Across the country, restaurants and other foodservice establishments are resuming full operation; but figuring out how to reopen safely can be a daunting task.

States, cities, and counties have requirements for restaurants operating during the pandemic. It’s essential that all establishments reopen in accordance with these guidelines and rules to ensure the health and safety of restaurant patrons and employees. But it can be tough to keep up.

The National Restaurant Association has compiled the following list of resources to help guide operators through the reopening process. Many of these resources are updated regularly as states report new regulations or changes to existing ones and will help you ensure that your establishment is opening and operating following the most current guidelines.

Other resources provide general guidelines to navigate you through:

  • Whether you’re liable if a customer or employee says they caught coronavirus from your restaurant.
  • What to do if an employee reports they have or have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • How to handle customers who refuse to wear masks.
  • What you’re permitted to do as your employees return to work in terms of screening, mask policies, HIPAA privacy and more.

State by state reopening documents that update

State Reopening Training & Certification Requirements/Recommendations 
This document, updated regularly, covers all training and certification requirements for restaurants by state as each enters new reopening phases. It also covers any state food protection manager and food handler certificate expiration extensions and required recertification deadlines.

Official Return to Work Guidelines for Foodservice Establishments
A comprehensive compilation tracking official orders from all 50 states in categories including dine in status (permitted or not), employee and customer PPE/health check requirements, sanitation requirements, occupancy limits, payment process changes, and local exceptions.

COVID-19 Liability Protection Statutes by State
The National Restaurant Association Restaurant Law Center has assembled a state-by-state guide that covers where COVID-19 liability protection legislation stands in states where it’s been discussed, proposed or passed. It will update as new information comes in.

Indoor Dining Restrictions by State 
A summary of information from the more extensive Official Return to Work Guidelines for Foodservice Establishments, this regularly updated document lists which states permit indoor dining, occupancy rates allowed, and any restrictions that apply.

State, City & County Face Covering Mandates
The National Restaurant Association is updating a compiled list of City & County Face Covering requirements and recommendations in real time.

Expansion of Restaurant Off-Premises Alcohol Sales
During COVID-19, many state and local governments expanded the ability of restaurants to sell alcohol for off-premises consumption (to-go and delivery). As many of these regulations are being extended, the Association team will be tracking them through this resource.

Guidance documents

Guidance for Restaurants: Guests’ Face Covering Use
Covers what operators can do when guests refuse to wear face coverings. The Association’s Restaurant Law Center provides information in this handy Q&A.

Guidance for Restaurants: On-Premises Workplace Infection Control Practices Impacting Employees
The Association’s Restaurant Law Center shares ways operators can handle screening employees for COVID-19, face-covering mandates, and sending them home if they present symptoms, all in a Q&A format.

Guidance for Restaurants Responding to COVID-19 Positive Employee 
Strategies employers could consider in preparation for a potential COVID-19 positive employee.