Special Report

Restaurant Reopening Restrictions in Every State

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

Gov. Steve Bullock’s initial mask mandate didn’t apply to counties with fewer than four active confirmed cases of COVID-19, but a new order, issued on Nov. 17, expanded the requirement to the entire state. While most restaurants are open for limited indoor service, Montana rules stipulate that “In-house dining for quick service restaurants should remain closed, if all guidelines can’t be met, including the cleaning of every table between customers.”

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Nebraska
> Mask mandate No
> Indoor seating capacity: 100% (with some restrictions)
> Maximum guests per table: 8

While masks are recommended for restaurant staff and for people in public spaces, they are not required. Face coverings are mandated only in places where close contact for 15 minutes or more is required, which includes barber shops, massage parlors, bowling alleys, and other businesses, but not food service establishments. Some municipalities have enacted or are considering enacting mask orders of their own, but Gov. Pete Ricketts has indicated that they may not have the authority to do so.

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Nevada
> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: 25%
> Maximum guests per table: 6

On Nov. 22, Gov. Steve Sisolak introduced new measures aimed at slowing the rise of coronavirus cases in the state. Among these measures was the rolling back of indoor restaurant capacity from 50% to 25% and requiring that diners make reservations in order to be seated. An order issued on June 24 and still in force requires face coverings “in any public place” for anyone over 9 years of age. Nevada also asks that establishments post signage throughout the restaurant about the proper use of face coverings and rules for social distancing, specifying that the latter should be in multiple languages.

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New Hampshire
> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: 50-100%
> Maximum guests per table: 10 (maximum of 6 adults)

Replacing a series of targeted mask mandates, Gov. Chris Sununu issued an order taking effect on Nov. 20 requiring all persons over the age of 5 to “wear a mask or cloth face covering over their noses and mouths any time they are in public spaces, indoors or outdoors, where they are unable to or do not consistently maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from persons outside their own households.” Though as a general statewide rule restaurants are allowed to operate at 100% capacity for indoor dining, seating in four counties is limited to 50%, and in six others, “seated dining areas are limited in capacity to the number of people/tables where table spacing is able to be maintained.”

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New Jersey
> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: 25%
> Maximum guests per table: 8 (unlimited for members of the same family or from the same household)

An executive order issued by Gov. Phil Murphy on July 8, which mandated masks for anyone over the age of 2 in both indoor and outdoor public spaces, remains in force. While indoor dining is limited to 25% of capacity, guidelines on the New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub, as updated on Sept. 29, state that “Areas with a fixed roof, if two sides are open, comprising over 50% of their total wall space, may operate under rules for outdoor dining.” That means that there’s no capacity limit for such spaces, as long as social distancing, masking, and other safety measures are observed.