After months of lockdown, some parts of the world are gradually reopening everyday spaces such as restaurants and pubs – albeit in a new socially distanced way.
Here’s a look at some unusual new ways that the world has tried to adjust to the ‘new normal’ of eating out, getting coffee and having a pint in the pub.
Pool noodle hats to keep you apart
The Cafe & Konditorei Rothe in the town of Schwerin in north Germany has asked its guests to wear these rather creative ‘hats’ made from pool noodles to ensure they don’t get too close to neighbouring tables.
Burger King’s oversized crowns
Meanwhile also in Germany, Burger King is trialling these fun oversized cardboard crowns for eat-in diners to wear while enjoying their fast food.
Fashionable mannequin diners to fill tables
Around the world some restaurants have tried to adjust to new rules about keeping wide spaces between tables by filling chairs with cardboard cutouts, stuffed toys or mannequins.
Restaurants in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius have taken things to the next level, giving their empty restaurants some ‘life’ by installing mannequins at tables that can’t be used in order to abide by social distancing regulations. The city then helped establish a partnership with the local fashion industry to dress the mannequins in the latest fashion – thus also ensuring they promote the garment industry too!
The Hand Sanitiser Sommelier
This week restaurants in Australia reopened for diners and keeping things chic and upmarket, some restaurants have also now got their own ‘sanitiser sommeliers’.
On arrival at the restaurant the sommelier will offer you a selection of boutique hand sanitisers made by local craft gin distilleries “in a range of scents and native botanicals that reflect the surroundings we are lucky to call home”.
Quite simply the poshest way possible to keep your hands clean.
Dining in your own private greenhouse
Dutch vegetarian restaurant Mediametic Eten has installed some distinctive new waterfront tables encased in their own mini greenhouses so that you can enjoy an evening out with friends or family without having to worry about how far away the next table is. Perfect for a romantic dinner.
A giant cocktail mixer on wheels
Dubbed ‘the world’s largest cocktail mixer truck’ craft spirit brand Monkey Shoulder has found an inventive new way to promote its product while promotional events such as pop-up bars and parties are still off the cards in Australia. The giant Monkey Shoulder cocktail mixer is driving through the suburbs of Sydney, taking orders in advance and dishing out cocktails on doorsteps. We approve this hashtag #MadeForMixing
Beach bar bumper tables
Recent images of Americans crowding beaches and beauty spots on the sunny Memorial Day holiday certainly have raised some eyebrows, although there are lots of American businesses conjuring up fun ways to ensure that visitors do safely maintain social distancing.
One such venue is the Fish Tales beach bar in Maryland which has created fun ‘bumper tables’ fashioned from giant inner tubes fixed onto their own trolley tables.
The only thing missing is a cup holder.
Definitely a few spilled drinks waiting to happen here…
The takeaway coffee pulley
New Zealand has been praised across the world for its swift and effective response to the Coronavirus pandemic. As the country gradually eases its strict lockdown restrictions, takeaway coffee shops have started experimenting with novel ways to make sure you don’t need to get too close to the counter to pick up your cup of coffee.
The Plex’Eat Pod
Across the world, particularly in Asian countries who have been open from lockdown for several weeks, plastic dividers installed on tables have become a part of the new norms of eating out. However, French designer Christophe Gernigon has pointed out that a lot of these designs feel somewhat reminiscent of visiting someone in prison.
As a solution Christophe has pioneered what he calls the Plex’eat ‘pod’ or ‘hood’. Shaped like large lampshades, the transparent plastic pods are designed to be suspended above tables with diners sitting underneath them. Plex’eat’s current designs are aimed at individual diners although they are also looking at making larger designs that could suit a couple or family.
Christopher told Dezeen magazine about his proposed solution to social distancing dining; “Though we would have preferred not to arrive at this point, it is better to consider aesthetic, design and elegant alternatives that guarantee the rules of social distancing.”
Keeping a distance outdoors
As the northern hemisphere goes into summer, everyone is keen to get outdoors which has made maintaining social distancing in public spaces such as parks and beaches a challenge, especially on hot days. Some beaches have formed rope barriers around their loungers to keep sunbathers in place while in New York new social distancing circles have appeared on the lawns of some parks.
While these measures are meant to help people enjoy the outdoors, we certainly think they could also work at countryside restaurants with acres of open space such as wine farms.