Special Report

Restaurant Reopening Restrictions in Every State

New Mexico
> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: No indoor dining
> Maximum guests per table: Not applicable

Regulations that went into effect on Oct. 30 required that all establishments serving food and/or drink in New Mexico complete the state’s Safe Certified training program and retain contact tracing records on all customers for at least 21 days. These became moot on Nov. 18, when Billy Jimenez, acting cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health, issued an executive order temporarily banning all indoor and outdoor service, allowing only takeout and delivery to continue. The order further advised that “New Mexico citizens should stay at home and undertake only those outings absolutely necessary for their health, safety, or welfare.”

Source: Stephanie Keith / Getty Images News via Getty Images

New York
> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: 50% (no indoor dining in New York City)
> Maximum guests per table: 4

On Dec. 10, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new system of color-coded micro-cluster focus zones — yellow, orange, and red (red being the most restrictive) — for areas of the state based on positivity rates and other measures. Restaurants in yellow zones may provide both indoor and outdoor dining. Orange-zone establishments are limited to outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery. In red zones, only takeout and delivery are allowed. While indoor dining has been suspended in New York City, outdoor dining is still allowed. In other parts of the state, according to the Cluster Action Initiative, indoor dining is under review, but there are currently no restrictions. The state’s mask mandate, applying to anyone over the age of 2 who can “medically tolerate a face covering,” has been in place since April 17.

Source: Streeter Lecka / Getty Images News via Getty Images

North Carolina
> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: 50%
> Maximum guests per table: 10 (unlimited for members of the same household)

An executive order issued by Gov. Roy Cooper on Dec. 8 stressed that the 50% indoor occupancy limit is contingent on there being sufficient room in the interior to maintain a distance of 6 feet between groups. In spaces without a stated fire capacity (on which occupancy limits are based), the order says there can be no more than 12 guests for every 1,000 square feet of space. A limited mask mandate had been in effect since June, but a Nov. 23 order expanded it, requiring everyone over the age of 5 to wear a face covering indoors any time someone from another household is in the room, even if distancing is possible, and also outdoors if maintaining a 6-foot distance from others is impossible.

Source: IVAN ARAGON ALONSO / iStock via Getty Images

North Dakota
> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: 50%-100% (with some restrictions) (depending on local risk level)
> Maximum guests per table: 10

For months, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum resisted issuing a mask mandate and other anti-COVID-19 protocols. In late October, Dr. Deborah Birx visited the state in her capacity as White House coronavirus response coordinator and described measures being taken around Bismarck, the state capital, as the worst she had seen in a tour of almost 40 states. On Nov. 13, Burgum reversed course, ordering everyone over the age of 5 to wear face coverings in all indoor public spaces and in outdoor situations where distancing isn’t possible. He also ordered restaurants and bars to close for service at 10 p.m., but on Dec. 21, citing a decrease in active coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, he removed this restriction. The state’s 50% seating capacity limit is set to expire on Jan. 8.

Source: 140641142@N05 / Flickr

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

Ohio requires everyone 10 years of age or older to wear a face covering at any indoor location that isn’t a residence, as well as outdoors when it’s not possible to maintain a 6-foot distance from non-household members. Like some other states, Ohio has established a curfew for alcohol sales and consumption, cutting off sales nightly at 10 p.m. and requiring patrons to finish their drinks by 11 p.m. New guidelines, however, have expanded the number of drinks that may be sold with each meal ordered to-go from two to three. The state has never issued capacity limits by percentage.

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