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covid-induced restrictions

Updated rules and regulations for restaurants and bars across the nation as stay-at-home orders begin to lift.

By Fintech’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, Wendy Turk

Updated: 5/26/2020

This blog will continue to be updated as more changes occur. 

St. Patrick’s Day, 2020. Do you remember it?

The holiday fell in March when local and state governments began implementing far-reaching restrictions meant to slow the spread of COVID-19. While some states issued full stay-at-home orders, others suggested varying levels of social distancing and other COVID-induced restrictions, and all over the country bars, restaurants, casinos, bowling alleys, and entertainment venues all suddenly looked the same. They were eerily empty and dark, chairs were flipped upside down on tables, and signs on the front door read, “Dining room closed. To-go orders only. Please wait outside,” or, in some cases, “Temporarily closed, but we’ll be back!”

As time goes on, some states are inching closer to lifting COVID-induced restrictions and allowing on-premise retailers to take down the signs and set the table. At this point, several governors have allowed restaurants to resume on-premise dining in some capacity – through patio-only seating, limited capacity restrictions, or openings by city or county. The good news is that these states, and others like them, are starting to see glimmers of business springing back to life. Here are just a few that we have seen over the last few weeks, and a few we hope will change in the next few days:

Alaska – Opened April 24
Georgia – Opened April 27
Iowa – Opened May 1 – Des Moines and Cedar Rapids areas excluded
Louisiana – Opened May 1 for patio dining only
North Dakota – Opened May 1
Oklahoma – Opened May 1
Texas – Opened May 1 – Bars to open May 22
Tennessee – Opened May 1
Utah – Opened May 1
South Dakota – Opened May 2 even though on-premise was never really closed
Florida – Opened May 4 – Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties excluded
Kansas – Opened May 4
Missouri – Opened May 4
Montana – Opened May 4
Nebraska – Opened May 4
South Carolina – Opened May 4 for patio dining only – dine-in and bars open May 11
West Virginia – Opened May 4 for patio dining only – dine-in open May 11
California – Staggered openings county-by-county throughout the Month of May
Nevada – Opened May 9
Alabama – Opened May 11
Arizona – Opened May 11
Arkansas – Opened May 11
Indiana – Opened May 11 – counties will open on a staggered timeline throughout the month
Washington – Opened May 11 only with approval
Wisconsin – Opened May 13
Ohio – Opened May 15 for patio only – dine-in services opened May 21
Oregon – Opened May 15 in all counties except four counties in the Portland area
Virginia – Opened May 15 for patio only – Northern VA to open May 29
Wyoming – Opened May 15
Idaho – Opened May 16
Maine – Opened May 18
New Hampshire – Opened May 18
Connecticut – Opened May 20 for patio dining only
Kentucky – Opened May 22
North Carolina – Opened May 22
Michigan – Northern counties and upper peninsula restaurants and bars opened May 22
Colorado – Staggered openings by county beginning May 23

And Coming Soon:

Illinois – Possibly opening May 29 for patio dining only
Pennsylvania – Staggered openings by county beginning May 29
Delaware – Possibly opening June 1
Minnesota – Opening June 1 for patio dining only
Hawaii – Opening June 5
Massachusetts – Possibly opening June 8

While businesses and customers will be eager to see each other again, the experience of dining out will certainly be a little unfamiliar. COVID-induced restrictions on things like occupancy and seating may be in place, and restaurants, bars, and social venues will need to adjust with staff and supplies. But, if we know the alcohol industry like we think we do, tap handles will be ready, bars will be well-stocked, and consumers will finally be able to partake in a meal from somewhere other than their couch.

Have questions about regulations in your state? Contact Fintech at 800-572-0854 today!

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