German restaurant bears out pandemic with furry customers


FILE PHOTO: Italian restaurant owner Giuseppe "Pino" Fichera holds a fluffy toy panda bear as part of the art installation "Panda mie" at his restaurant to raise awareness of the COVID-19 lockdown's business impact on gastronomy in Frankfurt, Germany, November 24, 2020. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The owner of a Frankfurt restaurant is staging a protest against the coronavirus lockdown in Germany by filling his tables with a hundred stuffed toy pandas, in a play on the word "pandemic".

German officials are expected on Wednesday to agree to extend until Dec. 20 a "lockdown light" they imposed on Nov. 2 that means bars, restaurants and entertainment venues must stay closed, while shops and schools can remain open.

"We wanted to put some life back into our restaurant," said Guiseppe Fichera, manager of restaurant Pino. "They are Panda-Mic pandas."

The pandas are seated at the restaurant's tables and propped up at the bar, some with bottles of Corona beer.

"It is a silent protest. An offer to our guests," Fichera said, adding he would keep the lights on all day and night as long as the lockdown lasts so passersby can enjoy the display.

The German government has said it will extend financial aid for firms hit by the restrictions, which, according to sources, could add up to 20 billion euros ($23.81 billion) in December, in addition to an estimated 10-15 billion in November.

(Reporting by Andreas Buerger; Writing by Emma Thomasson,; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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