From cute panda seatmates to coffee on wheels, these shops are taking social distancing to a new level.
Since the start of May, restaurants and coffee shops in Thailand have resumed operations after more than a month of closure due to the novel coronavirus. However, the Thai government has imposed strict social-distancing guidelines that business owners need to follow, including maintaining a 2-meter distance between tables and a 1-customer-per-table rule.
Some restaurants and coffee shops have come up with ideas that would help enforce this but will not discourage customers to dine-in. Check out these amazing restaurants in Thailand with creative social distancing ideas:
Maison Saigon, a Vietnamese-themed restaurant in Bangkok placed Panda stuffed toys in between seats, with some of them wearing traditional hats with vietnam’s flag design. Owner Natthwut Rodchanapanthkul said they initially decided to have only one chair at each table but “it felt isolating and empty”.
He eventually decided to give each diner a companion: a cute and fluffy toy panda.
“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,” Rodchanapanthkul said in a Reuters report.
Sawit Chaiphuek, one of the customers, said that he enjoyed his “unique” seat-mate, especially since it was his first time to dine out in months.
“The doll makes me feel less lonely eating by myself,” Chaiphuek said.
The restaurant later gained a lot of attention on social media.
Bar B Q Plaza, a well known grill chain restaurant in Bangkok, also created a cute safety precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection by putting Pi ‘Gon (brother dragon) on every table.
The restaurant also said that aside from having a dragon buddy, they also imposed a “1 table 1 person” policy, “contactless payment options”, and easy access to hand sanitizers.
Penguin Eat Shabu, on the other hand maintained, the concept of friends and family eating together at one table without having to worry about contracting the virus.
The restaurant installed clear plexiglass between diners, to allow them to talk to each other while eating.
“Each partition cost around 200 Baht to 300 Baht ($6 to $9), which is for one table,” Penguin Eat Shabu owner Thanapan said.
The Art of Coffee in Bangkok created a rope and pulley system carrying beverages or coffee for baristas to serve their customer’s drink while maintaining distance.
In addition, the shop also mounted a sign saying that they prefer “electronic payment” rather than cash, to prevent their staff from handling notes and coins.
“I took this idea from social distancing in China. We heard that it works in curbing the outbreak of the disease and preventing new infections,” The Art of Coffee owner Apirak Chamraksin said.
On May 3, Thailand announced that it is imposing a “partial relaxation” of lockdown measures, including the reopening of restaurants, cafes, and markets.
However, the nationwide curfew between 10pm and 4am will remain until the state of emergency ends on May 31.
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