SC restaurant seats blow-up dolls to maintain social distancing

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Owner Paula Starr Melehes used blow-up dolls to make the Open Hearth restaurant in Taylors, South Carolina, look as full as it could while still observing social distancing restrictions. (Photo: WYFF/CNN)

TAYLORS, SC (WYFF/CNN) – A South Carolina resturant used blow-up dolls to make the dining room look full, despite social distancing regulations due to COVID-19, as diners returned in person.

At their Tuesday night reopening, the owners of the Open Hearth restaurant in Taylors, South Carolina, greeted diners and sat them next to a couple of blow-up dolls.

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Owner Paula Starr Melehes says they wanted to make the restaurant look as full as it could while still observing social distancing restrictions implemented over the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, she ordered 10 blow-up dolls – “the G-rated kind” – from Amazon for about $140.

The five couples are dressed in hand-me down clothes and weighted down, so they don’t shift. They are seated at all of the tables that won’t be occupied by real customers.

Instead of using scary, yellow tape or roping off the empty tables, I thought, ‘We’re going to make this restaurant look full,'” Melehes said. “They are very humorous, and they have nice faces. The ladies have pretty makeup on, and the wigs were gifts from different people.”

Diners are having fun with the dolls, some getting pictures with them and posting on social media.

Read more here.