Tables Separated By Plexiglass and Other Ways Restaurants May Change Amid Coronavirus

Tarrah Gibbons
June 30, 2020 - 1:54 pm

Many people across the country are still under stay-at-home orders.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, some are left wondering about the timeline of when the economy will restart again.

Several states have already started the process of reopening businesses.

However, restaurants have faced challenges when it comes to serving customers in the future. Will customers have to sit behind plexiglass dividers and be forced to wear face masks?

Today reported that restaurants in Rome, Italy started preparing to open up their restaurants. One restaurant found a creative way to maintain social distancing protocols as video showed people seated at tables separated by a giant plexiglass pane.

Stephani Robson, Ph.D., who teaches hotel and restaurant design at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, said she found the images hilarious.

"When I saw that picture in Rome, I just laughed. Like, you've got to be kidding me," Robson said. "That's silly. It's just silly."

She offered up solutions that she believed were more practical.

Robson suggested that booths with higher backs might be a good idea for both restaurants and diners. She said people would feel secure when they have got a separation between them and the other table.

In the United States, Georgia is one of the states where shelter-in-place orders have been lifted and businesses started reopening this week. On Twitter, pictures show some restaurant tables marked off and counter seats barred by objects.

Robson said when people start eating out at restaurants, it will be different when they have to follow social distancing rules.

In other states like Florida and Texas, restaurants that are opening up to dine-in customers are only allowed to function at 25% capacity.

Some restaurants in Hong Kong have implemented routine temperature checks of employees and customers and added hand sanitzers and storage bags for masks at each table.

Robson also said he could see the development of a grading system which would rate how well a restaurant is doing with keeping their customers safe, similar to the current health department rankings.

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