Dining out in a pandemic is not something most people thought they'd ever experience in their lifetime. But few of us could ever have imagined some of the weird and wonderful dining situations that are now on offer around the globe.
From dining with stuffed toys, to dining rooms filled with 1940s theatrical mannequins, some of the novel social distancing measures taken by restaurateurs range from the lighthearted, to the plain weird.
While greater table spacing and reduced covers might have ruined the buzzy vibe many diners seek in a dining experience, the challenge is now on to create an interesting new environment to entice diners out into safe environments with a difference.
By putting their own creative spin on the new standards, and making them their own, many restaurants have turned the rules into a positive talking point. Have a look at some of the creative workarounds already at play in restaurants, from Sydney to Sweden,
Cafe & Konditorei Rothe, Germany
This café in Schwerin, Germany, has taken an amusing approach to social distancing enforcement, requiring customers to wear a pool noodle hat.
Robotic Eating Mask, Israel
Eating without removing your mask should no longer be a problem if you invest in a robotic eating mask.
Daisy Changs, New Zealand
In New Zealand, this street food restaurant's owners have constructed temporary dining booths made of thin fluted plastic.
Bord för En, Sweden
Sweden’s Bord för En ('table for one' in English) can be found in the middle of a field in Ransäter, Sweden, allowing solitary diners the pleasure of dining completely alone as they are served chef-prepared Swedish-style dishes via a basket and pulley system.
Mannequins at The Inn at Little Washington, US
The three-Michelin-star restaurant in Washington has gone to town with a theatrically dressed cast of mannequin diners. See more here.
Five Dock Dining, Sydney
This modern Italian restaurant is having fun using cardboard cutouts to fill the dining room, where only 10 diners are allowed at a time.
Greenhouse at Mediamatic ETEN, Netherlands
Separate greenhouses allow diners to dine in glass enclosures along the Oosterdok marina in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. Read more here.
Maison Saigon, Bangkok
The Vietnamese eatery Maison Saigon in Bangkok is seating toy bear pandas at tables to avoid making diners feel lonely.
Christophe Gernigon’s Plexiglas domes, France
French designer Christophe Gernigon has presented the 'Plex’Eat' Plexiglas domes in a Paris restaurant to help protect diners from coronavirus.
Harry Caray's, Chicago
Chicago chain Harry Caray's says it’s planning to fill space with laughing cardboard cut-outs or mannequins of Chicago Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray himself.