olive + oak in webster groves photo by adam rothbarth

St. Louis County to expand restaurant capacity to 50% tomorrow, Feb. 11

St. Louis County has issued a revised public health order that expands indoor capacity for restaurants and bars from 25% to 50%. The new regulations will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, Feb 11. The news came via a press release posted to St. Louis County executive Sam Page’s Twitter feed yesterday, Feb. 9.

The revised public health order specifies that restaurants can open either to 50% capacity or “the number of tables in the facility where individual groups are able to sit 6 feet apart from other individual groups” – whichever is less. Banquet facilities can also open to 50%, or 50 people or less for facilities that accommodate 100 or more people.

“The change comes with a decrease in cases and improvement of associated metrics, including hospitalizations, along with continued strong compliance with public health orders,” the press release said. “All other safety restrictions for employees and customers remain in place.”

Page said the decision to increase capacity was a collaborative one. “We have been measured and thoughtful in our response to this pandemic and listened closely to our various advisory groups on how to reopen our businesses in a way that is safe to employees and customers,” he pointed out.

The revised capacity restrictions follow a previous total shutdown of indoor dining on Nov. 17, 2020. When restaurants were permitted to reopen on Jan. 4, capacity was restricted to 25%.

Restaurants and bars must close by 11 p.m. (extended from 10 p.m. last week) for indoor and outdoor service; carryout and delivery services are not subject to curfew, however. Customers are required to wear face masks at all times when interacting with or being served by a restaurant employee and must remain seated unless using the restroom.