As Japan’s restaurants and bars slowly open up from a COVID-19 lockdown, many are looking to reassure the public that dining out is safe again and one izakaya thinks that it has found the perfect solution.
The pub in Tokyo’s normally bustling Shinjuku district has installed a machine that sprays customers with hypochlorous acid water as they enter.
Of course, customers are first greeted on a monitor by a hostess, 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 an automatic 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 do not come into contact with a single person.
“We wanted to develop a system that is in accordance with the new lifestyle and something that is a high model that could prevent infection,” the president of the Kichiri & Co group that owns the pub said. “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, and it seems to work.
“I feel safe,” said one female customer, who did not want to be identified. “But being in there for 30 seconds was a bit long. I was like: ‘When will this be over?’”
Kichiri has also installed a spraying booth, which cost more than ￥700,000 (US$6,492), at a pub in Osaka, where the government yesterday lifted a state of emergency.
A state of emergency remains in place in Tokyo.
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