New Jersey and California have taken a step toward resumption of their pre-pandemic economies, allowing restaurants to begin limited indoor dining, as new US coronavirus cases abate.
The two states are among the few that continued to ban indoor dining as most lifted restrictions, according to the National Governors Association.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said on Monday the state's restaurants and movie theatres could open for indoor service on Friday for the first time since a coronavirus shutdown in March.
But they must limit indoor patrons to 25 per cent of capacity and space seating between groups in accordance with social-distancing rules.
"Masks are required to be worn at all times in the theatre unless you're pulling it down to put away a handful of popcorn," Murphy said.
California will immediately allow indoor dining in 19 counties, including San Diego. Gyms, houses of worship and movie theatres in those counties are also open for indoor activities with limited capacity.
While indoor dining bans are still in effect in California counties where most residents live, hair salons were allowed to reopen statewide on Monday with modifications.
Coronavirus cases rose in 10 states, including South Dakota, up from eight states a week ago.
South Dakota health officials said they traced 105 new cases to the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally that drew hundreds of thousands of people from August 7 to 16.
Overall, cases in the state rose last week by more than 2000, or 104 per cent.
In New York City, once the epicentre of the US outbreak, Mayor Bill de Blasio ruled out a resumption of indoor dining anytime soon for the city's thousands of restaurants.
"It would take a huge step forward to get to that point," he told a briefing on Monday.
California, the country's most populous state, reported the most new cases of COVID-19 in August, with nearly 200,000 infections. In July it reported over 262,000 new cases.
Nationally, new cases fell two per cent last week, the sixth consecutive week of declines.
But the number of new infections still averages more than 41,000 a day.
On Sunday, the US reached 6 million cases since the start of the pandemic, nearly a quarter of the world's total.