Social distancing is a term that has become common since the coronavirus pandemic. It means keeping away from another person. Sometimes it is difficult for even grown-ups to understand what is meant by social distancing, so for children it must really be tough to understand what it means and why it is so necessary.

Why do we need social distancing? Let us make the situation simple by talking about good guys, bad guys, superheroes and villains. The coronavirus, or germs, can be the villains we are trying to fight. The superheroes can be the doctors, nurses and medical staff that are helping people get better once they have fallen sick. The bad guys can be people who don’t follow the safety instructions they are being given and, of course, the good guys are all the people who follow the safety rules and prevent the germs from making them as well as others sick.

Waiters in Belgium greet customers with face masks printed with their images
Waiters in Belgium greet customers with face masks printed with their images

When the bad guys don’t follow the rules of wearing masks and keeping a distance between them and other people, they are playing an active role in participating in the spread of the virus and making people sick.

We are all working together to stop coronavirus from spreading. The best part is that the germs of this infection can’t jump very far, so if we stay far enough from people, then the germs can’t reach us and make us sick.

We have to maintain a distance of at least three feet between ourselves and other people so that we do not come in contact with the coronavirus germ and does not get into our bodies through our mouth, nose, ears and eyes. So the new rules are no hugging, no holding hands and no touching. No touching anything for that matter, as much as you can avoid it, so that the germs don’t get into your space and your system. It is just not weird and different for just us. The friend living in another country and the cousin in another city, all of them and all of us are going through the same new set of rules to follow.

A robot delivers food at a fried chicken restaurant in Moscow
A robot delivers food at a fried chicken restaurant in Moscow

It is not going to be like this forever. It is just for some time until a vaccine is found for the Covid-19 virus and then we can all be vaccinated and safe from the disease. Scientists are working on finding the right medicines and vaccines while doctors and healthcare workers are also learning to tackle the situation in a new way.

Almost everybody in every field of work is trying to think of new ways to do things that can help people stay safe and protected from the virus, but still be able to achieve what they want.

One thing we all miss doing is going out to eat with our families and friends. It won’t be long before the day will come when we will be able to eat out again, but we may have to adopt some new rules in order to stay protected and safe.

Toy pandas sit with dinners
Toy pandas sit with dinners

For a few months now, in so many countries around the world, including ours, people have not been able go out to eat in cafes and restaurants because being in a closed space with lots of people sitting close to each other can really spread the coronavirus infection. So restaurant managements all over the world decided to think about creative ideas on how to get people to come and dine in and still stay safe. This could only be possible if social distancing could be maintained. A German cafe has invented social-distancing noodle hats. They make sure that people don’t break distancing guidelines by making their customers wear hats with foam noodles attached to the hat. When two people wear those hats, they can’t possibly get closer than three-feet between them. Before opening up, the restaurant owner asked their clients if they would wear hats to keep social distance and a lot of people responded by agreeing to their creative idea.

Maison Saigon, a Vietnamese restaurant in Bangkok, has used another unique idea to attract business under the current social distancing guideline. This restaurant seats diners alongside furry toy pandas as a way to help customers ensure a distance of at least three feet from others in a fun, relaxed way.

The pandas became such a hit that people have been reserving tables just to sit with these adorable toy pandas. It sure is a better thing than to eat alone.

Glass greenhouses, Amsterdam
Glass greenhouses, Amsterdam

A bar in Maryland, US, has designed wearable tube tables for their customers to put on in order to social distance safely. The tables are designed so that they can be worn around the body and it features leg stands with wheels for moving about. It also has a rubber bumper that allows the wearer to keep at least six feet distance from others.

A burger café in Germany has introduced another fun, new safety measure. These are social-distance crowns. Every customer who wishes to eat a burger has to wear a crown which ensures that two people who are wearing the crowns will stay three feet apart and if they try to get any closer, their crowns will bump into each other.

Then there is this restaurant in Amsterdam, Netherlands, which has cleverly designed and built a number of glass quarantine greenhouses. These are placed along the edge of a canal and allow two or three diners to safely social distance from others, and enjoy their meal in a beautiful environment created with greenery and flowing water.

Every customer at this burger joint has to wear a crown
Every customer at this burger joint has to wear a crown

Diners can still enjoy the view of the Golden Horn estuary in Istanbul, Turkey, while they eat their meal inside a specially constructed dome to maintain social distancing. The domes at the restaurant are of various sizes and allow couples, families and friends to enjoy dinner without having to interact with other guests.

In a fried chicken restaurant in Moscow, the guests order their meals from a touch screen. Their food is prepared in the back kitchen and sent out on a conveyor belt where a robot delivers it to the diner.

Social-distancing noodle hats at a German cafe
Social-distancing noodle hats at a German cafe

In a restaurant in Belgium, customers were greeted by waiters and waitresses who wore face masks printed with images of themselves smiling away. The idea was to cheer up the long-awaited diners and greet them with a smile and still be able to serve food in a safe way by wearing a mask.

Can you think of other interesting ways to maintain social distancing? If you can, you might just be allowed to have your own little party at home!

Published in Dawn, Young World, June 27th, 2020