Special Report

Restaurant Reopening Restrictions in Every State

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Kansas
> Mask mandate Yes, with exceptions
> Indoor seating capacity: 100% (with some restrictions)
> Maximum guests per table: 10 (with exceptions)

Gov. Laura Kelly issued an executive order in July, reissued in November, requiring anyone over 5 years old to wear masks both indoors and outdoors if maintaining a 6-foot distance from others not of the same household is impossible. However, state law permits counties to ignore the mandate if they wish. Counties also have leeway to establish other standards. For instance, Shawnee County (home to Topeka, the state capital) limits restaurant seating to eight people per table and allows law enforcement to issue code-violation citations, unlike many other jurisdictions.

Kentucky
> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: 50%
> Maximum guests per table: 10

The Bluegrass State requires masks for anyone over the age of 5 “in situations that represent a high risk of COVID-19 transmission” — restaurants included. The mandate is in effect at least until Jan. 2. While up to 10 customers may dine together, this doesn’t seem to allow meals shared with friends, as official guidelines decree that “Persons not living within the same household should not be permitted to sit at the same table.”

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Louisiana
> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: 50%
> Maximum guests per table: 10

The state’s mask requirement applies to those 8 years old or older, though the mandate encourages face coverings for those aged 2 to 7 as well. Restaurants are required to assign crowd managers “to call for emergency evacuation, enforce the maximum capacity and social distancing requirements, assign seating, and further manage any movement of people at all times that the building is occupied.” These functions may be assumed by management or staff members who have been properly trained. There must be one crowd manager for every 50 person in the restaurant.

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Maine
> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: 100% (with some restrictions)
> Maximum guests per table: 8

Maine’s mask requirements became stricter since Gov. Janet Mills’ Nov. 4 executive order on the matter. The order requires face coverings for anyone over the age of 3 in all indoor and outdoor public spaces “regardless of the ability to maintain physical distancing.” Previously, not all public spaces were covered by the mandate, and the requirement did not apply when distancing was possible. A subsequent order, on Dec. 11, specifically directed restaurateurs and operators of other indoor facilities to enforce the new rules. In addition, an executive order issued on Nov. 19 called for all restaurants, bars, and other public amusement and food and drink venues to close nightly by 9 p.m. On Dec. 4, this order was extended through at least Jan. 3.

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Maryland
> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: 50%
> Maximum guests per table: 6

Gov. Larry Hogan’s original mask mandate, issued on April 18, applied to those 9 years and older, but effective July 31, the age limit was dropped to 5. Rules issued Nov. 20 require all food service establishments to stop accepting new patrons or taking food or drink orders for sit-down dining after 10 p.m. (takeout and delivery may continue). While some states permit restaurants to contact diners waiting for tables by pager, Maryland guidelines state that this should be avoided. Instead, they should use phone apps, texting, or signs to inform customers when their tables or takeout orders are ready.