As the nation’s restaurants and bars slowly open up after the lifting of measures against the new coronavirus, many are looking to reassure the public that dining out is safe again and one izakaya pub thinks it has found the perfect solution.
The pub, located in Tokyo’s normally bustling Shinjuku district, has installed a machine that sprays customers with hypochlorous acid water as they enter.
Customers are first greeted by a hostess — on a monitor, of course — who instructs them to disinfect their hands and check their temperature with a provided thermometer.
They then step into a machine that looks like an airport security scanner, or a car-wash for humans, to get sprayed with a fine mist of the chlorine-based disinfectant for 30 seconds.
Customers then pick up a map that guides them to their seat, where they order with smartphones.
Throughout the process they have not come into contact with a single person.
“We wanted to develop a system that is in accordance with the new lifestyle and … a model that could prevent infection,” said the president of Kichiri&Co Ltd., the group that owns the pub.
“It’s still an experiment, but once we develop the system we want to share the know-how at each of our restaurants.”
A clear acrylic screen is set up between each diner to further minimize the risk of infection.
“I feel safe,” said one woman customer who didn’t want to be identified. “But being in there for 30 seconds was a bit long. I was like, when will this be over,” she added.
The spraying booths cost more than ¥700,000 ($6,493). The group has installed a second at a pub in Osaka city, where the government is expected to lift the state of emergency over the new coronavirus on Thursday. It remains in place in Tokyo.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.
Your news needs your support
Since the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, The Japan Times has been providing free access to crucial news on the impact of the novel coronavirus as well as practical information about how to cope with the pandemic. Please consider subscribing today so we can continue offering you up-to-date, in-depth news about Japan.