It feels like it's been forever and a day, but we finally get to return to dine-in eating as of today! Well, most of us anyway.

According to the Kennebec Journal, today, May 18th, restaurants in twelve of Maine's sixteen counties can, if they choose to, reopen for limited dine-in and patio seating. The four counties where this will still be restricted are Cumberland, York, Androscoggin and Penobscot. Those counties are still barred due to the current coronavirus numbers.

Of course with the new climate will come some new changes. Mainers can expect their dine-in restaurant experience to be quite different than their last. Restaurant owners will be expected to enforce social distancing, limit party size, and remove enough tables so parties are seated an adequate distance apart.

Customers, in most situations, will be asked to wear personal protective equipment like masks, until it is actually time to eat their meal. Though there is a little confusion on if this will actually be 100% required.

As far as patio and outdoor dining, the changes their may be a little more subtle. It's inherently a little easier to make the necessary accommodations for social distancing outside. And, if all goes will with our weather pattern, restaurant owners and patrons alike can expect some decent dine-outside weather this week.

Now, just because restaurants in Central Maine CAN open today, doesn't mean they all will. Some restaurants just aren't at a place where they're ready to open with the new regulations yet. Some restaurants have determined that a limited capacity situation just won't be sufficient enough to maintain any profitability.

If you plan on going out to dine-in or on a patio anytime soon, do your best to help support local businesses. They people have gone months without seeing any sort of income, so let's all do our best to support them through these challenging times.

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