Business is booming.

Mannequin mates, panda pals, and greenhouse get-togethers. This is the new eating out that respects social distancing

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As lockdowns ease across America and the world, restaurants begin to reopen. Several have come up with clever ways to bring business back, while maintaining the atmosphere, and keeping people safe.

One, the multiple Michelin-starred Inn at Little Washington, will keep social distancing in place, filling empty seats with 50s style mannequins and even offering guests custom Marilyn Monroe face masks.

This panda will keep lone diners company as social distancing means strangers sharing tables isn’t possible (LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images)


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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. Instead of one chair at the table, guests are joined on another chair by a stuffed panda. One (guest) said it makes him feel less lonely.

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.”

Read:Plastic screens and makeshift grocery stores: How one restaurant chain is surviving the coronavirus crisis

Meanwhile Dutch diners could soon find themselves getting together in greenhouse-like glass cabins. Amsterdam-based vegan eatery Mediamatic Biotoop is testing the tech allowing three customers at a time to enjoy four courses of plant-based food.

The shacks sit just above the idyllic Dijksgracht canal.

In Ohio in the U.S. customers at Twisted Citrus, a breakfast/brunch outlet are isolated in slightly less glamorous fashion by shower curtains that hang around tables of four. The restaurant will open back 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 restaurants. A Japanese baker has pioneered baguettes over a meter (3ft) long, sold in pairs, to help customers socially distance, and at a market in Italy a man was recently spotted sporting a two-meter protective ring around himself.



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