A State-by-State Guide to When Restaurants Are Reopening
The United States is starting to reopen again amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Almost every state closed businesses to the public to lower the risk of spreading the virus, and over the past few weeks, some states have been permitting certain businesses to reopen. Though many restaurants across the country have been limited to curbside takeout and delivery, dining rooms are opening their doors to the public in some areas, usually with social-distancing measures in place. Most restaurants that have reopened are operating with limited capacity and are required to maintain pristine levels of sanitation. For more info on when restaurants are reopening in every state, keep reading.
Since May 11, restaurants in Alabama have been allowed to reopen with restrictions in place. All employees are required to wear masks, and self-service stations, like drink fountains and buffets, are prohibited.
Alaska’s restaurants have been permitted to reopen with limited capacity and restrictions to maintain social distancing since April 24.
Restaurants have been permitted to reopen for dine-in since May 11. They must follow proper social distancing and encourage takeout service.
Since May 11, Arkansas restaurants have been permitted to reopen at one-third capacity and to parties no larger than 10. Everyone also must maintain proper social distancing within the facility.
California’s most recent stay-at-home order, which was issued on May 19, has no end date. However, the state is reopening in phases. Restaurant dining rooms are not yet open to the public again, but in places where there is little risk of COVID-19, restaurants may be able to open back up soon with limited capacity.
Colorado’s stay-at-home order is in place until May 27, and the state plans to reevaluate the safety of restaurant dining rooms on May 25.
Connecticut’s shutdown of businesses was lifted on May 20. Restaurants are allowed to serve customers in outdoor dining areas, but there’s no firm decision yet on when dining rooms may reopen.
Delaware is under a stay-at-home order through the end of May. Ice cream shops and trucks were allowed to resume business on May 15 but with proper social distancing.
Washington DC is still under a stay-at-home order. It’s not clear when restaurant dining rooms will be reopened.
Florida restaurants have been able to reopen indoor and outdoor seating since May 4, as long as proper social distancing is followed. Patrons are encouraged to use outdoor seating, and restaurants are running with limited capacity.
Georgia restaurants have been permitted to reopen with limited capacity since April 27. Employees are being screened for COVID-19 and facilities must keep social distancing a priority.
Hawaii’s restaurant dining rooms are still shut down. They are aiming to reopen with restrictions and limited capacity in the beginning of June.
Idaho’s restaurants have been allowed to reopen since the commencement of phase two of the state’s extensive plan. However, each restaurant is required to draw up a plan to be approved by the state’s department of health first. Then the restaurants must follow strict protocols for cleanliness and social distancing.
Illinois is reopening in phases, and restaurant dining rooms are much later in the plan. Though there’s no firm date in place yet, it looks like it will be mid- to late-June at the earliest.
Indiana restaurants have been allowed to reopen at half capacity and with proper social distancing since May 11.
In 77 Iowa counties, restaurants have been permitted to reopen with limited capacity and social distancing since May 1. These measures were applied statewide on May 15.
In Kansas, restaurants have been allowed to reopen with proper sanitation and social distancing since May 4.
Starting May 22, restaurants will be able to reopen at one-third capacity. Customers are encouraged to use outdoor space.
Since May 15, Louisiana’s restaurants have been allowed to reopen their outdoor spaces to customers, but they can’t yet staff them. Patrons are encouraged to practice social distancing while using these spaces.
Maine’s stay-at-home order is in effect through the end of May, at which time the state will reevaluate what businesses can start reopening. At this time, there’s no date for when restaurant dining rooms will reopen.
Maryland is reopening in phases, but indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants is still not allowed. There’s no date in place yet for when that will change.
Massachusetts is reopening businesses in phases, and restaurants fall in phase two. It’s unclear when phase two will start, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be anytime soon.
Michigan’s stay-at-home order is in place through May 28, though restaurants in some areas of the state have been allowed to reopen with limited capacity.
Minnesota restaurants are still closed for dine-in but will be permitted to reopen with social-distancing measures on June 1. No more than 50 patrons may be seated at a time, tables must be at least six feet apart, and parties are limited to four people, or six if everyone’s in the same family.
Mississippi restaurants have been permitted to reopen at half capacity since May 4. Restaurant employees are required to wear face masks.
Missouri businesses have been allowed to reopen since May 4 as long as proper social distancing is maintained at all times.
Restaurants in Montana have been permitted to reopen at reduced capacity since May 4. They will be allowed to up the capacity to 75 percent starting June 1.
Nevada restaurants have been permitted to reopen with reduced capacity since May 9. Patrons waiting for tables are not allowed to gather in restaurant entryways and must instead wait outside.
New Hampshire restaurants have been permitted to reopen outdoor seating areas since May 18 so long as they follow social-distancing measures. The state is still under a stay-at-home order through the end of May, at which time it will reevaluate when more businesses can open.
New Jersey’s stay-at-home order has no end date. There’s no word on when restaurants might be able to reopen, but it will most likely not be before June.
New Mexico’s stay-at-home order is in effect through the end of May. At that time, the state will reevaluate if restaurants may begin reopening.
New York has an extremely extensive reopening plan in place, which is changing day by day. The state is opening in regions and phases. Check Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s website for more information on your area.
North Carolina’s restaurants are part of the state’s second phase of reopening, and though there’s no specific date for the second phase, it could be by the end of May.
North Dakota restaurants have been permitted to reopen with social-distancing measures since May 1.
Ohio has allowed restaurants to reopen outdoor dining areas since May 15. Dining rooms will be allowed to open with social-distancing measures on May 21.
Since April 24, Oklahoma restaurants have been permitted to open back up with reduced capacity and social distancing.
Oregon is opening county by county. Each county must obtain approval from the state before opening any businesses. As of May 14, 26 counties had been approved to allow restaurants to reopen on May 15.
Pennsylvania is following a multistep plan for reopening, based on risk and COVID-19 cases. Businesses are being permitted to reopen on a rolling basis with strict guidelines. Some counties have reopened restaurants already. You can keep up to date with where your county falls on Gov. Tom Wolf’s website.
On May 9, Rhode Island moved into the first phase of its reopening plan, though restaurant dining rooms were not included. There’s no word yet on when the next phase will take place and if dining rooms will then be permitted to reopen.
South Carolina restaurants have been permitted to reopen with social distancing and reduced capacity since May 11.
South Dakota actually never shut down in the first place, so businesses are mostly operating as normal.
Most restaurants have been allowed to reopen in Tennessee under strict guidelines of sanitation and social distancing. Some counties have not yet allowed reopening, though.
Texas restaurants have been allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity since May 1. On May 22, they will be allowed to increase to 50 percent capacity as long as proper sanitation is still maintained.
Utah has allowed restaurants to reopen at reduced capacity since May 1. Facilities are urged to use caution and practice proper social distancing.
Vermont’s stay-at-home order expired on May 15, but restaurants remain closed. It’s unclear when they will be permitted to reopen.
Virginia is under a stay-at-home order until June 10, and restaurant dining rooms will remain closed until at least then.
Washington is reopening by region and in phases. Restaurant dining rooms in certain areas have already been allowed to open back up. For the latest on each area, check Gov. Jay Inslee’s website.
Restaurants in West Virginia will be allowed to reopen on May 21 with proper sanitation and social distancing.
Wisconsin’s stay-at-home plan was shot down by the state’s supreme court on May 13, prompting many counties to permit restaurants to reopen.