German Cafe Enforces Social Distancing With Pool Noodles

The distinctive headgear of Cafe Rothe

Cafe Rothe
Cafe Rothe took a creative approach to social distancing.
Cafe Rothe
By Tobias Carroll / May 16, 2020 10:00 am

As businesses across the world begin to reopen, they’re adopting different measures to help keep their customers safe from COVID-19 infection. For some, that’s involved carefully marked areas where patrons can sit or stand; for others, it’s involved plastic dividers or mannequins to space people out.

One cafe in Germany is taking a slightly more surreal approach to social distancing, however. That would be Cafe Rothe, located in the town of Schwerin. CNN reports that visitors there are asked to don a very specific article of headgear when sitting down to eat. No, that doesn’t mean plastic shields or face masks — instead, patrons are asked to put on hats with pool noodles on them.

On the surface, this might sound strange, but thinking about it reveals the logic beneath this decision. After all, it is an easy way to visualize a radius around one’s body — something that’s a lot more difficult than it may seem. There’s also something wonderfully absurd about wearing something so bizarre. Might that be absurd enough to briefly remove fears of a pandemic? It just might.

The cafe’s owner, Jacqueline Rothe, told CNN that customers had been supportive. “”It was a perfect gag and of course it was funny, our customers were really into it,” Rothe said. The cafe is currently open at a reduced capacity as Germany endeavors to suppress COVID-19.

Curiously enough, this isn’t the only case of pool noodles being used to fight the coronavirus. Last month, a nurse practitioner in Las Vegas began making face masks using a number of unexpected items — a pool noodle among them. These are strange times we’re living in, but inventiveness rarely fails to inspire.

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