The reopening of restaurants across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic has been scattered, inconsistent, and entirely confusing for restaurant workers and diners alike. In some states, restaurants were allowed to reopen for dine-in service with virtually no limits. In others, dining rooms remained closed, while outdoor seating opened to the public, with social distancing measures in place. Some states offered explicit guidelines for reopening, while others left life-or-death decision making up to individual restaurant owners.
But as this haphazard approach made clear, reopening would not be simple or easy; in many cases, restaurants re-closed after members of their own staff contracted the virus. Now, as COVID-19 cases spike nationwide — including some states seeing record highs in new daily cases — several states and some cities are backtracking by closing dining rooms once again, in hopes of controlling the spread of the virus. Others have announced they’re stalling plans to re-open dining rooms.
If restaurant reopenings could be interpreted as a glimmer of hope that maybe — just maybe — the worst of the pandemic had passed, these reclosings are a reminder that the virus is anything but gone. In state after state, indications point to COVID-19 cases spiking after restaurants and bars reopen. On June 30, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s authority on infectious diseases, warned against going to bars. “Congregation at a bar, inside, is bad news,” he said during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing. In East Lansing, Michigan, 107 people who visited the same bar over the course of a week tested positive for COVID-19.
This list will be updated frequently, to reflect the reclosing of restaurants and bars. It will also note when restaurants and bars revert to earlier stages of their multi-phase plans. This often means reducing capacities to earlier limits, or closing down a restaurant’s seated bar or buffet station.
On June 15, nightclubs and bars in Ada County, which were previously allowed to reopen, are closing after a spike in COVID-19 cases.
On June 26, bars, previously allowed to reopen, are closed after a spike in COVID-19 cases.
On June 29, bars, previously allowed to reopen, are closed after a spike in COVID-19 cases. Closures will last until July 27, at the earliest.
On June 29, restaurants reverted to 50 percent capacity, after a spike in COVID-19 cases. Bars were also ordered closed.
Restaurants in Los Angeles and 18 other California counties must revert to a delivery and takeout model. The closing of restaurants to dine-in service will last at least three weeks.