KEY POINTS

  • A Virginia restaurant is preparing for the end of the lockdown with the help of mannequins
  • It will seat mannequins at tables to help promote social distancing
  • The restaurant also uses infrared light to disinfect the area

Patrons of the Inn at Little Washington will soon find themselves dining with a bunch of other diners except that the latter will not be eating or moving at all. Life-size mannequins dressed in 1940s attire will be seated in various tables inside the restaurant. The idea of populating the place with life-size mannequins was conceived by the restaurant’s chef, who also instructed waiters to interact with the dummies and serve them wine.

Lifting Of The Lockdown

Patrick O’Connell, Inn at Little Washington’s chef, had originally planned to reopen his upscale restaurant at Rappahannock on May 15, according to the Washingtonian magazine. His plan was thwarted when the governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, announced May 9 that restaurants could again open but only for outdoor seating and 50% capacity. virginia restaurant uses mannequins virginia restaurant uses mannequins Photo: Pexels

Based on a government mandate, since the ritzy Michelin three-star restaurant does not have an outdoor dining area, it can only open in late May. The decision, however, did not dampen the mood of the 2019 James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award winner. O’Connell and his staff made plans to outfit half of the place with culinary crash test dummies until such time human patrons can again take their places after the pandemic.

Dining Dolls In 1940s Attire

The restaurant’s chef is banking on the notion that the 50% rule will eventually apply to indoor seating as well. O’Connell, who majored in drama while in college, also did not see anything wrong with adding a classic touch to the dining dolls. He plans to dress the mannequins in 1940s attire, thereby lending a stylish look to his restaurant.

The 74-year-old chef claims that as far as he knows, the location of his restaurant did not have any COVID-19 cases. He even told the Washingtonian about a friend who told him, “Patrick, after all these years, your location finally paid off,” as he claimed it was spared from the outbreak. To help make sure that his location remains coronavirus-free, he had his staffers scour the restaurant clean with infrared light. He also had specially-designed coronavirus masks made, which were modeled after George Washington and Marilyn Monroe for the use of restaurant personnel.

O'Connell expressed his belief that it would do people a whole lot of good to minimize their anxiety level when they come to a place that is still unaffected. In an interview with a local news outlet, he said: “…because if you watch your television, you think that there isn’t such a place under a bubble.”