UK’s first purpose-built socially distanced restaurant to open on Saturday

The UK’s first purpose-built socially distanced restaurant will open its doors to the public on Saturday.

Up to 96 guests at the St Moritz Hotel & Spa near Rock in Cornwall will be seated in 16 private dining rooms.

Staff wearing face masks serve food through service hatches in each room.

This ensures diners remain in their family “bubble” and are separated from other guests and staff.

The specially-built restaurant (Ben Birchall/PA)
The specially-built restaurant (Ben Birchall/PA)

Hugh Ridgway, owner of the St Moritz Hotel, said the restaurant would only have been able to operate at 30% occupancy with the two-metre rule in place so decided to build the socially distanced pop-up venue.

“Our self-catering accommodations are full for July and August, which we would expect,” he said.

“People have been waiting and waiting to stay in hotels and now our phones are very busy, our online bookings are very busy.

“We are very lucky here in St Moritz that our architecture means all of our hotel rooms can be occupied in a safe and socially distanced manner.

Diners take their places in family bubbles to test the pop-up socially distanced restaurant
Diners take their places in family bubbles to test the pop-up socially distanced restaurant (Ben Birchall/PA)

“The only problem is that we need to feed our guests. We can’t do that if we are restricting our restaurant to 30% or 60% – if at one-metre distance – occupancy.

“That’s why we came up with the idea of socially distanced dining and built this marquee with 16 individual dining rooms.”

Guests can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in the private dining rooms – with reservation times staggered so they do not have to walk past others or wait when they arrive.

Staff have their own corridor to deliver food through the hatches (Ben Birchall/PA)
Staff have their own corridor to deliver food through the hatches (Ben Birchall/PA)

The hotel is also serving meals in striped beach huts, with food delivered to tables before guests get there.

It will open to guests on Saturday.

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