Robert: St. John’s restaurant using mannequins to fill empty tables

While restaurants are now able to open their doors once again, it’s not exactly “back to business.”

With the threat of COVID-19 still very much present, restaurants and other food establishments are required to lower their seating capacity as to better promote physical distancing. Exile at JAG is dealing with this “new normal” by attempting to make things feel a little more normal.

After seeing stories of restaurants filling their empty tables with everything from stuffed animals to cardboard cutouts, John Steele, President of Steele Hotels, decided to bring the unique concept to Newfoundland. Hungry patrons who drop by Exile at the JAG Hotel in Downtown St. John’s will now be seated among mannequins mimicking the restaurant experience.

“It’s a way to have social distancing while making the restaurant more full than it actually is,” said Steele.

The mannequins take up what would otherwise be empty space, and each has been dressed by local designer Mandy Lee Dawe.

“We dressed each mannequin to bring a little fun and life to the place,” Dawe says. “People have been taking selfies with them. It’s a grand laugh.”

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