Restaurants in Japan are navigating rough waters amid the COVID-19 pandemic, inspiring new ideas as they try to come up with ways to remain afloat.

As the virus spreads, more people are refraining from dining out, especially in big gatherings. This has led to cancellations of both welcome and farewell parties that are commonly held this time of year.

According to a report released on Thursday by TableCheck Inc., the average daily number of reservations this month at 4,347 establishments it surveyed plummeted 40 percent on the year. The bigger the group of diners, the more likely they were to drop their reservations. The percentage of reservations being cancelled was up about 3.6 times for groups of 10 or more, compared with early January before the outbreak, according to the restaurant reservation service provider.