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As the coronavirus pandamic continues to play out across the nation and world, states are in varying phases of allowing local food establishments to expand from curbside pickup and home delivery to dine-in service. Several states reopened their restaurants for dining under new guidelines the weeks of May 4, May 11 and May 18. Even more have followed this week. Here is a breakdown of where restaurants are open for dine-in and what new precautions have been taken to inhibit the virus’s spread.
Restaurants and bars in Colorado may reopen on May 27. Outdoor dine-in service is encouraged with parties maintaining a distance of 6 feet. Indoor dining can be held at 50% capacity and a maximum of 50 patrons. Servers must wear face coverings and parties must be limited to eight or fewer.
On March 22, restaurants and bars in two regions of Michigan reopened for dine-in with limited seating. All reopened establishments are limited to 50% capacity of their normal seating, require servers wear face coverings, keep groups at least 6 feet apart and follow rigorous disinfection protocols.
In Kentucky, restaurants were allowed to reopen at 33% capacity on May 22 just in time for Memorial Day weekend. The reopening marked the start of the “Healthy at Work” phase of Governor Andy Bershear’s reopening plan. Bars are anticipated to reopen on July 1.
May 22 marked day one of safer-at-home phase two in North Carolina. Under the new phase, restaurants reopened at 50% dine-in capacity and cleaning requirements. Other businesses including personal care businesses and pools also opened at 50% capacity on May 22.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice reopening plan called “The Comeback” allowed for restaurants to reopen for indoor dining at 50% capacity on May 21 and bars under similar requirements on May 26. Party sizes must be limited to six and patrons may no longer congregate in waiting areas.
On May 20, Connecticut restaurants reopened for outdoor seating only with no bar areas. Servers must wear face masks or cloth coverings and tables should be 6 feet apart. Establishments are also encouraged to implement other small changes like replacing reusable menus with paper ones and encouraging contactless payment.
In New Hampshire, restaurants were allowed to reopen for outdoor dining only on May 18. Tables must be spaced 6 feet apart and strict sanitation guidelines met. Reservations and call ahead seating are to be encouraged even as takeout and delivery continue.
In rural areas of Maine on May 18, restaurants dine-in services resumed with additional guidelines. The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development requires employees and customers at reopened restaurants wear cloth face coverings. Inside reopened dining rooms, social distancing must be maintained.
Beginning May 18, Rhode Island restaurants reopened for outdoor dining only. Dining is by reservation only and groups may not exceed five people. Tables are to be 8 feet apart or no more than 20 to an outdoor space. One-time paper menus, digital and chalkboard menus are recommended. Servers and customers must wear face coverings.
South Dakota businesses were never required to close. However, under Governor Kristi Noem’s “Back to Normal” plan, restaurants, bars and other enclosed retail businesses are encouraged to resume operations in a manner that allows for reasonable physical distancing, good hygiene and appropriate sanitation.
Under phase two of Washington Governor Jay Inslee's reopening plan, dine-in may resume so long as guest occupancy remains at 50%, tables are spaced far enough apart, buffets, salad bars and bar seating remain closed and other guidelines are followed. As of May 24, 21 Washington counties have met Governor Jay Inslee’s guidelines to enter phase two of reopening.
Effective May 15, restaurants in Wyoming could reopen for indoor and outdoor dining under specific conditions including; adequate table spacing, requirements that staff wear face coverings and be screened for coronavirus symptoms and implementation of increased sanitation measures.
Under phase one of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s “Virginia Forward” plan beginning May 15 in parts of the state, restaurants may reopen for outdoor dining so long as they adhere to the following additional requirements; limit occupancy to 50%, maintain 6 feet physical distancing between guests and tables, seat parties of no more than ten patrons and close bar seating.
Depending on the county, some Oregon restaurants reopened for dine in with 6 feet distancing required on May 15. At reopened establishments employees must wear cloth face masks or disposable coverings provided by the employer and all on-site consumption of food or drinks must end by 10 p.m.
Under stage two of the “Idaho Rebounds” reopening plan, restaurant dining rooms began reopening May 15 after having submitted plans for approval by local public health districts.
On May 13, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Governor Tony Evers safer at home order effective immediately. As reopening decisions fall to local officials, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation put together guidelines for the state’s reopening restaurants.
Effective May 18, Governor Ron DeSantis’ Plan for Florida's Recovery allowed restaurants throughout the state of Florida to increase indoor capacity to 50% with proper social distancing. Outdoor seating, however, is encouraged.
Beginning May 11, Governor Henry McMaster permitted restaurants to reopen for limited dine-in services. Tables must be spaced 6 to 8 feet apart, additional cleaning and sanitization must take place and only 50% of posted occupancy is allowed inside.
Beginning May 11, restaurants, coffee shops and cafes in Louisiana could open with occupancy limited to 25%, sanitation and proper spacing for physical distancing.
On May 11, Alabama amended its statewide COVID-19 health order. Bars, breweries and restaurants were allowed to open with limited table seating and a mandatory 6 feet between each table.
Arizona Governor Douglas Ducey signed an executive order allowing for area restaurants to resume dine-in services on May 11 provided they establish and implement COVID-19 precautions. The Arizona Department of Health Services recommend the reopened restaurants maintain physical distance by limiting parties to 10, operating with reduced capacity and implementing heightened sanitation rules.
In Arkansas, restaurants also resumed dine-in service on May 11 as directed by the state’s Department of Health. Seating is limited to 33% capacity both indoors and outdoors. Masks are required for all staff and customers, groups are limited to 10 people or less, and customers are encouraged to order their meals prior to arrival to limit time spent in the restaurant.
Indiana entered Governor Eric Holcomb’s stage two of recovery on May 4. A week later on May 11, restaurants and bars serving food were allowed to resume dine-in service at 50% capacity without live entertainment and with closed bar seating. Employees must be screened daily and wear face coverings.
May 9 marked day one of phase one of Nevada’s roadmap to recovery. Under phase one, restaurants are strongly encouraged to continue curbside and delivery services but may elect to resume dine-in under new social distancing standards. Self-service stations must be done away with. Employers must require staff wear face coverings and encourage customers to do the same. Tables must be spaced 6 feet apart and capacity must be limited to 50%.
An executive order by Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves allowed for restaurants and bars to resume in-house dining indoors or outdoors starting on May 7 — as long as they limit customers to 50% of seating capacity. Establishments must also conduct daily screenings of all employees at the beginning of their shift, close to the public no later than 10 p.m. and adhere to other guidelines.
Phase one of reopening Kansas allowed for all businesses, including restaurants, to reopen should they maintain at least 6 feet of distance between consumers. Beyond that, the order does not specify any other restaurant rules.
Under Missouri’s “Show Me Strong, Show Me Recovery Order,” restaurants were allowed to resume dine-in services starting on May 4 under the condition that they take precautionary public health measures such as maintaining proper spacing of at least 6 feet between tables, seating no more than 10 people at a table and not using any communal seating areas for non-connected parties.
On April 22, a Montana state directive allowed for restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and casinos to become operational again — so long as they close doors no later than 11:30 p.m. and limit capacity to 50% and tables to no more than six patrons at a time. Six feet of physical distance must be maintained between groups and tables.
As of May 4, all Nebraska restaurants could resume service under health precautions including: limiting occupancy to 50%; seating parties at least 6 feet apart; and closing salad bars, self-serve buffets and bar seating.
Effective from May 1 through May 15 in all but 22 Iowa counties, restaurants were allowed to resume dine-in service should they limit indoor and outdoor seating to 50% of normal operating capacity, limit group size to no more than six people, arrange seats to allow for 6 feet of distance between tables, close self service stations and increase hygiene practices.
On April 29, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed an executive order allowing for restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, food trucks and cafes to reopen under the condition that they adopt industry-specific standards. Capacity must be limited to 50% and no more than 10 people can sit at a table. Additionally, bar stool seating will be allowed for just one or two guests seated 6 feet apart. Standing in bars is still not allowed.
Phase one of reopening Oklahoma under Governor Kevin Stitt began on April 24, however, full- and quick-service restaurants were not allowed to reopen for indoor dining until May 1. Establishments are encouraged to develop their own cleaning and disinfecting plan, maintain proper distancing at 6 feet between customers using floor markers, and replace reusable items such as menus and condiment containers with single-use items instead.
All restaurants in Texas were permitted to reopen at 25% capacity on May 1. No more than six customers may be seated at a table. Parties must maintain 6 feet of distance from each other at all times, hand sanitizing stations must be available near the entrance, and all employees and contractors must be screened for health before entering the restaurants.
Utah entered the orange “moderate” phase of reopening on May 1. The transition allowed for dine-in service to resume under typical precautions. Staff must wear face coverings, tables must seat no more than 10 people, and guests must stay 6 feet apart at all times, whether they are seated or in the waiting area.
Georgia restaurants were allowed to resume dine-in service on April 27 should they allow just 10 patrons in the facility per 500 square feet of public space. Public space areas may include waiting and bar areas but not hallways, restrooms or areas closed to customers. The Georgia Restaurant Association also recommends precautions such as limiting party size to six per table, requiring employees to wear face masks and properly training staff.
Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee issued the first steps of the “Tennessee Pledge” on April 24. As part of the first step, restaurants in 89 of the 95 state counties were permitted to reopen at 50% occupancy. Tables must be placed 6 feet apart and seat no more than six guests. Live music is not permitted and bars must remain closed. Customers must also be screened for illness upon entrance.
State directive allowed for restaurants in Alaska to reopen as early as April 24 under health guidelines. The state’s most recent update to social distancing requirements mandates restaurants resuming table service close all self-service buffets and salad bars as well as limit capacity to 50% of building occupancy and 25% seating of the bar area.
Restaurants and bars in Ohio will reopen in two phases: outdoor dining on May 15 and indoor dining on May 21. To ensure customer and employee safety, restaurants must require all employees wear face coverings, ensure a minimum of 6 feet between employees and increase frequency of surface cleaning, hand washing and sanitizing. Now that you know what states have dine-in, find answers to all your other coronavirus food-related questions here.
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