Thailand restaurant uses toy pandas to aid social distancing

Owner of Maison Saigon, a Vietnamese restaurant in Thailand, has come up with a truly brilliant idea to promote social distancing in a fun and cute way. He brought pandas to the tables!

Well, they are not real pandas, of course, but they become great companions for people who come to his restaurant for dinner. And if they simply want to dine alone without feeling uncomfortable, there is always a cute plushy friend at their table to create just the right atmosphere.

After all, people want to attend restaurants and owners want the visitors to feel safe and comfy – so why not help them? When Maison Saigon first opened after Thailand weakened some of the quarantine restrictions, the owner decided to put less chairs to promote social distancing. He soon found out it looked and felt too lonely for the visitors, so he came up with a new idea to use plushy pandas instead.

“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,” said Natthwut Rodchanapanthkul, the owner of the restaurant, in an interview with Reuters. Customers were also happy to share their meals with plushy friends. Most of the people were coming out for the first time in months, so it was good to have some company at the dinner table.

Now, when the businesses are allowed to open, it’s most important to follow the rules of social distancing to avoid unnecessary risks. In many restaurants it’s hard to understand where to sit and what places shouldn’t be occupied. Maison Saigon definitely made it easier for the customers who haven’t been out in a while. They can still follow the social-distancing rules without feeling too awkward about it. It’s hard to feel awkward next to a cute little panda!

Thailand lifted the lockdown restrictions on May, 3, allowing a number of businesses to open up. Cafés, markets, restaurants, and dine-in areas started receiving customers, but the social distancing guidelines still had to be followed. Everyone was eager to get back into business and receive as many people as possible, so they came up with various ways to create a fun and comfortable environment. Stuffed pandas are definitely one of the cutest inventions!


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