Skip to content

The 9 States Where You're Allowed to Dine Out at a Restaurant

As lockdown orders around the country start to lift, here's where dining out is now an option.

Lockdown orders are beginning to end in roughly a dozen states, and, if all goes according to plan, it could foretell a broader opening in other states. Of course, there's a very real and reasonable concern that an overly aggressive end to lockdown could lead to another spike in COVID-19 cases. But, if mask-wearing, hand washing, and social distancing guidelines are followed, we can all hope that things may return to at least a "new normal."

Currently, there are eight states in which restaurants are now open for dining in, with a handful set to open up later this week or early next. Here are the current states in which going out for dinner (doesn't that sound so nice?) is an option for residents.



Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy announced roughly two weeks ago that restaurants can offer dine-in services on Monday, April 27th, if they follow certain health guidelines. Many Alaskan restaurants, however, are taking it slow and haven't been aggressive to open, as many of the guidelines present challenges that not every establishment can implement right away.

RELATED: 10 Shocking Changes to Restaurants Owners are Secretly Considering



Georgia Governor Brian Kemp became something of the political face of reopening of businesses, which led to lots of breathless cable news coverage from every angle. Judging by early news reports, the restaurant business is understandably slower to start than others, as patrons still have some concerns. But, as one Atlanta-based restaurant owner told CNN, while business wasn't great on opening day, it was at least "a good start."

STAY INFORMED: Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest coronavirus foods news delivered straight to your inbox.

More on Coronavirus

  • Don't Touch Your Face. Girl wearing surgical mask rubbing her eye with dirty hands, working on laptop

    The #1 “CDC Rule” You Should Never Follow

    Despite what you’ve heard, don't do this.
  • Yellow soft shell D-vitamin capsule against sun and blue sky on sunny day

    Doctors Warn You Not to Take Too Much of This Vitamin Right Now

    Too much of a good thing can have an adverse effect.
  • woman with closed eyes suffering from headache

    7 Warning Signs COVID-19 is in Your Brain

    If you experience any of these, get help immediately.
  • Young woman feeling sick and holding her chest in pain at home.

    15 Scary After Effects of Coronavirus Everyone Should Know

  • subway neon open sign

    The 5 Changes You'll See After Subway Reopens

    How the sandwich chain will keep your food safe.


Iowa is taking a slightly different approach in opening up businesses than many other states: It's only allowing restaurant dining in certain counties. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds authorized restaurants to open in 77 counties where coronavirus activity has been minimal, albeit, with some limitations.


North Dakota

North Dakota allowed its restaurant owners to open up on Friday, May 1, for the first time in six weeks—presuming they followed strict guidelines. Like many other states, not all restaurants in North Dakota were eager to open up, as many are taking a more cautious approach.



Oklahoma also opened up restaurants on Friday, May 1, though bars are not set for reopening in the "Sooner State" for two weeks. On Friday, May 15, you should be able to go to return to your favorite local bar, though.

RELATED: 7 Things Waiters Are No Longer Allowed to Do



Tennessee allowed restaurants to reopen for dining service last week—curiously, on the same exact day that there was the sharpest spike in new coronavirus cases reported in "The Volunteer State," according to NPR.



Restaurants are within the first wave of Texas businesses reopening since Gov. Greg Abbott announced the end of his stay-at-home restrictions last week. Texas eateries that reopen must operate at 25% capacity and require parties to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between each other.

RELATED: 7 Popular Restaurant Chains That May Not Survive the Pandemic



Despite a continued increase in the number of coronavirus cases in "The Beehive State," Utah restaurants in most counties can start offering dine-in service, presuming they follow strict guidelines.


South Dakota

South Dakota does not have any opening up guidelines as their governor never shut things down to begin with!

READ MORE: Here's Exactly When Every Fast Food Restaurant Plans to Reopen

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

She Lost 100 Pounds—And Shows You How!

Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Ilana Muhlstein lost her weight and kept it off—and in You Can Drop It!, she'll show you how to lose it, too. More than 240,000 clients have chosen her program—and now it’s yours to keep.

Filed Under