As soon as he’s allowed to reopen for business, the owner of a coffee shop in Worcester, England, is planning to divide up his dining area with shower curtains in an effort to keep his customers safe from the spread of coronavirus.
“They are truly the heart of our coffee shop and we want to ensure they feel safe and loved, so we made a few changes,” explained Francini Osorio, the owner of the Café de Colombia, according to a statement obtained by news agency South West News Service (SWNS.)
Osorio, who emigrated to England 33 years ago, admitted that his staff may find it awkward to operate with the shower curtains in place, but he believes it’s the best option at the moment.
“I know it’s a little bit weird to come into a cafe full of shower curtains because we are not used to that type of environment,” he said. “But the way things are, I don’t know what else to do. I have been worrying like every business person in town, and I’m sure around the planet.”
In addition to the curtains, Osorio explained that his staff will disinfect all tables between guests, and block off any tables that had been used within the last 15 minutes. He’s also purchased air purifiers for the dining room, claiming that the particular models he bought will filter out 99 percent of particles in the air.
“I can’t guarantee its effectiveness,” he told SWNS. “I didn’t make the machine, I only bought it, but it is designed to do that. It’s used in hospitals so it is not new and it has been around a while. I thought it would be a good idea to have an extra bit of help with the curtains.”
In total, Osorio said he spent over 2,000 pounds (or more than $2,400) on his curtains and air purifiers.
Osorio added that he hopes the U.K. government will soon relax its social-distancing mandates for restaurant operators, and once again allow for dine-in operations. As it stands, take-out and delivery options in England are allowed (with restrictions), but the U.K. government has said in-person dining will not be possible until at least July, according to The Telegraph.
“If we don’t have [our] customers, we don’t have a business,” Osorio said. “And if we don’t have a business, we won’t have anything in this country.
“But we believe we are very creative, we are survivors. We are doing all we can to stay in operation.”
Meanwhile, Osorio isn’t the only food-service operator with big ideas for separating diners via see-through partitions: A restaurant in the Netherlands was recently experimenting with housing groups of diners in their own individual greenhouses.