Dining out – the new normal
London – With lockdown measures more relaxed, social lives are slowly becoming possible. Restaurants, bars, gigs and museums beckon. But as we take our first cautious steps back into the wider world, we are finding it transformed.
Gone are restaurants so busy that you have to wait for service or the check. Now, in the COVID-19 coronavirus-era, social distancing has made eating out a very different experience.
At Da Enzo’s in Rome, waiters no longer hand out menus, but hold up a scan code. Customers point their smart phones at it and a menu pops up on screen with the day’s specialties.
Dining companions – from the same household, please – might eat around a candle-lit table inside a glass booth on the banks of an Amsterdam canal, a concept being tried out by the ETEN restaurant.
If that doesn’t appeal, diners can try eating with a see-through lampshade on their heads, created by French designer Christophe Gernigon for restaurant owners who want to protect customers from COVID-19.
Other designs on the market resemble visitor booths in prisons, Gernigon said, prompting him to create a cylinder of transparent plastic that hangs from the ceiling, much like a lampshade.
“I wanted to make it more glamorous, more pretty,” he said.
Want to catch a movie after dinner but your local cinema is closed under lockdown rules? Drive-in cinemas are seeing a revival, popping up in Lithuania, Dubai and the United States.
On the Cote d’Azur, in Cannes, you can drive to Palm Beach and watch films from the comfort of your own car.
If clubbing is your thing, Germans got the party started with a drive-in rave. In the car park of Club Index in the town of Schüttorf near the Dutch border, clubbers – limited to two per car – parked in rows in front of a DJ and hopped around to the beats while respecting government-imposed social distancing measures.
Lasers, glowsticks, confetti and a whole lot of horn honking set the mood as people celebrated their new-found freedom.
“The night had quite a party vibe here. It was perhaps even better than a normal club night would be,” said organiser Holger Boesch, who runs Club Index.
And forget lockdown beards and daytime pyjamas – soon there will be no more excuses for the Robinson Crusoe quarantine look.
Designers from Lebanon to China to Nigeria are creating extraordinary face masks and protective clothing, and in South Korea, YouTubers are giving tutorials to maximise the make-up and mask look.
In Lagos, designer Sefiya Diejomaoh believes a global pandemic should not get in the way of style. Gold-coloured and studded with sparkling diamante jewels, her face mask matches her floor-length dress. (Reuters)