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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday said restaurants and bars can begin reopening next week.

More states lift coronavirus-related dine-in restrictions with social distancing and limits on capacity

Restaurants can invite guests back in Arizona, Arkansas, Nevada, Ohio and more in coming weeks

Restaurants in Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Nevada and Ohio have been given the green light to begin a gradual return to dine-in business the week of May 11 in the latest batch of states emerging from weeks of shutdown.

Roughly half of U.S. states have begun lifting restrictions on restaurant dining, though most are allowing sit-down service only under strict protocols to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Among the first to open last week were Georgia, Alaska and parts of Tennessee, followed by Texas, Florida and more. Timelines have been announced to begin some level of dine-in service in coming weeks in Connecticut, Kentucky and New Hampshire.

Restrictions for some businesses in California were scheduled to begin May 8. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the timing for restaurants to reopen would be revealed on May 11 along with guidance for operations.

Other states, including Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan and New York have yet to establish a specific timeline, though guidelines for operations have been developed in some cases.

Dine-in restrictions were lifted for restaurants in Mississippi last week at 50% capacity, though bars that don’t provide food must remain closed. Parties are limited to six or fewer with social distancing between groups, and masks must be provided to all workers who come into contact with guests.


Here’s a look at states that are about to resume dine-in service, with guidelines where available:

Arizona: Gov. Doug Ducey is allowing restaurants to reopen dining rooms on May 11 with physical distancing, parties limited to 10 or fewer, reduced occupancy and stepped up sanitation protocols. Employees must be screened prior to their shift. Ducey did not give a timeline for the opening of bars, however.

Arkansas: Gov. Asa Hutchinson said restaurants will be allowed to reopen for dine-in on May 11, but limited to one-third of their capacity. Tables must be spaced at least six feet apart and no parties larger than 10 will be permitted. Workers must wear masks and be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, including fever. Bars and bar areas within restaurants must stay closed. Hutchinson also announced a proposed $15 million grant program to allow businesses to apply for funding for personal protective equipment or other expenses.

Connecticut: Restaurant dine-in service and bars are scheduled to reopen May 20.

Illinois: Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s five-phase Restore Illinois plan will allow restaurants and bars to reopen dining rooms in a fourth phase, which is not likely until June 26, and will include social distancing mandates, as well as mask wearing and reduced capacity.

Indiana: Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that restaurants can reopen at 50% capacity starting May 11, though some counties may reopen later. The state restaurant association is promoting the Hoosier Hospitality Promise, which includes guidelines for sanitation and health screening.

Kentucky:  Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday that restaurants will be able to offer outdoor seating starting May 22, and indoor dine-in service will be available at 33% capacity. In July, bars will be allowed to reopen in a phase 3 of the plan, which will also allow larger gatherings of 50 or more.

Nevada: Restaurants are allowed to resume dine-in on May 9 but limited to 50% capacity, and bars/pubs/wineries/breweries must remain closed. Restaurants are prohibited from offering self-service stations, workers must wear masks and guests are encouraged to cover faces as is practical. Reservations should be required to ensure social distancing, and tables must be six feet apart. Bar tops and bar areas must remain closed.

New Hampshire: Restaurants can offer outdoor dining starting May 18, with no parties larger than six. Tables must be six feet apart and reservations are required. Bar areas must remain closed. No buffets or self service. Guests asked to wear face coverings while entering and exiting.

Ohio: Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday said restaurants and bars can begin reopening next week. Outdoor dining will be allowed starting May 15, and dine-in service can begin May 21. The state has also issued a list of mandatory and recommended guidelines. Those required include social distancing of six feet between employees, or the use of barriers. Workers must wear facial coverings, with certain exceptions that must be justified, and guests must be allowed to wear them. Workers must be assessed for symptoms daily. Extra sanitation is mandated and self-service areas are prohibited. Buffets and salad bars are allowed only if served by staff with appropriate distancing.

For our most up-to-date coverage, visit the coronavirus homepage.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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