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New routine balances health, economy

  • THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN
                                A yakiniku restaurant in Mito set up acrylic barriers at tables last week as part of its safety measures for reopening.

    THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN

    A yakiniku restaurant in Mito set up acrylic barriers at tables last week as part of its safety measures for reopening.

TOKYO >> Businesses in much of Japan resumed operations Friday, one day after the government lifted the state of emergency imposed after the coronavirus spread in 39 prefectures.

Businesses are working toward full compliance with safety guidelines set by industry groups as they resume economic activities.

Among guidelines set by the Japan Food Service Association: “Do not allow customers to sit face-to-face.” “Seasoning must not be left on the table.”

A yakiniku restaurant in Mito placed custom-made acrylic barriers at the center of each table. The restaurant also removed small plates and sauce containers from tables, and has stopped offering buffet-style salad and dessert.

Devine Records, a secondhand record shop in Nagoya, posted a notice at its entrance with five rules of entry, including “Come alone.” Each time a customer touched a record, workers disinfected it with alcohol. The owner said the shop’s safety measures are nearly in complete compliance with guidelines.

“I’m scared that a customer not wearing a mask might come near me, but these measures help me feel more at ease,” said one nervous teenage customer.

At department stores and movie theaters, there have also been changes.

Niigata Isetan department store, which reopened Monday, is using contact-free thermometers to take customers’ temperatures. In its food section, samples are gone, and customers using escalators are asked to alternate standing on the left and right sides, and to leave a two-step gap between the person ahead of them.

The Akita Opa fashion building, meanwhile, limits elevator occupancy to four.

United Cinemas Forte Miyagi Ogawara, a movie theater in Ogawara, Miyagi Prefecture, has altered seating for social distancing. For each occupied seat, four are left vacant — one each to the front, back, left and right of each customer. The space is thoroughly disinfected after each screening.

Fukuoka’s Prefectural Library has resumed lending books using a reservation system.

“I’m so glad to finally be able to get new books,” said a Fukuoka housewife. “Both my children and I were getting bored.”

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