Thai cafe serves coffee on wheels to maintain social distance

Slideshow ( 5 images )

BANGKOK (Reuters) - A cafe in Thailand has started using a pulley system to serve coffee on wheels as coronavirus infections force businesses to practice social distancing.

Thailand has reported more than 300 coronavirus cases since January, but more than half were found this week alone, heightening fears of contracting the disease through physical contact.

To beat the fear, Art of Coffee in Bangkok has installed a rope and pulley system to serve drinks at a one-meter (three-foot) distance to limit contact between staff and customers.

“I took this idea from social distancing in China. We heard that it works in curbing the outbreak of the disease and preventing new infections,” said Apirak Chamraksin, the cafe’s 39-year-old owner.

The shop has also put up a sign saying it prefers electronic payments rather than cash, so staff do not have to handle notes and coins. Many believe some of Thailand’s earlier cases contracted the virus via banknotes received from infected tourists.

On the other end of the counter, customer Nopparattorn Promkaew waited as a cart carrying his iced coffee was pulled towards him. A bottle of hand sanitizer was placed nearby.

He welcomed the initiative because the distance helped eliminate physical contact, even though the shop’s staff already wear face masks and rubber gloves.

“At first, I was a little worried about physical contact with others. But after seeing what the cafe did, I think they pay attention to customers’ concerns. I’m very happy about it,” he said.

Writing by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Giles Elgood