Uncanny valley: News from around the world

While the European Union is already cautiously planning to open up its nations to tourists, a California street was taken over by a herd of 200 goats.
Greek state school teachers and students, wearing masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, protest in Athens. (Photo| AP)
Greek state school teachers and students, wearing masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, protest in Athens. (Photo| AP)

The Morning Standard takes a look at some of the stranger news stories from around the world, as people, places, animals, things come to grips with COVID-19.

La Dolce Vita?

Even as airlines, cruise ships and travel companies, are struggling to stay afloat in the current Covid-19 crisis, the European Union is already cautiously planning to open up its nations to tourists, even if the pandemic continues into coming years.

Smaller nations like Greece and Croatia, which avoided the widespread infections that spread through their larger, western counterparts, are cautiously optimistic of opening their borders to international arrivals between May-end and the first fortnight of June, while badly hit nations like Italy and Spain, which imposed some of the strictest lockdowns in the EU, will also be opening their famous museums, restaurants, and bars over the next few weeks, while maintaining rigourous social distancing and quarantining arrivals that seem at risk. While the tourist numbers are expected to be low, those at low risk and with a fondness for taking some time off can have themselves a Roman holiday.

Dining for Dummies

Among the restaurants opening up all over the US during the end of May, is the three Michelin-starred The Inn at Little Washington, located in Washington DC, which will be making sure that it’s following the new 50 per cent occupancy limits (for social distancing), by filling the restaurant with diners. Except, half those diners are dummies.

Each alternate table will be filled with mannequins, posing as couples dressed in vintage 1940’s attire to evoke a sense of celebration (a la post-World War II). "I’ve always had a thing for mannequins –they never complain about anything and you can have lots of fun dressing them up," chef and proprietor Patrick O’Connell said in a statement, adding "We’re all craving to gather and see other people right now. They don’t all necessarily need to be real people."

Herd Immunity

While HBO’s Game of Thrones might have ended, the real world is going through its own dystopian fantasy. While the ongoing global pandemic has made us almost immune to shocking news, the people living a in a California neighbourhood had their ennui shattered when their street was taken over by a herd of 200 goats on Tuesday evening.

Zach Roelands, a resident of San Jose, California, filmed and posted a video, on Twitter, of the goats swarming the neighbourhood. The post has garnered close to four million views in less than 48 hours (at the time of writing this), with the footage showing semi-panicking homeowners and passersby hastily getting out of the way of the goat horde.

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