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Mannequin mates, ‘noodle’ hats and greenhouse get-togethers: creative approaches to social distancing in restaurant settings

At this restaurant in Thailand, you might find your dining companion is stuffed even before you’ve sat down.

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Another couldn’t bear the thought of customers eating alone. Maison Saigon in Thailand now provides a virtual friend for customers eating alone. Diners occupying a single chair at a table are joined on another chair by a stuffed panda, as being seated opposite a second lone diner is not permissible. One (guest) said it makes him feel less lonely.

As Maison Saigon owner Natthwut Rodchanapanthkul told Reuters: “Earlier we had only one chair for the tables where the customer came alone. But for me, it felt strange, so I thought I’d give them some company.”

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Meanwhile diners in the Netherlands could soon find themselves getting together in greenhouse-like glass cabins. Amsterdam-based vegan eatery Mediamatic Biotoop is testing a set-up allowing three customers to enjoy four courses of plant-based food in enclosed, outdoor spaces.

The dining structures sit just above the idyllic Dijksgracht canal.

At Twisted Citrus in Ohio, a breakfast and brunch outlet, customers are isolated in slightly less glamorous fashion by shower curtains that hang around tables of four. The restaurant is slated to open up on May 21, according to the website of news outlet Today.

Read:See how quickly the coronavirus can spread in a restaurant in this stomach-churning black light video

Creative techniques aren’t just restricted to dine-in restaurants. A Japanese baker has pioneered baguettes over a meter long, sold in pairs, to help customers socially distance, and at a market in Italy a man was recently spotted sporting a 2-meter protective ring around himself.

Similarly, at Café Konditorei & Café Rothe in Germany, it’s been reported that customers are being fitted with elaborate headgear constructed of swimming-pool flotation “noodles” to maintain the prescribed perimeters:


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