The Michelin-starred restaurant is hoping to use the event to boost sales after tourism plummeted in the area due to the virus. Owner Karoly Gerendai said turnout is sitting at about a tenth of the restaurant’s pre-COVID levels.
The Ferris wheel idea, the restaurant hopes, will be enticing because it’s doable in a COVID-proof environment so people will feel safe.
“Now that there are not many people either on the wheel or in the restaurant because there are no tourists, the opportunity arose that we could do this,” he said of the event at the landmark attraction in central Budapest, according to Reuters. “It is now especially important for people to be able to be separate from other guests to be safe, and the Ferris wheel is ideal with its separate cabins.”
The Budapest Eye is located at the popular Erzsebet Square in the city center, and the current version of it opened in 2017, with a 65 meter height from the ground.
Tickets for the event cost around 48,000 forints, or $154.40, for a four-course meal. The tickets sold out within days of announcement. However, Gerendai wants to repeat the event when the weather gets warmer next year.
Hungary reported 46,290 COVID-19 cases as of Sunday (Oct. 19). There were 1,142 deaths, and the economy will likely contract around 5 to 7 percent for the year overall.
The restaurant sector responded with speed to the pandemic back in March, implementing new methods to help keep residents’ stomachs full. Those included drive-thrus and curbside pickup, which have been near-ubiquitous as ways for eateries to make money and will likely continue to be as the weather cools.
But other eateries have gone even further, putting in place things like pool noodles attached to patrons’ heads to maintain social distancing or special ‘doughnut hole’ tables where one sits in the middle of the table and is spaced out from other diners.