Would these chic social distancing ideas make you less nervous to eat out?

International designers have been working on solutions to make dining at restaurants during the pandemic a safe — and stylish — affair

24 June 2020 - 11:30
By AFP Relaxnews
The Plex'Eat concept by Christophe Gernigon Studio.
Image: Christophe Gernigon Studio The Plex'Eat concept by Christophe Gernigon Studio.

President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced that restaurants would soon be able to reopen for sit-down meals. But persistent concern about the need for social distancing will likely mean that many customers will not feel comfortable with crowded dining spaces.

In a recent TimesLIVE poll, we asked, “will you be eating out as soon as restaurants reopen?” At the time of writing, only 37% of the respondents said “yes, I can't wait”. The remaining 63% replied, “No, I'm too nervous about Covid-19".

If you're one of the latter, take heart: international designers have been working on solutions to make social distancing while dining out a safe — and stylish — affair.

Here are some of their ideas:

THE PLEX'EAT CONCEPT

French designer Christophe Gernigon, who leads the design studio of the same name, has come up with the concept of suspended plexiglass bells (pictured above) that will ensure there's a barrier between patrons sharing a table. 

INDIVIDUAL GREENHOUSES

A restaurant in Amsterdam called Eten has installed five individual glasshouses at its canal-side property, each containing a single table. It's a romantic solution for couples who would like a private space all to themselves. The project has been christened “Serres séparées” (French for “separate greenhouses”). 

Groups of friends have dinner in so-called 'quarantine greenhouses' in Amsterdam.
Image: Robin Van Lonkhuijsen/ANP/AFP Groups of friends have dinner in so-called 'quarantine greenhouses' in Amsterdam.

PLEXI CORNERS

French designer Frédéric Tabary has developed a concept for plexiglass enclosures that will ensure there's enough distance between individual groups of diners. The “Plexi corner”, which he has posted on Instagram, is also available for sale. It's priced at €7,500 ex vat (about R147k) for 36 chairs and five modules. 

Additional reporting by Toni Jaye Singer.