Diners in a Maryland beach town are bouncing back into eating out amid the coronavirus pandemic with a little help from inflatable inner tubes on wheels.
About a dozen of the so-called “bumper tables” were rolled out at Fish Tales, a restaurant in Ocean City, Maryland, on Saturday.
The inflated tube tables were created by Baltimore company Revolution Event Design & Production to allow people to practice social distancing while eating and talking in outdoor settings.
The devices on wheels have cupholders and let people eat, drink or socialize while maintaining a 6-foot distance from each other.
“We wanted to come up with a creative and fun way to keep everyone safe and compliant, but still bring back the social and festive and party aspect of the event,” Erin Cermak, the CEO of Revolution Event Design & Production, told The Baltimore Sun.
Shawn Harman, the owner of Fish Tales, said he and his wife purchased 10 bumper tables from Cermak’s company. Harman said he plans to order 40 more tables so customers can enjoy their food and remain distanced while dining in the restaurant’s parking lot.
“If you come in to get a pound of shrimp and a beer, you can stand in one of these and walk around and look at things and talk to people,” Harman said. He said the reception to the bumper tables was positive when his family and friends took them out for a trial run outside his restaurant Saturday.
“There are other restaurants in other parts of the country that have contacted us to get information to order them,” Harman said.
Cermak, who is the cousin of Harman’s wife, told the Sun that many restaurants, cafes and even a sports franchise have contacted her to inquire about the bumper tables. She said her company can customize them for businesses and also rent them out by the day.
The company is advertising other “COVID-19 event solutions” including pillows that say, “Due to social distancing concerns please do not sit here.”