Mississippi now allows dogs on restaurant patios

Los Angeles resident Merlin Lucas (R) and enjoys a beer with his dog Diesel at Barney's Beanery sports bar and restaurant in West Hollywood, California after recently returning from see the first week of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, August 13, 2016. Barney's Beanery, the redoubt of choice for doyens of Hollywood's golden age and the bar where Quentin Tarantino wrote "Pulp Fiction," has been through some big changes.These days it boasts more than 50 screens and its clientele pack out its booths to watch the Superbowl, the NBA finals, the baseball World Series and -- for a month every four years -- the Olympics. / AFP / Robyn BECK / TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY FRANKIE TAGGART -"Olympics: Los Angeles 'ready' for 2024, say fans" (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

JACKSON, Miss. — 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.

Visit www.HealthyMS.com/doggiedining for more information.

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