Liz Newman | November 5, 2020, 05:22 PM CST
It’s hard to keep track of anything lately, and statewide dining restrictions for restaurants due to the COVID-19 pandemic are at the top of that list. Due to recent surges in cases of the novel coronavirus nationwide, many states have reinstated restaurant rules they'd previously rolled back during reopening earlier this year. As the new variant surges, COVID-19 cases are expected to climb, so restaurants may face more closures or restrictions on opening in the coming months.
To help restaurants across the country find up-to-date information on whether they're allowed to open during the coronavirus pandemic, we've compiled this 50-state index of COVID-19 restaurant & bar rules. We'll be updating this story weekly on Fridays with relevant adjustments to each state's restaurant restrictions.
Pro tip: Use Control+F (Windows) or Command+F (Mac) to quickly locate your state's guidelines!
According to Alabama Public Health, patrons are encouraged to adhere to social distancing guidelines in bar areas. A state-wide mask mandate remains in effect.
Bars and restaurants may resume full operations.
As of March, Gov. Hutchinson announced all capacity restrictions are lifted at restaurants.
As of February 2022, California is dropping its mask mandate for vaccinated people in most public spaces; this includes all Bay Area counties except Santa Clara.
As of February 12, the city of Denver, Glenwood Springs as well as Adams and Arapahoe counties allowed their public health orders to expire.
As of February 7, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the statewide indoor mask mandate is expired for those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to Delaware Health and Social Services, businesses may operate at full capacity; while it is not required, it is still encouraged to wear face coverings when in indoor public places.
As of Jan. 15, 2022, individuals 12 and up must have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to enter indoor food establishments, fitness centers, cultural and entertainment facilities. By Feb. 15, this same group must be fully vaccinated.
As of February 17, D.C. has dropped both its mask and vaccine mandates to dine indoors.
Due to the increase in Florida's cases, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced individuals must wear a mask in county facilities, regardless of vaccination status.
As of May 1, 2021, the governor removed the remaining social distancing requirements at bars and restaurants and eliminated masks requirements for customer-facing staff like servers and bartenders. However, restaurants and bars can continue to individually implement these and other safety measures, including requiring both staff and patrons to wear masks and limiting capacity. In July 2021, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms ordered individuals ages 10 and up to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
A statewide mandate requires individuals 5 and older to wear a face mask in indoor public settings. Masks are not required outdoors.
According to Idaho’s Official Government Website, standing-room service will be prohibited at bars, restaurants and nightclubs in an effort to discourage social mingling. Limited occupancy encouraged, but not required, as long as social distancing is maintained.
City officials stated that, effective immediately, restaurants, bars and events can offer indoor service at 100% capacity. Outdoor dining can now also accommodate more than six people per table. Restaurants, bars and event venues are no longer limited to 50 people within any one space.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that as of Monday, Feb. 28, the city would end its vaccine and mask mandates; Illinois has alreasy dropped its face-covering requirement.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health, gathering restrictions are now set by regional health officials. Gov. Holcomb has banned vaccine passports.
Iowa City Mayor Cownie instituted a mandate that requires individuals to wear a mask when inside public spaces, such as grocery stores, and when outside if it’s not possible to stay 6 feet away from others.
According to New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, individuals 12 and up must provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test for entry into indoor activities, including restaurants; as well as outdoor events with more than 500 people.
As of Jan. 5, individuals 2 and older must wear a mask in indoor public spaces. Businesses that require proof of vaccination to be on site don’t need to require masks.
According to the Maryland Department of Health, all establishments should still establish a 6-foot marking system to visually demonstrate the recommended social distancing at all locations where customers and staff congregate.
As of January 15, 2022 patrons in Boston will have to show they’ve received at least one shot in order to enter indoor spaces like restaurants and bars; on Feb. 15, patrons must be fully vaccinated. On February 8, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced the city would be winding down its proof-of-vaccination rules due to dwindeling cases.
Individuals 2 years old and older must wear a mask in indoor public spaces unless social distancing can be maintained.
As of February Governor Hochul announced masks will be no longer be required, so long as restaurants provide signage warning of Omicron spread.
Masks continue to be required indoors in public spaces for individuals 5 and up, regardless of vaccination status.
As of April 18, 2022, Philadelphia is returning to an indoor mask mandate as cases of the new variant begin to rise. Businesses can opt to require proof of vaccination instead of requiring masks.
Restaurants, retail stores and other indoor venues with a capacity of 250 people or more must require employees and patrons to wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status. Indoor venues with a capacity of 250 people or fewer must require individuals to wear a mask or show proof of vaccination.
The governor of South Carolina recently announced that requirements such as spacing tables six feet apart, limiting the number of diners per table to eight and not allowing people to congregate while waiting will now only be strongly encouraged, not necessary.
While South Dakota businesses were never “forced to close”, the state's “Back to Normal” plan provides guidelines for best practices.
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall ordered individuals ages 3 and up (including employees and visitors) to wear a mask when inside city facilities.
As of June 2021, the state lifted its 10 p.m. curfew for bars and clubs. According to the State of Vermont, the state is in "Step 3" of the Vermont Forward plan with the following regulations in place: A 300 cap on indoor gathering restrictions or one unvaccinated individual per 50 square feet. There are no limits on the number of vaccinated people. A cap of 900 people for outdoor gatherings. There are no limits on the number of vaccinated people. Masking and distancing for people who are unvaccinated is still required.
Individuals 5 and older must wear a mask in indoor public spaces or at large outdoor events with 500 people or more, regardless of vaccination status.
By January 15, Mayor Muriel Bowser mandates that all customers ages 12 and older in Washington D.C. must have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine to dine inside a restaurant or attend an event at most indoor venues; by Feb. 15, patrons must be fully vaccinated.
Individuals ages 2 and up must wear a mask in indoor public spaces when with people outside their household.
[Photo via Pixabay]
About The Author
Liz Newman is a staff writer at Back of House. Liz spent more than a decade covering the restaurant and hospitality industry for publications including Thrillist, Travel + Leisure, and Food + Wine.
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