Last Saturday, owners of Cafe Rothe in Schwerin – a city in the German Chancellor Angela Merkel state in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania – were allowed to reopen their doors to visitors after the coronavirus restrictions were lifted.
While people enjoy the company and the weather, the motto at the cafe is: “Keep a social distance.”
Instead of using floor marks and perspex screens to separate people, cafe owners distribute straw hats with two colorful swimming noodles attached to the top.
To mark the occasion, owner Jaqueline Rothe posted a photo to the cafe’s Facebook page showing customers sitting at a table with their new headgear.
“Today it is like this: distance measurement,” he wrote in a statement.
Rothe, 52, told CNN that many customers like to flock to cafes to enjoy coffee, cake or beer in the sun.
“This is the perfect method to separate customers – and that is fun,” he said, explaining that the local TV company RTL, which records the reopening of cafes and restaurants, came up with the idea.
“It was a perfect joke and of course it was funny, our customers really liked it. But what was shown to us was how difficult it was to keep a distance of 1.5 meters (4.9 feet),” said Rothe, who said he was surprised by the attention his photo in media outlets all over the world.
Cafes and sugar shops usually have 36 tables inside and 20 outside in warmer weather, Rothe said.
“But with new measures of cleanliness and social distance we only have 12 tables inside and only eight outside,” he said, adding that their pre-coronavirus table would be about 80 cm (31.5 inches) apart.
During closing the cafe remains open but cannot serve customers inside. Now uses less than half the seating capacity.
“We will see what to expect when Germany opens further, more people are allowed to travel and we have more tourists coming in the next few weeks, we will accept it as it should,” Rothe said.
Germany lifted some coronavirus restrictions after Chancellor Merkel said the country was out of phase one pandemic.
However, Merkel warned that Germany risks a new spike in infection if people stop complying with physical distance measures.