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Toy bears brought in to enforce social distancing at Balham restaurant

PA Media logoPA Media 01/08/2020 By Max McLean, PA
Cuddly toy bears sit in seats at Tagine in Balham to enforce social distancing at the restaurant (Zizou Hammoudi) © Provided by PA Media Cuddly toy bears sit in seats at Tagine in Balham to enforce social distancing at the restaurant (Zizou Hammoudi)

A restaurant in Balham has engaged the services of 12 large toy bears to help enforce social distancing measures for diners.

Tagine, which serves north African cuisine in south London, reopened on July 4 after closing for months during the coronavirus pandemic.

a group of people sitting at a table with wine glasses: (Zizou Hammoudi) © Provided by PA Media (Zizou Hammoudi)

And to keep post-lockdown customers apart from one another, as well as to relax the diners, owner Zizou Hammoudi, 50, has seated a dozen ursine toys since he returned to business.

a bear that is sitting on a couch: (Zizou Hammoudi) © Provided by PA Media (Zizou Hammoudi)

“Let’s say there is a table where people cannot sit, I put the teddy bears there with a Moroccan hat as well,” Mr Hammoudi told the PA news agency.

“A lot of people that are coming in (ask) ‘can I have a table next to the teddy bears?’ People (are) stopping, taking pictures, it’s been great.”

a cat sitting on top of a table: (Zizou Hammoudi)

(Zizou Hammoudi)
© Provided by PA Media

Mr Hammoudi bought the 12 bears online before adding the hats himself, and said the bears are even encouraging children to talk about the pandemic.

“Kids, six, seven years old, they are telling each other that it is for distancing,” he said.

“Even the kids, they know about it. I’m so happy.”

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