Metro Manila is now under moderated enhanced community quarantine, so many businesses such as retail and food establishments are getting back on their feet as they welcome customers to make up for their losses over the past two months of no revenue. With this fresh start come new sets of rules and protocols to follow since the threat of the coronavirus is still an issue.

Among them is the strict implementation of physical distancing and wearing of masks. The guidelines issued by the Department of Tourism requires food businesses to attend to only 50 percent or less of their customer capacity inside the store. Though shops are still asked to operate on a delivery and takeaway setup, dine-in is a discussion we might have to confront sooner.

Now if a restaurant that’s half full is a depressing sight for you, would you consider dining in a place full of mannequins? A restaurant in Virginia will be doing just that.

Three Michelin-starred The Inn at Little Washington is filling up its restaurant with dummies as it opens later this month. These unlikely guests are supposed to set a warm and inviting ambiance for the real guests who seek connection after being home in isolation.

This undated handout photo released by The Inn at Little Washington on May 15, 2020 shows mannequins set up in the restaurant's dining room in Washington, Virginia. - Their eyes are vacant, their smiles uncanny -- but they're dressed to the nines and they don't need a reservation for some of America's finest dining. A Michelin-starred restaurant in the US state of Virginia has found a fun -- or creepy, depending on your tastes -- way to enforce social distancing when it reopens at the end of May: costumed mannequins seated among the breathing guests. (Photo by - / The Inn at Little Washington / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / THE INN AT LITTLE WASHINGTON " - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS / TO GO WITH AFP STORY, "Dinner with dummies: US eatery fills empty seats with mannequins"

Photo by The Inn at Little Washington / AFP

“I’ve always had a thing for mannequins—they never complain about anything and you can have lots of fun dressing them up,” says Patrick O’Connell, chef and proprietor of The Inn at Little Washington, to AFP.

Of course, attending dinner in such a place is also a fashion affair. The restaurant worked with other local businesses relating to stage, costume, and makeup to help them dress the mannequins worthy of the setting.

“When The Inn at Little Washington reached out with the idea to costume mannequins, we thought it was a fun and creative way for them to conform to social distancing guidelines,” said Signature Theatre’s managing director Maggie Boland in a report by CNN. “We jumped at the chance to collaborate with another of Virginia’s great cultural destinations in support of their reopening.”

Meeting the theatricality of the restaurant, the mannequins don post-war style outfits of the 1940s, replete with pearl necklaces, checkered dresses, and striped suits.

“This would allow plenty of space between real guests and elicit a few smiles and provide some fun photo ops,” says O’Connell. “We’re all craving to gather and see other people right now. They don’t all necessarily need to be real people.”

Maybe we should get ready to eat with standees of Jollibee, Ronald McDonald, and Colonel Sanders. What do you think?

Source: Manila Bulletin (