Social distancing gets creative

There’s no way around it – the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a total wrench into the travel, hospitality and entertainment industries! However, many businesses and travelers alike are coming up with creative ways to stay both open and safe. Following is a list of some of our favorite tactics. (Hint: Most of these involved people being outside and maintaining social distance guidelines, including wearing masks!)

Note: COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory illness that can lead to severe illness or even death, particularly in individuals with certain pre-existing conditions and/or are 65 and older. An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any place where people are gathered. There is currently no known cure.

  • Outdoor entertainment. Pop-up drive-in movie theaters are thriving, as are outdoor comedy shows, theater and concerts! Perhaps our favorite example comes from England’s Virgin Money Unity Arena, a pop-up venue that organized an outdoor concert in August for more than 2,000 people. Platforms were placed 6 feet apart throughout a park for small groups of people to be seated and watch.
  • Mannequins and cardboard cutouts. The restaurant industry has been hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions, and many restaurants are still scrambling to keep up with the ever-changing regulations surrounding in-house dining. While we’ve mostly seen signs placed on tables to signal they’re “off limits” due to social distancing, some restaurants are maintaining the illusion of a full dining room with everything from cardboard cutouts to mannequins. In fact, one South Carolina restaurant got a little cheeky – literally – by seating (fully dressed) blow-up dolls at tables.
  • Seat dividers. The good news is that plane tickets are really inexpensive right now! The bad news is it’s because most people are avoiding in-flight travel due to the pandemic. While different airlines have different policies regarding social distancing, a 2019 invention may become more commonplace, even after this pandemic is well behind us. The Interspace Lite is a middle seat divider which provides a barrier and privacy between the window and aisle seats. The original idea was that you won’t have the feeling of a stranger being right next to you so you could sleep more easily … we’ll take both privacy and an extra barrier every day of the week!
  • Drive-thrus. Any sort of public event brings a risk of exposure to COVID-19, so some events and places are going one step further … you don’t even need to get out of your CAR. The San Antonio Zoo is offering “Drive Thru Zoo,” complete with an audio tour and optional stops at the snack bar. Jurassic Quest is also bringing their drive-thru dinosaur experience to cities with the same concept.

While we love all of the virtual entertainment options that can be enjoyed from our homes, it’s also great to see adaptations being made so when we do venture outside, we can do so in relative comfort!

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