Special Report

Restaurant Reopening Restrictions in Every State

> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: 50%
> Maximum guests per table: 5

Reopening guidelines from the Hawaii State Department of Health ask restaurants to “Consider a reservations-only business model for greater control of customer volume” for both indoor and outdoor seating and to “Consider allowing customers to pre-order while making reservations to decrease the length of time they are in the establishment.” Tables must be positioned at least 5 feet apart, and reservations are required for indoor dining.

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

Idaho asks restaurants to “limit occupancy as necessary to maintain six feet physical distancing,” but leaves specific capacity limits up to individual operators. The state encourages restaurants to offer online, digital, and/or phone-in ordering and to implement explanatory signage and protection barriers to limit customer movement and establish distancing. In addition, Idaho requests — but doesn’t demand — that restaurants establish dedicated hours of operation for diners at risk of severe disease.

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> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: Not specified
> Maximum guests per table: 10

Illinois divides the state into four regions, with reopening phases for each keyed to COVID-19 test positivity rate, ICU bed availability, and other metrics. All four are currently in Phase 4, the least restrictive level. Official guidelines specify that “seated area capacity of restaurants and bars should be determined by arranging seating to provide a minimum of six feet between tables or other designated patron service areas.” Unlike many states, Illinois permits live music in restaurants but asks that performers as well as employees follow social distancing guidelines and that performers wear masks where practical. In addition, the placement of barriers between singers and both customers and employees is encouraged.

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> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: Not specified
> Maximum guests per table: 6

In November, Gov. Eric Holcomb introduced a new four-level color-coded rating system for counties, replacing the tiered phases the state had been using. Among other things, the system limits public gatherings to 25 people in counties in the red level (the most restrictive level). However, Holcomb also issued an executive order on Dec. 1 rescinding capacity limits for restaurants, bars, and other places where food and/or drink is served. Instead, the state now requires only that “seating must be arranged and maintained so that individuals, households or parties are spaced at least six feet apart from any other individual, household or party.”

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> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: 100%
> Maximum guests per table: 8 (unlimited if the entire group is from the same household)

After initially leaving it up to individual restaurant operators to establish and police their own mitigation protocols, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced a statewide mask-wearing mandate on Nov. 17. The mandate was originally set to expire on Dec. 10 but has been extended until at least Jan. 8. In addition to requiring a distance of at least 6 feet between each group or lone diners, the state asks restaurants to provide distinct walking lanes to minimize contact between customers where possible.

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