Tracking restaurant worker priority for COVID-19 vaccine by state

While many states are prioritizing workers in the food and agricultural industries, fewer are fast-tracking foodservice employees. Here’s how restaurant workers are categorized across the country.

Editor's Note: Restaurant Dive tracked eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines from January to early April, after which President Joe Biden announced that all adults can sign up by April 19. This story was last updated April 7. Consider this a snapshot of the vaccine distribution across the country.

Growing distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine offers hope to the restaurant industry, which has been battered by the impact of ongoing capacity restrictions and temporary closures.

But not every state is prioritizing restaurant employees for vaccination. Food and agriculture workers are often slated to receive the vaccine under Phase 1b, but this designation doesn’t typically include foodservice workers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that states include restaurant workers in Phase 1c of vaccine distribution under the “other essential workers” designation. But states have developed their own gameplans, resulting in a patchwork approach to inoculating restaurant employees that could make the segment’s recovery even more uneven.

Restaurant Dive is tracking the status of each state's plan to vaccinate foodservice workers, including in which priority group they have been designated. This tracker will be updated as states make changes to their vaccination schedule or announce new details. To let us know about state updates, send us an email.