Pool Noodle Hats Are the New Way to Enforce Physical Distancing in Germany

The straw hats were created as a gag but they are proving to be very popular on social media.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Physical distancing is crucial during these trying COVID-19 times but it isn't always easy to apply. Indeed, how do you find the exact distance to stay at and how do you know when far enough is enough?


One German cafe found an original solution to this dilemma: hats with pool noodles on them. Yes, you read that right.

Cafe Rothe in Schwerin had a grand reopening last Saturday and to ensure everyone respected social distancing rules they handed out straw hats that kept people away from each other using pool noodles. Okay, the hats were more of a prank, owner Jaqueline Rothe explained to CNN but the gag sure drew a lot of attention.

"This was the perfect method to keep customers apart -- and a fun one," Rothe told CNN, adding that the idea actually came from local TV company RTL which was filming the reopening of cafes and restaurants.

"It was a perfect gag and of course it was funny, our customers were really into it. But what it did show to us (was) how difficult it is to keep a distance of 1.5 meters (4.9 feet)."

Rothe further explained that during the lockdown she maintained the cafe open but did not serve customers inside. Now, after restrictions have eased in Germany, she reopened fully but is using less than half of her seating capacity.

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"We will see what to expect when Germany opens up further, more people are allowed to travel and we have more tourists coming in the next few weeks, we will take it as it comes," said Rothe.

The pool noodle hats grew in popularity as media around the world started sharing the picture Rothe shared on Facebook. "Today it's like this: distance measurement," she wrote in the picture's caption in German, illustrating exactly what the noodles were being used for.

It's good to see that people can maintain their humor in the time of COVID-19.

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