Restaurants use creative isolation techniques to protect patrons during the pandemic

While many consumers have honed their cooking skills, opted for ordering takeout, and explored new relationships with grocer-e-commerce initiatives over the last few months, many are still hungry for in-person dining. In this new culture of coronavirus, debating whether to dine out or not is a major decision. Restaurants that are open understand consumer concerns about health and safety, and many are taking serious steps to ensure social distancing measures. Some eateries are taking this further by offering innovative, individually isolated enclosures such as cones, bubbles, or greenhouses, which help the restaurant industry not only draw in new customers, but keep them safe while they dine.


Parisian restaurant H.A.N.D. is showcasing a new type of social distancing tool called the “Plex’eat.” These clear, lampshade-like cones completely cover individual diners (kind of like one giant face shield). These plastic bubbles, which quickly received hundreds of preorders, were designed by Christophe Gernigon after he witnessed people sitting and listening to music while enclosed in individual dome structures in Bangkok. H.A.N.D’s director Mathieu Manzoni described the plastic shields as a “pretty, more poetic” solution for restaurateurs hoping to welcome new customers during the novel coronavirus pandemic. We expect to see more cross-industry cones to come.


Vegan restaurant Mediamatic ETEN is experimenting with an exciting new way to bring in patrons. Each outdoor table at the restaurant is surrounded by small greenhouses to socially distance guests from other guests, as well as waiters. Known as Serres Séparées, which is French for “separated greenhouses,” these structures allow for safe and intimate isolation. The restaurant also promotes hygiene by having waiters wear personal protective equipment and serve meals on long wooden planks to maintain a healthy distance from patrons.


The Turkce Meze Kubbe restaurant in Istanbul has erected a new kind of dining experience. Unlike the greenhouses at Mediamatic ETEN, which seat just two or four guests at a time, the restaurant's plastic bubble “cabins” cover entire tables of friends and family, allowing patrons to enjoy eating together while being socially distanced from nearby customers. To promote hygiene, the bubbles are pumped with fresh air, cleaned, and disinfected between uses. Sezai Kalay, who works at the restaurant, says these bubbles create a "more sterile, cleaner, more hygienic environment during the coronavirus period.”