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Mannequins in Restaurants

Updated: May 22, 2020

As restaurants in some states re-open, they must follow strict guidelines, like operating at 50% capacity and keeping guests at least six feet apart. While many restaurants are simply putting up clear dividers, the Inn at Little Washington in northern Virginia is taking a unique approach. Imagine that you sit down at your table, look around, and notice that the restaurant looks to be full. But that isn’t supposed to happen. Then you realize that half the patrons aren’t moving - because they’re mannequins. This Michelin star restaurant placed mannequins all over the dining area to make customers feel like it wasn’t so lonely. The Inn at Little Washington isn’t the only place doing this - the Open Hearth restaurant in South Carolina ordered blow-up dolls to keep the customer's company. In Austria, a famous coffee house also has mannequins. Even in Germany. But is this a good idea? Although this is a very innovative way to keep customers socially distanced, many scientists believe that it is too early to ‘reopen’ the U.S., and reopening restaurants, even while maintaining social distancing, may lead to many more COVID-19 cases. On the other hand, many businesses will not be able to survive without customers. There are many valid points on both sides of this argument. We all played with dolls, action figures, and stuffed animals when we were little. Now it seems we may be dining with them, too.

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