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A Virginia restaurant chef is no dummy. When his business reopens in a few weeks, he will be using mannequins to ensure social distancing.

As the state begins to ease its coronavirus restrictions, restaurants will be allowed to open, but only at 50% capacity. So, the chef at The Inn at Little Washington came up with a plan to make the restaurant look full when business resumes May 29.

There will be social distancing, but the otherwise empty tables at the restaurant in Rappahannock County, located nearly 70 miles west of Washington, D.C., will be filled with mannequins, Washingtonian reported.


Chef Patrick O’Connell worked with the Signature Theatre to gather mannequins decked out in 1940s-style clothing, the magazine reported. The smartly dressed mannequins will be seated at tables throughout the dining room.

Movie fans will recall the scene in “Home Alone 2,” when Kevin held a holiday party with mannequins and life-size cardboard cutouts to make would-be burglars believe the house was full.

The Little Inn at Washington will use a more elegant touch, Servers will interact with the mannequins, including pouring wine — most likely the house brand, since the restaurant’s wine list can get rather pricey.

“I think it would do people a world of good to reduce their anxiety level when they come out to a place which is still unaffected, because if you watch your television, you think that there isn’t such a place under a bubble,” O’Connell told Washingtonian.