Special Report

Restaurant Reopening Restrictions in Every State

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South Dakota
> Mask mandate No (required in some municipalities)
> Indoor seating capacity: 100%
> Maximum guests per table: Not specified

While the South Dakota Department of Health advises people to wear masks “in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain,” Gov. Kristi Noem steadfastly refuses to institute a mask mandate or impose capacity limits on restaurants or other businesses. The state’s Back to Normal Plan stresses “the principle of personal responsibility,” but does note that “South Dakotans are encouraged to continue to consider CDC guidelines…”

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> Mask mandate No (required in some jurisdictions)
> Indoor seating capacity: 100% (with some restrictions)
> Maximum guests per table: 10

While Gov. Bill Lee urges Tennesseeans to wear masks in public places, he has not instituted an official mask mandate. However, the counties that include Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga, among other jurisdictions, have passed mandates of their own. The state’s restaurant guidelines suggest that establishments “Increase remote, curbside, pickup, and/or delivery options to minimize contact and maintain social distancing.” The same guidelines include a provision that may seem ironic for the capital city of Nashville — sometimes known as Music City, U.S.A. “Avoid offering live music unless appropriate precautions are taken,” it reads.

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> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: 50-75%
> Maximum guests per table: Not specified

Texas has mandated since July the wearing of face coverings in public spaces, including restaurants, “wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household.” Counties with fewer than 20 active COVID-19 cases may apply for an exemption from the requirement. Restaurants in most of the state are allowed to operate at 75% capacity, but that limit falls to 50% in regions where the percentage of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients exceeds 15% for seven straight days.

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> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: 0-100%
> Maximum guests per table: 10

The state had previously imposed mask mandates on a county level based on coronavirus infection rates. On Nov. 9, however, Gov. Gary Herbert replaced this with a statewide measure requiring everyone over the age of 2 to wear a face covering in public places and whenever they are unable to maintain social distancing from others not in their household. The order will stay in place until Jan. 21. Utah divides regions of the state into four risk categories: new normal, low, moderate, and high. In high-risk areas, no indoor or outdoor dining is permitted. In low or moderate risk areas, there is no set capacity limit but physical distancing guidelines must be observed. A new normal risk level imposes no limits, but, as with low and moderate risk areas, requires stringent sanitation measures.

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> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: 50%
> Maximum guests per table: Not specified

Gov. Phil Scott issued a mask mandate effective Aug. 1, and there have been several subsequent extensions — the latest of which applies until at least Jan. 15. Its terms require everyone aged 2 and older to wear a face covering both indoors and out “wherever close contact is unavoidable.” Though an indoor seating capacity of 50% is allowed, regulations limit the overall number of diners to a maximum of 75 people indoors and 150 outdoors (if the restaurant’s maximum licensed seating capacity is lower, that figure applies). Contact tracing information for diners must be retained for at least 30 days.

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