While it might be a while until dogs will be allowed inside restaurants, new bills being passed in many states means that your furry best friend might just be able to accompany you on restaurant patios!
Previously, health officials were the deciding vote on whether or not dogs could be allowed on patios - not restaurant owners. This is because most states had a law that said dogs and retail food service couldn't happen on the same property. However, many states are changing that! Here are nine states that give you the opportunity to get dinner with your pup - and one that's on its way there!
Florida Florida was one of the first states to give pups the chance to dine on the patio. A law passed in 2006 established that local government throughout Florida could establish their own ordinances about pups in public spaces. Restaurants that fall under this, of course, have to follow certain guidelines, but are free to welcome dogs!
Tennessee Tennessee also allows local governments to pass ordinances in their cities or town that can allow pups on the patio. Some requirement for restaurants who want to open their doors to dogs includes a rule that says the dog must be leashed.
Maryland Maryland has a statewide rule that allows individual restaurant owners to make the decision about allowing dogs on their patios. However, before a restaurant can allow dogs, they must first inform the health department one month in advance.
Ilinois Illinois has a big dog scene, especially in Chicago, so it's no wonder that many restaurants allow dogs! However, for restaurants to allow dogs on the patio, they must be in a municipality that has at least 1 million people. Before allowing dogs, they have to apply for a pup-friendly permit.
Minnesota Minnesota may be cold , but there are still plenty of warm days to enjoy patio days with your pup! A law allows cities to opt for ordinances that would allow pups to sit outside with their owner, as long as they aren't sitting on furniture or being pet by the staff (sorry, staff!)
New Mexico New Mexico's statewide law allows restaurants, no matter what city or municipality they're in, to allow dogs on their patio if they would like to. Like other states, they have to follow a certain number of rules when the dogs are present.
California California also has a statewide law that allows restaurant owners to make personal decisions on whether or not they welcome pups in their outdoor space. If they do, they must make sure that they have a separate entrance to the outdoor area and that any food or water served to dogs be in disposable containers.
New York New York's laws mirror California's laws, meaning that restaurants can make their own decisions and that they must use disposable containers for any food or water given to dogs.
Rhode Island Rhode Island is a small state with a big heart for dogs. A statewide law says that restaurant owners have the right to make the decision over whether or not dogs can enter their outdoor area.
In Progress - Ohio Ohio is late to the game, but making headway! In June, a bill passed by the Ohio House of Representatives would allows restaurants to decide whether or not to allow pups, but would have certain requirements, like posting a sign that informs customers of their policy. The bill is now heading to the Senate, where it will hopefully go through.
Now that you know about all of these states, get on planning that dinner date with your furry best friend!