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Restaurants Can Soon Open for Indoor Seating; Wedding Receptions to Resume

Chris Spielmann/Wikimedia Commons

Starting June 15, restaurants in New Hampshire will be allowed to resume indoor dining service, though restrictions remain in place due to the ongoing risk of transmission of the coronavirus.

According to new guidance issued by Gov. Chris Sununu, restaurants in the northern and western part of the state can resume indoor service as long as tables are spaced six feet apart. 

In Rockingham, Hillsborough, Merrimack and Strafford Counties, indoor seating at restaurants will be capped at 50 percent of the building’s occupancy limit due to the high number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the region.

Last month, outdoor seating at restaurants resumed, though many facilities that lacked the space to serve customers have remained closed.

All restaurant servers and staff who have contact with customers will still be required to wear cloth masks. Customers are encouraged to wear masks as they enter and exit the facility, and on trips to the bathroom.

Reservations are also recommended, to limit crowding at the entrance.

Bar seating can also resume on the 15th, though there will be no standing or mingling permitted. Games, including darts and pool, remain off limits. 

On Friday, the governor also released new rules allowing wedding venues to begin hosting events on June 15. Occupancy will be capped at 50 percent for facilities statewide, and tables are limited to no more than six guests.

During a press conference, Sununu was asked about dancing at receptions.

“You know, I'm not going to be the guy in Footloose that says no dancing in my town, right?” he told reporters.

According to the state’s guidance documents, “dancing within 6 feet of another individual is discouraged, with the exception of family members and individuals from the same household.”

Venues are asked to display posters and signs around their venue reminding guests that they should take steps to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
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