Week of May 4: Where Food Service Businesses Can Reopen

More US states are allowing restaurants to reopen this week.
More US states are allowing restaurants to reopen this week.

May 4, 2020 — After restrictions were eased for some food businesses last week in some countries, discussions are continuing among many governments about where to ease more food service restrictions — and when. Last week saw several states in the US begin their initial phases of reopening and allowing restaurants to begin operating (with limitations). Now, the pressure is building on other states to do the same. Each US state is different and has its own unique challenges and experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic. State governors continue to make decisions based on what is deemed necessary for each individual state.

In other countries like Canada, Australia and the UK, significant discussions are being had among government officials as the coronavirus curve begins to flatten. There is anticipation that over the next few weeks, particularly in Australia and some Canadian provinces, there will be easing of restrictions on restaurants and dine-in service can cautiously begin.

As the pandemic continues on, the lifting of lockdown restrictions will vary week to week and country to country. The following is a list of areas that are lifting restrictions on food businesses for the week of May 4:

The United States


Governor Ron DeSantis announced that as of May 4, restaurants will be permitted to reopen and operate, as long as the capacity is limited to 25 percent. However, restaurants will only be allowed to reopen if the local government allows it. This is applicable in every county except Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties.


Governor Steve Bullock has stated that restaurants and bars are allowed to reopen as of May 4. Social distancing measures must be maintained and the establishments must operate with a reduced capacity.


Governor Mike Parson has given restaurants the green light to reopen their operations on May 4. Food businesses must use disposable menus, regulate self-serve areas like salad bars and buffets, and provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to staff if possible. Tables and seating need to be spaced out to accommodate social distancing measures. Food court establishments can operate but with restrictions.


Governor Pete Ricketts has announced that restaurants are permitted to reopen for dine-in service as of May 4, as long as certain conditions are met: seating must be limited to 50% capacity; parties must be spaced at least 6 feet apart; there must be no more than 6 people in a party; self-service and buffets are prohibited; no seating allowed at the bar; alcohol cannot be purchased on its own, it must be purchased with a meal. These restrictions may vary depending on local jurisdictions.


Governor Gary Herbert has announced that the state of Utah has moved into its ‘moderate-risk’ category. The moderate-risk category allows for dine-in restaurants to resume their operations, as long as extreme safety and health precautions are taken.