Restaurant uses cuddly panda bears on seats to enforce social distancing rules

A restaurant in Thailand has seated cuddly panda teddy bears at tables to enforce social distancing rules.

The Maison Saigon in Bangkok was allowed to re-open last month when the country eased coronavirus lockdown measures, with new infections falling to single digits each day.

However, restaurants were still ordered to ensure social distancing guidelines were followed to limit the risks of customers and staff spreading the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The owner, Natthwut Rodchanapanthku, wanted to avoid the unsightly plastic PVC dividers used by some outlets. 

So she seated dozens of adorable panda bears to block off chairs and ensure customers follow the government guidelines. 

The teddy are even sprayed with alcohol-based sanitiser to prevent them from collecting any germs.

Natthwut said the bears also help to keep customers company at the Vietnamese restaurant .

She 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.”

Diner Sawit Chaiphuek, 25, said he was happy to have some company as he stepped out to eat for the first time in months.  

“The doll makes me feel less lonely eating by myself,” he said.

Thailand has been slowly easing lockdown restrictions after coronavirus cases fell to single figures, or zero, for most of May and many of those were from repatriated nationals.

The country’s famous Thai massage parlours have been allowed to reopen from June 1 having been banned since March 18.

However, bars and dozens of other types of businesses remained shuttered, tourists are banned from entering the country and an 11pm to 3am curfew remains until at least the end of the month.