Hey, it kinda worked for sweaty yoga classes — why wouldn’t it work for casual French dining, too?
A French bistro in New York City has installed 18 plastic tents, or “space bubbles” as they’re being called, to help keep outdoor diners warm during the colder months while still maintaining proper social distancing amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Café du Soleil on Manhattan’s Upper West Side debuted the “space bubbles” a few weeks back, before New York City approved a plan to partially reopen indoor dining at 25% capacity as of Sept. 30, Time Out New York reported.
But now, 18 of the bubbles sit on the sidewalk outside Café du Soleil, and the management is looking to keep them there beyond Sept. 30.
“To survive the winter is very complicated,” said Maxime Rousselot, managing partner of Café du Soleil, in a statement to Time Out. “We’ll try to have them as long as possible.”
Nadine Chevreux, owner of Café du Soleil, told the West Side Rag that the bubbles are really popular with diners too.
“People want their bubbles,” said Chevreux, whose husband ordered the tents off the Internet. “They actually ask for them, even if it’s not raining. Would you believe that?”
It should be noted that a similar idea, which briefly debuted at a restaurant in San Francisco, was deemed inappropriate by public health officials. Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant Hashiri, located in the city’s SoMa district, was ordered to remove its three geodesic domes as they didn’t allow for “adequate air flow.”
Chevreux doesn’t appear to be concerned, telling the West Side Rag that each dome has “openings on both sides, so they’re not enclosed.” She admitted, however, that her restaurant, like others, is “at the mercy of what the City of New York decides” for eateries.
Cafe du Soleil, pictured sans-bubbles in 2019, had originally opened in 2005.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced earlier this month that New York City restaurants may open for indoor dining at 25% capacity beginning Sept. 30. The announcement, which comes with a laundry list of regulations on how dining rooms may be reopened, came after restaurant owners warned of layoffs and closures with colder weather on the horizon.
Fox Business’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.