Ordering take-out and watching virtual concerts at home may have been novel at the beginning of coronavirus lockdowns. But people are anxious to live life outside their houses once again. However, even though some countries are slowly reopening and lifting restrictions, life can’t immediately go back to normal.
Because it’s still crucial to maintain social-distancing measures to prevent new outbreaks of COVID-19 in the future, restaurateurs and musicians have come up with some seriously creative ways to feed and entertain people—from a safe distance. Here’s what the future of dining and entertainment could look like.
Tiny greenhouse “dining rooms”
In late April, Mediamatic ETEN, a waterfront restaurant in Amsterdam, began serving meals in five little greenhouses set up outside its main dining room. They’ve been dubbed Serres Séparées—or separate greenhouses—after the French concept of chambre séparées (separate or private dining rooms). Each greenhouse is large enough to accommodate up to three diners at a time and they’re only for people who are already living together.
To protect its staff, Mediamatic is having its waiters wear face shields and gloves and serve food on long wooden planks to maintain a safe distance from diners. Since restaurants in the Netherlands won’t reopen to the public until at least May 19, the test dinners at Mediamatic have only been for friends and family of the restaurant so far. However, reservations for the greenhouses are completely sold out through the end of June.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Mads Langer (@madslanger) on Apr 24, 2020 at 10:53am PDT
Not too far away in Europe, the Danish singer-songwriter Mads Langer made headlines earlier this month for hosting a drive-in concert in Aarhus, Denmark, in late April. Two thousand people inside 500 cars ended up attending the concert, which sold out in minutes after tickets went on sale just three days before it took place. To hear the concert safely from inside their cars, concertgoers tuned into a designated FM radio station. They were also able to request songs through a Zoom conference call set up and broadcast through the big screen on the stage, Langer wrote on the music website, NME.
“In the end, the gig was nothing like I expected,” Langer said. “Concerts can be intimate but not this intimate. It ended up being a conversation with people. That’s something that I’ll never forget.”
Denmark isn’t the only place drive-in concerts are happening. Already, a drive-in rave took place in a club’s parking lot on April 30 in the German town of Schüttorf, while Seattle rapper Raz Simone drew around 30 cars to the Seattle Center parking lot on May 9 for an unpermitted show. On June 11, EDM artist Marc Rebillet will kick off a U.S. drive-through concert tour that will be held at drive-in movie theaters.
Live Nation Entertainment, which owns the ticketing company Ticketmaster, says it will also test drive-in concerts, along with crowdless broadcasted shows and reduced capacity festival shows over the summer.
Of course, drive-in theaters are also being used to show movies while major movie theater chains like AMC, Regal, and Cinemark remain closed throughout the United States. In addition to releasing its new horror movie The Wretched digitally, IFC Films also distributed it to drive-in theaters starting May 1.
Tribeca Enterprises, the parent company of the Tribeca Film Festival, recently unveiled its new “Tribeca Drive-In” series that will launch on June 25 at drive-in theaters and other venues across the United States. The series will include a mix of new films as well as classics, plus special music and sports events. The lineup and information on where to get tickets will be announced in the coming weeks.