News ID: 269066
Published: 1119 GMT May 15, 2020

US restaurants using dolls, mannequins to enforce physical distancing

US restaurants using dolls, mannequins to enforce physical distancing

Restaurants are having to get creative as they reopen amid physical distancing rules, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

At their Tuesday night reopening, South Carolina restaurant Open Hearth sat their live customers next to fancy dressed blow-up dolls, reported.

“The G-rated kind,” owner Paula Starr Melehes clarified to Fox19, purchased from Amazon for around $140.

The purpose of the dolls was to make their restaurant feel a little more full, given they aren’t able to seat the same amount of people as they would’ve pre-pandemic, Melehes said.

“Instead of using scary, yellow tape or roping off the empty tables, I thought, ‘We’re going to make this restaurant look full',” she said. “They are very humorous, and they have nice faces. And the wigs were gifts from different people.”

They’re all weighted and dressed in used clothing so they don’t move around during their patrons’ dining experience.

“Golly, just having some customers that don’t talk too much, we love that idea,” a patron told Fox Carolina.

Melehes isn’t the first restaurant owner to use her imagination during the reopening process.

A three-Michelin star restaurant in Virginia is doing something similar, but with mannequins.

In Virginia, restaurants are allowed to seat diners at only 50 percent capacity, so they’ll be placing mannequins around to make the space feel more full.

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