Mississippi now allows dogs on restaurant patios

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Pet dogs can now dine with their owners under certain conditions at Mississippi restaurants.

The Mississippi State Department of Health’s new policy went into effect Friday.

Restaurants must apply for a variance to the department’s food code to allow the animals and pay a $165 inspection fee. Under the new policy, a restaurant must have a separate outside entrance into a designated outdoor dog-friendly area. Dogs, who must remain leashed, are not allowed to go indoors — unless considered a service dog.

Disposable dishes and utensils are required and dogs can’t come into contact with any items involved in food service operations. Employees cannot touch or handle the animals.

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