Restaurant Owner Replaces Patrons With Blow-Up Dolls

Restaurants that were buzzing with activity before the COVID-19 pandemic but went dead during coronavirus quarantine are now facing a new challenge: reopening with social distancing measures. Spacing tables 6 feet apart (or leaving adjacent booths unoccupied) will be the new norm for many venues, making dining rooms feeling oddly empty.

One South Carolina restaurant, however, is filling in the gaps in an unusual way: with blow-up dolls. Open Hearth has amassed a collection of 10 inflatable people; donned them in wigs, accessories, and hand-me-down finery; and strategically spaced them throughout the restaurant.

Lest any diners get the wrong idea about what the dolls are there for, owner Paula Starr Melehes says they’re the “G-rated kind” from Amazon. (Meaning, um, no holes.) “My grandson told me they look kind of creepy,” Melehes said to local TV news station WYFF. “But, I think, when people walk in, they’re going to laugh.”

Diners have already gotten a kick out of the faux patrons, taking photos with them to post on social media. Let’s just hope no perv gets too handsy.

Cover Photo: WYFF

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