Eastern Time Zone
The Eastern Time Zone (ET) is a time zone encompassing part or all of 23 states in the eastern part of the United States, parts of eastern Canada, the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico, Panama and Colombia, mainland Ecuador, Peru, and a small portion of westernmost Brazil in South America, along with certain Caribbean and Atlantic islands.
Places that use:
- Eastern Standard Time (EST), when observing standard time (autumn/winter), are five hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC−05:00).
- Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), when observing daylight saving time (spring/summer), are four hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC−04:00).
In the northern parts of the time zone, on the second Sunday in March, at 2:00 a.m. EST, clocks are advanced to 3:00 a.m. EDT leaving a one-hour "gap". On the first Sunday in November, at 2:00 a.m. EDT, clocks are moved back to 1:00 a.m. EST, thus "duplicating" one hour. Southern parts of the zone (Panama and the Caribbean) do not observe daylight saving time.
The boundaries of the Eastern Time Zone have moved westward since the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) took over time-zone management from railroads in 1938. For example, the easternmost and northernmost counties in Kentucky were added to the zone in the 1940s, and in 1961 most of the state went Eastern. In 2000, Wayne County, on the Tennessee border, switched from Central to Eastern.
In March 2018, the Florida Legislature passed a bill requesting authorization from Congress for year-round daylight saving time, which would effectively put Florida on Atlantic Standard Time year-round (except for west of the Apalachicola River, which would be on Eastern Standard Time year-round). A similar bill was proposed for the Canadian province of Ontario by its legislative assembly in late 2020, which would have a similar effect on the province if passed.
Daylight saving time
For those in the United States, daylight saving time for the Eastern Time Zone was introduced by the Uniform Time Act of 1966, which specified that daylight saving time would run from the last Sunday of April until the last Sunday in October. The act was amended to make the first Sunday in April the beginning of daylight saving time beginning in 1987.
Later, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended daylight saving time in the United States, beginning in 2007. Since then, local times change at 2:00 a.m. EST to 3:00 a.m. EDT on the second Sunday in March, and return from 2:00 a.m. EDT to 1:00 a.m. EST on the first Sunday in November. In Canada, daylight saving time begins and ends on the same days and at the same times as it does in the United States.
All observe daylight saving time in sync with the United States, with very localized exceptions.
Seventeen states and Washington, D.C. are located entirely within the Eastern Time Zone. They are:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Five states are partly in the Eastern Time Zone, with the remaining portions in the Central Time Zone. They are:
- Florida – peninsula and Big Bend regions east of the Apalachicola River along with portions of Gulf County south of the Intracoastal Waterway.
- Indiana – all except for northwest (Gary) and southwest (Evansville) regions
- Kentucky – eastern 60%, including the state's three largest metropolitan areas: Louisville, Lexington, Northern Kentucky
- Michigan – all, except for the four Upper Peninsula counties that border Wisconsin: Gogebic, Iron, Dickinson, and Menominee
- Tennessee – East Tennessee
Additionally, Phenix City, Alabama, and several nearby communities in Russell County, Alabama unofficially observe Eastern Time. This is due to their close proximity to Columbus, Georgia, which is on Eastern Time.
- Quintana Roo: This is the only Mexican state to observe EST. It moved from Central Time to Eastern Time after a successful lobbying effort by tourism interests. Quintana Roo does not observe daylight saving time.
The Bahamas and Haiti officially observe both Eastern Standard Time during the winter months and Eastern Daylight Time during the summer months. Cuba generally follows the U.S. with Eastern Standard Time in the winter, and Eastern Daylight Time in the summer, but the exact day of change varies year to year. Cayman Islands and Jamaica use Eastern Standard Time year-round.
Turks and Caicos Islands
The Turks and Caicos Islands followed Eastern Time with daylight saving until 2015, when the territory switched to the Atlantic Time Zone. The Turks and Caicos Islands switched back to the pre-2015 schedule in March 2018. A 2017 consultation paper highlighted the advantage for business and tourism of being in the same time zone as the eastern United States as an important factor in the decision.
In South America, the state of Acre and the southwest part of the state of Amazonas (both in Brazil), along with Panama and Colombia, Ecuador (except for the Galápagos Islands, which use Central Standard Time), and Peru also use Eastern Standard Time year-round.