Restaurant Reopening Restrictions in Every State

Source: Butch Dill / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

Alabama
> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: Not specified
> Maximum guests per table: 8

Though Alabama doesn’t restrict restaurants to a specific capacity limit indoors, the rules do require that “Staff will limit the number of customers in the restaurant to those that can be adequately distanced 6 feet apart.” While some states have banned buffets and other self-service food options, Alabama rules state that “self service by guests at drink stations, buffets or salad bars are allowed under the supervision of an employee monitoring social distancing and proper hand sanitizing.”

Source: Natalie_magic / iStock via Getty Images

Alaska
> Mask mandate No (required in some municipalities)
> Indoor seating capacity: 50%
> Maximum guests per table: Not specified

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services notes that “If more people wore masks, we could slow the spread of COVID-19.” Nonetheless, while some municipalities require masks to be worn in public environments, the state has not mandated them. The department adds a note of humor to its COVID-19 guidelines. A chart that explains what a safe distance looks like” illustrates that it’s “About the length of a 200 LB halibut!” and “About the length of a grizzly bear!”

Source: daquellamanera / Flickr

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

In early December, Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order offering new support for the state’s restaurant industry. The terms made it easier for eating places to expand outdoor dining facilities and earmarked $1 million to help in their efforts, as well as providing funding to help restaurants and hotels improve sanitation practices. Though public health professionals asked the state to temporarily ban indoor dining and introduce other new restrictions as COVID-19 cases skyrocketed, Ducey and state Health Department Director Cara Christ refused on the grounds that vaccines would soon be available to Arizona residents.

Source: Joe Raedle / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Arkansas
> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: 66%
> Maximum guests per table: 10

Arkansas restaurants are encouraged to ask customers to pre-order meals in order to minimize the amount of time they spend seated and “to have a senior hour to provide exclusive access to these high-risk individuals.” Salad bars, buffets, and other self-service facilities are allowed under strict guidelines. Patrons may be refused service if they don’t wear masks when entering the establishment and at all other times unless food and drink is being consumed.

Source: Mario Tama / Getty Images News via Getty Images

California
> Mask mandate Yes
> Indoor seating capacity: 0-50%
> Maximum guests per table: Not specified

Faced with the fact that the coronavirus has claimed more than 20,000 lives in the Golden State and infected almost 1.5 million people, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued new lockdown guidelines in early December. These divided the state into five regions. In those in which the available ICU capacity falls below 15%, both indoor and outdoor dining are banned. The order has already affected the LA and San Francisco Bay areas, among others, where restaurants are limited to takeout and delivery only. Meanwhile, a judge in San Diego County has ruled that restaurants in that jurisdiction may remain open for the time being, pending resolution of a lawsuit filed by two adult entertainment clubs that offer food service.