As someone whose entire family lives back in New York, seeing the differences between their COVID-19 policies and Montana's has been pretty wild. New York City has had more Coronavirus cases than anywhere else in the world, and while most of my family and friends live at least an hour or so outside of the actual city, they're still dealing with stay-at-home orders and an almost total shutdown of any non-essential business.

You switch over to Montana though, and things are pretty different - our stay-at-home order was lifted a while ago, and we've been following a multi-phase plan to reopen the state. At this point, businesses, bars, restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, museums, and more are all allowed to be back in action, with social distancing measures and other safety precautions in place. There are still aspects of normal life that we may not get back for a while - like concerts, for example - but for the most part, things have started to resemble normalcy.

That might be why Montana has been declared the most "Open For Business" state in the entire country. Zippia analyzed the numbers and ranked each state in three areas: the date the stay-at-home order was lifted, business capacity, and COVID tests per cases.

North Dakota, Tennessee, Alabama, and Alaska all follow Montana to round out the top 5, while my home state of New York is all the way down at number 44. So it looks like my family has a little way to go, but I'll be sure to Facetime them while I'm wearing a mask at the Farmers Market next week.

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