Thai restaurant uses toy pandas to aid social distancing

After news of 1940s mannequins being used in a restaurant in America, an eatery in Bangkok is seating stuffed pandas at tables for those who can’t bear to eat alone.

Image: Maison Saigon (Facebook)

The owner of Vietnamese eatery Maison Saigon said he was concerned that customers would feel lonely sitting by themselves or in a restaurant with fewer guests.

The restaurant reopened after Thailand relaxed its lockdown laws earlier this month. Social distancing measures, however, remain in place.

In order to better conform with the new requirements, toy pandas are now placed at every table at Maison Saigon to help keep diners separated from each other.

Speaking to Reuters, Maison Saigon owner Natthwut Rodchanapanthkul, said: “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.”

The move has been welcomed by customers, who have praised the restaurant for providing a fun and safe way to navigate the space and know where to sit.

Maison Saigon thanked customers for their appreciation of the panda project on social media. The restaurant is offering a 20% discount on food this month.

It follows news that a three-Michelin starred restaurant in the US has decided to use mannequins dressed in 1940s-themed outfits to aid social distancing when it reopens. 

Other unusual approaches to the new Covid-19-inspired laws include a restaurant in Amsterdam which is set to trial a new safe dining concept, which will see customers sat in individual greenhouses with meals slid into each structure on a wooden plank. Meanwhile, in Sweden, a one-table restaurant in a field, where meals are delivered in a basket on a washing line, opened this month. 

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