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Free regularly updated 'cheat sheet' on state COVID-19 dining restrictions

Free regularly updated 'cheat sheet' on state COVID-19 dining restrictionsPhoto: iStock

For restaurant systems with locations in more than one governing jurisdiction, the pandemic has provided a real logistics nightmare in having to keep track of each operating area's COVID-19-related guidelines and restrictions. Now an artificial intelligence company serving the restaurant industry is providing a free tool for restaurant companies that need to know the latest changes and current mandates governing restaurant operations in specific areas nationally, according to an email.

Bensen AI, which provides natural language AI solutions to restaurants among other services, calls its tool its restaurant reopening cheat sheet. The tool – located online at -- summarizes restaurant reopening statuses in all 50 states, as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

The information used to compile the "cheat sheet" is drawn from official state sources and updated weekly. States where indoor and outdoor dining is open is represented by a "Y" in the list, but each may also have local rules around distancing for tables and maximum number of guests per table. Links are shown to further information as well as the last date the information was updated for that state. One added note is that the list also uses a letter, "L" to indicate that the situation in the designated category "varies widely by local rules at the city or county level."

Capactiy limits are also listed in states and areas where applicable, as well as zone maps for more complicated states, like California, Texas and Florida. In California, for instance, as the end of 2020 approached state leaders issues regional stay-at-home orders, pausing in-person dining in those areas. That order was lifted recently, but there are additional capacity restrictions and other requirements.

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