Trade and Prosperity in the States: The Case of California



Patrick Tyrrell | The Heritage Foundation

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc in the 50 states as governors and lawmakers have imposed wide-ranging restrictions on businesses and individuals, which severely curtailed economic activity. States with strict stay-at-home orders have been bearing heavy costs in the areas of alcoholism, suicide, physical and mental health problems, and personal and governmental financial shortfalls

The Golden State has been among the strictest states in terms of COVID-19 distancing measures. It was the first state to impose a statewide stay-at-home order and closure of “non-essential” businesses in March 2020, and it reimposed them in December 2020 after never fully reopening in between. Even after the CDC lifted mask requirements, restrictions remained: Masks were still mandated in indoor workplaces for example—even for those who were vaccinated—unless everyone in the workplace was fully vaccinated.2 Small businesses and working-class people have borne the brunt of the state government’s economic shutdown. COVID-19 restrictions on economic activity have also had serious repercussions in Californian ports, hindering international trade responsible for hundreds of thousands of California jobs.


To read the full report from The Heritage Foundation, please click here.