According to the law, ESAs are really only permitted at airports and in all kinds of housing regardless of pet policies. Dog parks and pet-friendly areas are still permissible, but for other public locations, ESAs are not allowed. Unless otherwise specified, this includes hotels and AirBnBs, workplaces, grocery stores, theaters, and restaurants. Only Service Animals are allowed in these places.
However, there are still some places of business that boast a “pet-friendly” label. You can always call to check if there is a restaurant with outdoor seating that would allow you to bring your ESA. If service animal rules are not specified on the door of an establishment, it doesn’t hurt to call and ask if you can bring your ESA with you. Websites like TripsWithPets.com, DogFriendly.com, and BringFido.com are search engines that can direct you to pet-friendly locations.
The distinction between service animals and emotional support animals can sometimes be difficult to remember. In short, service animals perform physical tasks whereas ESAs do not. ESAs are permitted in no-pet housing and airports whereas service animals do not have any restrictions.
If you’re not sure about whether or not your ESA is allowed to come with you to certain locations, call and speak to someone about it. The worst that could happen is that they will answer in the negative, but if not, you may be able to go out into the public with your ESA!