A restaurant in Thailand has deployed cuddly panda toys at tables as a way of keeping customers company while enforcing social distancing measures.
The country eased lockdown restrictions earlier this month, enabling restaurants to reopen under strict rules designed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
But rather than have diners sat at tables on their own, Natthwut Rodchanapanthkul, the owner of Vietnamese restaurant Maison Saigon in Bangkok, decided to deploy cuddly panda toys at tables, giving customers some form of company and making it clear where other diners are not permitted to sit.
Speaking to Reuters, he said: "Earlier we had only one chair for the tables where the customer came alone. But for me, it felt strange, so I thought I'd give them some company."
Evidently, the novel solution has proven popular with customers too - though that's hardly a surprise.
Diner Sawit Chaiphuek, 25, said: "The doll makes me feel less lonely eating by myself.
"It's a lot easier to understand compared to other restaurants where people always get confused about where to sit and end up sitting too close to each other."
The restaurant shared the creative solution in a post on Instagram which reads: "The Maison Saigon is now open for eating!! Come alone, as a couple or as a whole family.
"We have pandas and clear panels to help keep the distance for you to be happy and healthy with authentic Vietnamese taste .. safely, without worries, with strict cleanliness measures in accordance with state standards."
It may seem unfair that people in Thailand are getting to enjoy delicious Vietnamese food in the company of cuddly panda toys, while we continue to chow down on tins of beans in our houses, but the virus is far less wide spread there than it is in the UK.
Yesterday (Friday) the country reported no new cases and no deaths, while in the UK, as of 5pm on Thursday, there was a daily increase of 3,560 cases and 384 deaths.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Maison Saigon