Noma said it would reopen from lunchtime on 21 May with an outdoor wine bar in its gardens in Copenhagen.
Guests won’t need reservations and will be able to order cheeseburgers and veggie burgers, said the two-Michelin-star restaurant that has been named several times as the world’s best.
A full reopening is being planned for a later date, but Noma’s move is one example of how restaurants and cafes in several countries have begun the tentative process of unlocking their doors in the coronavirus era – albeit many have continued to offer takeaway orders during lockdown.
‘We feel in the first phase of the reopening that we want to be open for all,’ said Noma chef and co-owner René Redzepi in an Instagram post this week. ‘We need to heal, so let’s have a glass and a burger, you’re all invited.’
Noma said its outdoor wine bar would be open from Thursday to Sunday between 1pm and 9pm, with takeaway orders also available.
It added, ‘Ensuring the health and safety of our guests and staff is of the utmost importance, so we will be following all guidelines and requirements from our government.’
Alongside Denmark, some restaurants and cafés have started to reopen their outside terraces in Italy and Germany, while authorities in Spain and Greece have talked up the possibility of a summer tourist season.
However, travel restrictions and warnings against non-essential travel remain in place in many countries, and the easing of lockdown restrictions is contingent on the avoidance of a second wave of Covid-19 cases.
In France, restaurants and cafes were set to remain closed until at least 2 June, and the UK government has suggested that some restaurants may reopen in July.
In the US, the National Restaurant Association has issued guidance on how members may begin to open their doors once more, while respecting hygiene controls and social distancing measures.
It estimated that eight million restaurant employees had either lost their jobs or been furloughed across the US during the Covid crisis.
Some research has suggested diners were split on whether to return to restaurants.
A survey of 2,000 wine drinkers in the US, commissioned by Wine Intelligence, found that ‘around 40% said they would be less likely to visit a restaurant, while 27% said they would be more likely’.
It said younger consumers were more likely to return.
In the UK, a survey of 1,000 wine drinkers found that ‘around 30% said they would be less likely to visit a restaurant, while 21% said they would be more likely’, said Wine Intelligence last week.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade body UK Hospitality, said reopening venues would require in-depth planning with government officials. ‘There is no one-size-fits-all approach,’ she said.