Last Saturday, owners of Café Rothe in Schwerin – a city in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, German Chancellor Angela Merkel – were allowed to reopen their doors to visitors after restrictions on coronaviruses were lifted.
While people appreciated the company and the weather, the motto of the coffee was: “Keep the social distance”.
Rather than using floor markings and Plexiglas screens to separate people, the owners of the cafe distributed straw hats with two colorful swimming noodles attached to the top.
To mark the occasion, owner Jaqueline Rothe posted a photo on the café’s Facebook page showing customers sitting at tables with their new headgear.
“Today is how it is: distance measurement,” she wrote in the caption.
Rothe, 52, told CNN that many happy customers have gathered at the cafe for coffee, cake or beer in the sun.
“It was the perfect method for separating customers – and a fun method,” she said, explaining that local TV station RTL, which was filming the reopening of cafes and restaurants, got the idea.
“It was a perfect gag and of course it was funny, our customers were really in it. But what it showed us (it was) how difficult it is to keep a distance of 1.5 meters (4, 9 feet), “said Rothe, who said she was surprised by the attention the media had given to her photo.
The cafe and confectionery typically have 36 tables inside and 20 outside in hot weather, said Rothe.
“But with the new hygiene and social distancing measures, we only have 12 tables inside and only eight outside,” she said, adding that the pre-coronavirus tables would be spaced about 80 cm (31.5 inches).
During the closure, the cafe remained open but could not serve customers inside. Now it uses less than half of its capacity.
“We will see what to expect when Germany opens up more, more people are allowed to travel and more tourists arrive in the coming weeks, we will take it as it turns out,” said Rothe.
Germany lifted some restrictions on coronaviruses after Chancellor Merkel said the country is out of the first phase of the pandemic.
However, Merkel warned that Germany would risk a new spike in infections if people stopped adhering to physical distancing measures.