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Here's How Many People You Can Dine With at a Reopened Restaurant

In short, it will be a long time before you'll be able to make a dinner reservation for 10+ people.
multiracial group eating

Restaurants have reopened in most states, and a lot of them have already allowed patrons to come inside and dine. Still, restaurants across the nation are strongly encouraged to follow certain health and safety guidelines set by the CDC.

The CDC recommends that establishments keep tables six feet apart from each other, for instance, and that staff frequently sanitize common touchpoints, such as tabletops, chairs, and trays. Restaurants have also been instructed to limit how many customers they allow to dine at a time (25 to 50 percent normal capacity). Still, little guidance has been shared on what the suggested cap should be on how many people you can dine with or make a reservation for. And this is particularly helpful information to know if you have a large family, friend group, or are planning an upcoming event at a restaurant or eating establishment. (Related: 7 Popular Restaurants That Will Never Look the Same Again.)

The National Restaurant Association's COVID-19 Reopening Guidance provides a bit of context, but it's still vague: "Limit party size at tables to no more than the established 'maximums approved' as recommended by CDC or approved by local and state government."

Essentially, the party size limit that restaurants can enforce could be respective to state or even individual city guidelines. When Washington entered Phase 2 of coronavirus recovery in early May, the state guidelines said that no more than five people could be seated at a table. One of the first states to reopen businesses was Georgia, and even there, the party size limit has been six people.

Connecticut, which just entered Phase 2 last week, will be reintroducing indoor dining on June 17, and while the party size limit has yet to be disclosed, the state is currently urging residents to not congregate in groups of more than five people. (Related: Click here for all of our latest coronavirus coverage.)

So, to say a specific party size is not allowed at restaurants across the country simply isn't possible, as it's unique to the state and in many cases, the city in which you're dining. For more information on restaurants and coronavirus, checkout Here's When a New Wave of Restaurant Closures Will Happen, According to Experts.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more