An upscale bakery in Mexico City’s Polanco district is reminding customers about social distancing by seating giant teddy bears at certain tables.
Isabel Méndez of Jaso Bakery says the stuffed animals interspersed throughout the eatery make for a cheerful and friendly way to enforce health protocols that is aligned with Jaso’s menu of croissants, macaroons and other sweet treats in addition to the savory lunch fare it offers.
Instead of placing signs on unavailable tables, “we decided to place the bears so the healthy distance was not so ugly,” Méndez explained, adding that customers actually enjoy eating among giant stuffed bears.
Passersby have stopped to take photos, and children often drag their parents inside for a closer look.
“By far the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in weeks. Thank you @jasobakery for this action, what a good way to encourage a return to shops. Outdoor restaurants are one of the best security measures against Covid-19,” read one of the comments posted to the bakery’s Instagram page, where photos of the large bears posed with a glass of wine or in front of a plate of pancakes abound.
The practice is similar to what other dining establishments are doing around the globe as they search for friendly ways to ensure health protocols are adhered to.
The three-Michelin-starred Inn at Little Washington in Virginia has placed elegantly dressed, mid-century mannequins at tables that otherwise need to remain empty, and around Paris, several cafes and theaters have used stuffed animals to help clients respect social distance measures.
At Jaso, some clients are as much attracted to the bears as they are the food. “I came for the bears. I still have the one from my childhood more than 70 years ago,” a client said. Another bakery guest commented that “the bears make the place not look so sad and are useful to respect the distance. An excellent decision.”
Although the life-sized teddy bears may be for sale in the future, the bakery says, for now they are there to put smiles on Jaso’s customers’ faces and serve as a plush, pandemic protocol distraction.