This Michigan Restaurant Is Using Ghosts to Enforce Social Distancing


As more states make the (shortsighted) decision to reopen their restaurants for indoor dining, many have scrambled to retrofit their restaurants to both comply with state and local ordinances. Not only that, but they have to contend with a skeptical public who won’t automatically feel comfortable dining out just because the government has given the all-clear.

In order to help scare up some business during a challenging time, one Michigan restaurant figured adding a bit of Halloween-style flair to their dining room could be a spooky way to enforce social distancing. Specifically, Trattoria Pizzeria da Luigi in Royal Oak has divided its space into “guest seating” and “ghost seating.”

While Michigan’s current regulations limit restaurants to 50 percent of their usual capacity, owner Luigi Cutraro felt that simply removing half of the tables would make his restaurant look lonely and deserted. So that’s where a bunch of “ghosts” (aka anthropomorphized tablecloths draped over chairs) come in. The dearly departed diners mark every table that’s blocked off from guest use, making it clear where flesh and blood diners can safely be seated.

After months of closed doors and hardship, Cutraro felt the ghosting of his dining room was a fun way to welcome back guests at a weird time.“After what people have been through the last few months, we wanted to create an evening for our guests that was memorable, fun and relaxing,”  he told WXYZ Detroit. “They need it, they deserve it.”

While sitting next to some ghosts might be spooky, it’s not as scary as a possible second Covid-19 wave. Given the very real death toll of the virus so far, such a stunt could be misconstrued as a bit morbid. But hey, if we can’t enjoy a little gallows humor while enjoying a pizza or a plate of spaghetti, then what do we even have left?


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