Balham restaurant deploys Fez-wearing bears to enforce social distancing rules

1 August 2020, 17:56 | Updated: 1 August 2020, 21:45

The bears are being used to ensure social distancing is followed
The bears are being used to ensure social distancing is followed. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

A dozen Fez-wearing bears have been deployed to ensure social distancing measures are obeyed at a restaurant in south London.

Tagine, which serves north African cuisine in Balham, was forced to close its doors during the height of the coronavirus lockdown, but reopened on the 4 July to a number of hungry customers.

Owner Zizou Hammoudi, 50, has been keen to ensure his staff and patrons are safe and feel at ease with the new rules, and so has hired some new helpers.

The 12 giant teddy bears who have now taken up residence in the dining chairs are a hit with diners.

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"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 said.

"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."

The owner has used a novel idea to fill up the seats in his restaurant
The owner has used a novel idea to fill up the seats in his restaurant. Picture: PA

Mr Hammoudi bought the 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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