaccination status so they can remove their mask in a setting and not keep their distance,” Dr. Sidelinger said.”




Still considering a move? Where would you like to move?


Alabama Approves Ban on Vaccine Passports, Alabama Executive Order, Alabama Stay Home Order, Alaska Won’t Require Vaccine Passports, Arizona Executive Orders, Arizona Governor Bans Vaccine Passports, Business Closures, California to Require Proof, Free States Fared Better, Coronavirus Stay Home Orders, Delaware Won’t Check for Vaccine Passport, Does Iowa Have the Equivalent of a Stay Home Order?, Indiana Lawmakers Ban Vaccine Passports, Inslee Brings Vaccine Passports, Iowa Passes Bill to Curtail Vaccine Passports, Most States Have Religious Exemptions, North Dakota, No Mandatory Face Masks, Nearly Every US State is Dropping Mask Mandates, Nine States Prohibit In Person Church Services, North Dakota to Drop Mask Mandate, Northam: Vaccine Passports are On the Table, Oregon Discusses Vaccine Passport Requirement, Phased Re-Opening of Each State, School Closures, State Action on HCQ, State-by-State Status Update on Gathering Restrictions, States Requiring Face Coverings, States that are Issuing Vaccine Passports, Tennessee Senate Passes Ban on Vaccine Passports, Texas Classrooms Can Stay Closed this Fall, The US States that are Using Vaccine Passport Programs, These States are Trying to Ban Vaccine Passports, These States Have Been Locked Down the Longest, Unemployment Rates for States, Where Church Services are Still Restricted, Where Schools are Reopening, Which States Have No Mask Mandate?


  • Barbara

    Thank you for being an advocate of Freedom!! I just replied to your ‘New Site’ email requesting to be added to your email list and got a reply that my message was quarantined… check your Spam folder!

  • Patricia Wagner

    Brenda, what a nice piece of research you’ve shared with us. It’s been diffficult to compare countrywide on our own. These stats tell a great deal, but can’t tell it all. As an Arizonan, I was often upset that our governor was feted in the conservative news as being very hands-off about restrictions but here on the ground I can tell you he acheived the liberal goal in a secretive way. He contacted every business that he allowed to remain open, and all on the same day, they went along with his “secret” instructions to implement their own stringent mask rules. This way, he could look like the “good guy” conservative and claim he wasn’t persecuting those of us with medical or religious objections to wearing a mask. It was iike all the doors shut on me, tight, within 2 hours of each other all over town. It got pretty scary for a while here – there wasn’t a single store except Trader Joe’s that would let me in to grocery shop without a mask. And they gave me a Scarlet Letter type of designation so I was ostracised by the other shoppers and the staff. I had to use a cart that was prominently marked as being a non-masker. Not being a homesteader, it was either this or go hungry. I still managed to build a one year pantry, so I won’t be held hostage like that again.

    • brenda

      Wow, Patricia, that sounds so difficult! I am surprised Trader Joes let you in without a mask, they’ve been pretty strict here (well, we don’t have one in our town, but an hour and a half away). I am glad you were able to get some groceries, but I wish they were more understanding towards you!

    • brenda

      Patricia, you make a really good point. It is difficult for people who don’t live in an area to accurately find information about what happened. I can see what the media reported, but we know how honest they have been this past year & before that as well! Yikes. I am thankful for people like you sharing your experience with me! I rely on that as I write future articles. Thank you!

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