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Tempting back the terrified: shops and restaurants try to reassure customers

A rotating conveyor belt that allows customers to help themselves to food and avoid contact with staff might seem the ideal set-up for a restaurant trying to operate under social distancing rules.

But Richard Hodgson, chief executive of the Yo! Sushi chain, said he would not reopen a single outlet until he could be sure diners would return. “Irrespective of what restrictions are lifted, we need to see what the customer sentiment is,” he said. “When you see someone in a face mask and perspex screens, it reminds you that there is a risk.”

While authorities on both sides of the Atlantic are beginning to loosen lockdowns, companies at the sharp end of dealing with the public know it will take more than changes in government advice to get business going again.


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