In the United States, the debate has taken on partisan tones ahead of this fall's presidential elections. Republican President Donald Trump urged supporters to "liberate" three states led by Democratic governors, tweeting the kind of rhetoric some have used to demand an end to stay-at-home orders that have thrown millions out of work. Some states, mostly GOP-led, are following suit.
Here are the states confident they can begin reopening before May 1.
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States with plans to reopen by May 1
Gov. Ron DeSantis said municipalities could reopen beaches and parks if they could do so safely. In Jacksonville, beaches reopened Friday afternoon.
Gov. Greg Abbott said stores could begin selling curbside, nonessential surgery could resume and state parks could reopen. As early as Monday, state parks will open with a number of restrictions for guests, and by April 24, retail businesses that have been closed may re-open and offer 'to-go' options for customers.
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Gov. Mike DeWine has announced that the state is "ready to move into the next phase" and begin to slowly open back up May 2. The governor said the curve in the state is flattening but urged residents to proceed with caution.
"We have to assume everyone we meet is carrying the virus," DeWine said on Friday.
Gov. Henry McMaster said he's eyeing to reopen the state by the end of the month and expects the state's economy to be "humming" by the end of June. He also will begin reopening public boat ramps.
Executive orders are set to expire on April 31 in North Dakota, and Gov. Doug Burgum seemed ready on Thursday to start reopening on May 1. But Friday, Burgum said that the state had the "largest single day of new cases by a significant amount" because of increased of testing, and said they had to keep working to meet that date.
Gov. Kristi Noem never issued a stay at home order in the state to give businesses the "opportunity to be innovative." She also said that South Dakota is already a step ahead of other states because the economy was already in the process of being reopened.
Gov. Gary Herbert said he'd like to see sit down dining, elective surgeries and gyms reopen by the beginning of May.
"A lot will depend on what we do individually," he said.
Gov. Tate Reeves extended the statewide shelter-in-place from April 20 to April 27, but restrictions were relaxed to allow fishing and curbside sales for nonessential businesses.
"We can't stay in this position for much longer," he said.
Gov. Brad Little said that nonessential businesses can reopen in may as long as they comply with proper social distancing guidelines. Little also said he will continue to push for expanded access to testing.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announced Friday he'd begin taking steps to reopen the economy next week. "Low contact" businesses can have no more than two people on site. Farmers' markets can open May 1.
Gov. Whitmer said Michigan may relax some restrictions on May 1 but "two weeks is a long way away" and no firm decision has been made yet. The state was one of several where protests took to the state capital to demand the lifting of stay-at-home orders.
No statewide stay-at home-order was issued but Gov. Pete Ricketts has asked people to stay home until April 30. With blessing from the governor -- or a signal that he won't object to the move -- Nebraska Crossing Outlets plans to have a "soft opening" on April 24. The Nebraska Hospital Association, which represents 93 hospitals, said earlier this week that the action could "nullify our efforts to this point."
The Associated Press and ABC News contributed to this report.