Skip to content

Over 25 Million Americans Are Affected by These New COVID Restaurant Restrictions

New bar and restaurant closings and restrictions are underway at the city, county, and statewide levels.
FACT CHECKED BY Cheyenne Buckingham

The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, despite recent news of the first rounds of the vaccine being distributed, and state governors are beginning to crack down on dining restrictions to help mitigate the virus' spread.

The documented number of coronavirus-related deaths (which now sits beneath 300,000) in the U.S. is nearly equivalent to the number of American soldiers that lost their lives during combat in World War II, which is believed to be 291,557. And just this week, director of the CDC Dr. Robert Redfield predicted that the country will see daily COVID-19 deaths surpass the total number of people killed on 9/11 over the next two to three months. These grisly statistics show the full extent of COVID's impact on American lives, which is why officials in states across the nation are working to implement new restrictions on businesses.

Restaurants, in particular, are set to bear the brunt of new limitations, at both city and statewide levels. These new restaurant and bar regulations will severely restrict operations through the end of the year and into 2021.

Here are five such places that recently implemented new dining-related restrictions and don't miss The Saddest Restaurant Closures In Your State.

Baltimore, Maryland

Colorful row houses on Guilford Avenue, in Charles Village, Baltimore, Maryland.

In an aggressive move to stop the spread of the virus, Baltimore's new mayor, Brandon Scott, issued an order commencing Friday, Dec. 11 at 5 pm EST that will compel bars and restaurants in the city to cease all on-premise food services. Restaurants will be barred from both indoor and outdoor dining, though they can continue offering delivery and takeaway meals. The order is at present indefinite, and also places a 25% capacity limit at retail stores, gyms, museums, and churches.


Philadelphia downtown skyline with blue sky and white cloud

Starting at 12:01 am on Saturday, Dec. 12, all restaurants and bars in the state of Pennsylvania will be limited to outdoor dining, and theaters and casinos will be closed completely.

"We need to slow the spread to save lives," Gov. Tom Wolf said in a news conference, as reported by For now, the new dining rules will last at least through 8 am on Jan. 4. Other restrictions include indoor occupancy caps at salons, retailers, and similar businesses to 50% capacity limit. However, religious institutions will not be affected by the new regulations.


Louisville, Kentucky, USA skyline on the river.

After Thursday, Dec. 10—a day during which the state of Kentucky saw more than 4,320 new coronavirus cases and at least 28 reported deaths—the state introduced new restrictions on bars and restaurants. Though previous restrictions set by Gov. Andy Beshear were set to expire this Sunday, the new order will commence on Monday, Dec. 14, limiting all bars and restaurants to 50% capacity. The rules also apply to other commercial operations, while private gatherings are recommended to be capped at eight people and only include individuals from two households.


Seattle skyline at sunset, WA, USA

Gov. Jay Inslee this week extended the COVID-19 restrictions that he ordered on Nov. 15 (that were set to expire early next week) by an additional three weeks until Jan. 4. The rules shut down all indoor services at restaurants and bars and limit outdoor seating to groups of five. The rules also halted all operations at fitness centers, museums, bowling alleys, and the like. The governor pledged $50 million in state aid to help businesses impacted by the coronavirus.


Wilmington Delaware skyline along the Riverfront at night along the Christiana River

In one of the longest-lasting new coronavirus restrictions, Gov. John Carney issued a new order that will remain in place until Jan. 11. The regulations set 10 pm curfews on bars and restaurants, which are now limited to 30% capacity. The same stipulations are in place for all other businesses up to those under 100,000 square feet in size. Any places greater in size will be limited to 20% capacity when the restrictions go into effect on Monday, Dec. 14.

For more, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

Steven John
Steven John is a freelancer writer for Eat This, Not That! based just outside New York City. Read more about Steven