Coronavirus: Dutch restaurant trials glass cabins for diners to keep distance after lockdown

ETEN restaurant invited guests to try out the small glass cabins (Picture: Reuters)
ETEN restaurant invited guests to try out the small glass cabins. (Reuters)

Glass cabins could be the future of eating out during the coronavirus pandemic after being trialled at a restaurant in the Netherlands.

Staff at ETEN restaurant, which is part of the Mediamatic arts centre in Amsterdam, invited their family and friends to try its small glass booths, built for two or three people.

Waiters wore gloves and transparent face shields and used longboards to bring dishes to ensure minimal physical contact with customers.

The UK has drawn up a three-stage plan to ease its coronavirus lockdown, first imposed at the end of March, but restaurants are expected to be among the last businesses to reopen, according to The Times.

Read more: The high-profile names who have been accused of breaching lockdown rules

A server is seen with protective gear (Picture: Reuters)
A server is seen with protective gear. (Reuters)

When restaurants do open, the glass cabin concept could be one of the ways they ensure social distancing.

Janita Vermeulen, who was invited to a trial dinner with her roommate at ETEN, said: “It's super-cosy, it's really cosy, it's nice and the food is delicious.”

Organisers call the project Serres Séparées (Separate Greenhouses), because they say it sounds better in French.

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Willem Velthoven from Mediamatic added: “We are now learning how to do the cleaning, how to do the service, how to get the empty plates out again in an elegant way, so you still feel taken care of nicely.”

Dutch restaurants are closed to the public until at least 19 May, though kitchens may operate for takeaway.

The Netherlands restaurant association KNH has said that even if restaurants are allowed to reopen at limited capacity and with safety measures in place, many face financial ruin if social distancing rules are maintained.

Servers are seen with protective gear carrying food at a restaurant in the Netherlands (Picture: Reuters)
Servers are seen with protective gear at ETEN. (Reuters)

In the UK, Downing Street revealed ministers were looking at plans to allow Britons to meet up outside.

It is thought people could be allowed to get together in small “bubbles”.

A spokesman for Boris Johnson said: “Once we have the scientific evidence, we will be able to set out what those arrangements are.

“Broadly the scientific and medical experts have been clear that there is less likelihood of transmission of this disease outdoors than indoors.

“That will obviously be something we are considering as part of the review."

Read more: Italy 'could be heading for deadlier second peak' after easing lockdown

Waiters wear gloves and transparent face shields and use a longboard (Picture: Reuters)
Waiters wear gloves and transparent face shields and use a longboard. (Reuters)

The government must review the lockdown by Thursday but Johnson has made clear he is worried about triggering a second deadly spike in cases.

The first phase will involve small shops reopening alongside outdoor workplaces and the second will involve large shopping centres reopening, with more people encouraged to go into work, The Times said.

Pubs, restaurants, hotels and leisure centres will be among the last to open, the newspaper added.

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