Business / Corporate

Japan izakaya chains to temporarily close amid coronavirus crisis

JIJI

Japanese izakaya dining bar chains Kushikatsu Tanaka Holdings Co. and Torikizoku Co. said Thursday they will temporarily close many outlets from Saturday to April 12 due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Kushikatsu Tanaka, which serves kushikatsu deep-fried skewered meat and vegetables, will suspend operations at all of its 116 directly operated bars. The company will also recommend some 170 franchise outlets to do the same.

Kushikatsu Tanaka had planned to stop regular daytime operations at some outlets from Thursday and start takeout services instead, in response to the spread of COVID-19. But the company scrapped the plan.

“We’ve judged it appropriate to temporarily close outlets given the risk arising from contact between workers and customers,” a public relations official said.

Torikizoku, whose pubs offer yakitori chicken skewers, will close all its 394 directly run outlets.

The company sees the risk of spreading infections through the outlets, located mainly in the densely populated huge urban areas of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.

Torikizoku has some 250 franchise stores. Some franchise store owners have decided to close their stores earlier than usual or temporarily halt operations.

Warning of a possible explosive increase in coronavirus infections, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike has asked residents to stop visiting bars, nightclubs and other nightspots, where infection risks are considered high.

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