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Things You Probably Won't Be Allowed to Do in Bars and Nightclubs Again

As states start to reopen, new rules will be in place for bar and nightclub patrons.

As some states have lifted stay-at-home orders, the general public is flocking back to bars and restaurants. But with a lack of nation-wide guidelines in place for reopening businesses, it has fallen to state-level regulation to decide what a safe reopening for these types of establishments looks like. In Wisconsin, where the Supreme Court ruled against the extension of stay-at-home-orders, for example, bars on Wednesday night could be seen packed wall-to-wall, according to the Washington Post.

A starkly contrasting way to reopening can be seen in European countries like Sweden. Strict nation-wide guidelines have been implemented for bars who are welcoming patrons back, with inspectors closing down businesses that don't follow the rules. It isn't a stretch to expect these types of restrictions implemented across some American states, too. Based on these observations, here are some of the things you may not be allowed to do once you return to a bar. And to get more food news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter.

Order from the bar

crowded bar seats

Amid reopening, bars and lounges in Sweden are offering table service only. This means that patrons can't place their orders at the bar, but need to wait to be seated and can order drinks once at the table, safely away from others. Here are some other things you'll never see in bars and lounges again.



Free movement through bars and nightclubs may be reduced to a minimum, so you can forget about dancing and mingling for the time being. There are simply no good solutions for keeping a safe social distance from others while dancing (for now). Wondering if you should be wearing a face mask? Absolutely! But make sure you're not wearing it wrong.

Socialize with strangers

talking to strangers

Bars, nightclubs, and lounges worldwide are asking patrons to stick to the small group of people they came with, and to avoid socializing with other groups of strangers while in their establishments. This is an unfortunate consequence of social distancing, especially in places like bars and nightclubs where mingling and meeting new people comes with the territory. However, if the alternative is keeping bars and restaurants closed, we can all try to adhere to these rules for the foreseeable future while enjoying a few drinks.

Hang out in a large group

large group bar

Social distancing rules simply can't accommodate large crowds in closed spaces, so patrons worldwide are advised to come in small groups. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your group fits around an average-sized table. Here are some other ways you may be spreading germs and don't know it.

Sit wherever you want

sitting in bar

There will be designated places where you're allowed to sit in order to uphold social distancing guidelines. Many bars and restaurants are using tape on floors to designate which table seats are allowed to be occupied by patrons. The days of walking into a bar and choosing your favorite seat may be over (especially if your favorite seat is at the bar).

Share snacks

peanuts bar

Putting your hands in an open container of snacks shared by many is not advisable, and you most likely won't see bars serving those freebies for a while.

Get in without having your temperature checked

temperature check

Temperature reading may be the new carding for bars and lounges. Some business owners across the US are considering implementing this measure which is already the norm in some Asian countries like Hong Kong and South Korea.

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.
Mura Dominko
Mura is ETNT's Executive Editor, leading the coverage of America's favorite restaurant chains, grocery stores, and viral food moments. Read more about Mura
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