National

Osaka izakaya woos virus-wary drinkers with face shields

Kyodo

A Japanese-style izakaya pub in Osaka has started distributing free face shields for use by its customers, in the hope of regaining drinkers after the state of emergency, over the novel coronavirus, was lifted last week.

The izakaya offering hot-pot dishes in Chuo Ward, Osaka, began the initiative on Monday. The transparent face shields protect against droplets while face-to-face socializing, and allow customers to enjoy drinking safely.

“I think it is a good idea. It’s one way to enrich the new lifestyle” that people need to adopt to prevent the coronavirus from spreading widely again, said a female customer in her 30s who sipped whisky and soda through a straw while wearing the face shield.

In Osaka, the state of emergency that had been in place since April 7 was lifted last Thursday, leading to a relaxation of curbs on business operations.

The izakaya owner, Tetsuo Miyama, 43, said sales for April were just 30 percent of what he would have expected in the month without the pandemic, as the pub had to shorten its operating hours under the state of emergency.

He expressed hope that the face shields would help attract customers who refrained from going out while the emergency measures were in place.

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