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Indoor Dining and COVID-19: Implications for Reopening in 30 U.S. Cities

image of an indoor restaurant

September 9, 2020

After several months of strictly limiting restaurants to delivery, take-out, and curb-side pickup services, cities across the U.S. have begun to allow food establishments to offer on-site dining.

Since March, state and local governments have worked with businesses to ensure that precautions are taken for the safety of their residents. Simultaneously, cities are eager to sustain and rebuild local businesses after months of economic distress. With many food establishments forced to shutter or transition to takeout only service, the pandemic has led to widespread job loss in the restaurant industry. Local governments’ handling of this balance between the health of their residents and the strength of their economy has varied significantly across the U.S, depending on state guidance, local regulation, and rates of community transmission of COVID-19.


This brief is part of a partnership between the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative and the Big Cities Health Coalition to support and contribute to the Coalition’s vision of healthy, more equitable cities through big city innovation and leadership. This is the first in a series of briefs linking data and policy at the local level. While this brief reports on policies in the 30 member cities of BCHC, it does not reflect the position of the Coalition or its membership.

Read more about the implications of indoor dining and COVID-19.