Social distancing is a term that, three months ago, nobody had ever heard of, yet now it’s suddenly all the rage, like Lotus Biscoff or salted caramel.

Up until now I’d be totally fine with it – save lives and all – but today, yes this very morning, it’s impacted me for the first time and I am livid.

My train back to London this weekend has been cancelled because there are too many reservations to properly social distance, so now I’ve got to rearrange for a slightly less convenient time. It’s almost as if my needs and wants aren’t of paramount importance to Virgin Trains – shocking customer service if you ask me.

Needless to say I’m being rather facetious, but the point remains: social distancing is a very real thing in our society these days.

Nay bother, as Fish Tales Bar & Grill in Ocean City, Maryland have come up with an ingenious solution to social distancing measures, essentially using big pool inflatables to prevent diners from getting too close.

The restaurant has teamed up with Revolution Event Design and Production to create the tables, which feature a hole in the middle for the customer to stand in and are surrounded by giant inner tubes.

It’s hardly up there with the iPhone as an invention, but it definitely has its uses.

Speaking to CNN, Shawn said:

I mean, it’s a novelty, it’s cool. It’s a great photo opportunity for them. If you put the two tables together, you can’t get within six feet of each other – and it’s fun.

The custom-made creations have been likened to bumper cars and people online are finding the novel invention pretty entertaining.

The owners plan to use the tables for customers who are waiting for tables or would normally sit at the bar.

The company also hopes to sell the tables to other restaurants, and rent them for events.

Shawn spoke about the extra measures the restaurant was taking as a result of the outbreak in a video online, saying:

We’ve taken this very seriously from the beginning, and we just want to let everyone know what we’ve done in the interim to make sure that everybody stays safe and Ocean City can stay open.

To be fair, they aren’t the first restaurant to try such a thing.

The Café Rothe in the city of Schwerin, in the state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany gave their customers pool noodle hats to enforce social distancing.

Jacqueline Rothe, owner of this particular cafe told German TV channel RTL:

In these difficult times it’s a pleasure to make others smile“.

Heute mal so ,, Abstandsnachvermessung“

Posted by Cafe & Konditorei Rothe on Saturday, 9 May 2020

Typical German engineering/ingenuity that.

Vorsprung durch noodle hat.

Images via Ruptly/CNN