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Chef to fill empty tables in restaurant with mannequins to observe physical distancing

A chef in Virginia, United States, has a creative way of addressing physical distancing when his restaurant welcomes guests again.

Patrick O’Connell, chef at the Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia, plans to reopen his Michelin three-star restaurant on May 29.

Inn at Little Washington
Image: Inn at Little Washington

Only 50% of the restaurant will be filled up to comply with Virginia’s measures to observe physical distancing.

O’Connell, however, will see to it that his restaurant is still full by using mannequins, Eater reported yesterday, May 12.


The mannequins will be dressed in fashionable 1940s outfits, too, to match the lavish English-style interiors. The chef is working with a theater group to costume the life-size dolls, as per the Washingtonian yesterday.

Servers must also approach the tables with the mannequins to greet them and pour them wine, the report said.

Even if O’Connell is not aware of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the area, staff are deep-cleaning the restaurant.

The chef said, “I think it would do people a world of good to reduce their anxiety level when they come out to a place which is still unaffected, because if you watch your television, you think that there isn’t such a place under a bubble.”  /ra


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