“We want customers to feel safe when they get inside,” spokeswoman Rieko Matsunaga told CNN. “It aims to promote social distancing and prevent infections.”
Upon arrival at the Shinjuku pub in Tokyo, customers are greeted by a hostess on a monitor, who tells them to wash their hands and take their temperature with a thermometer.
Then they enter what looks like an airport security scanner, where they are sprayed with a mist of chlorine-based disinfectant for 30 seconds.
Customers then collect a card that tells them where to sit and scan a QR code to display a menu on their phone, from which they can place their order. The guests are seated separated by transparent acrylic screens.
The pub is owned by Kichiro & Co., which has 103 locations in Japan. The company installed the machine in its Shinjuku branch on May 14 and a Kichiri pub in Osaka obtained its own machine on May 19.
While Matsunaga cited advice from the Japanese Ministry of Health in the company’s decision to use hypochlorous acid water to spray customers, the World Health Organization (WHO) says the spray disinfectant for people is a very bad idea.
“Spraying disinfectants can cause eye hazards, respiratory or skin irritation and the resulting health effects,” said WHO in an updated notice published on Saturday.
“The spraying or fogging of certain chemicals, such as formaldehyde, chlorine-based agents or quaternary ammonium compounds, is not recommended due to the adverse effects on the health of workers in installations where these methods have been used. ”
Japan continues to fight the pandemic and has implemented what it calls a “progressive lockdown”.
On May 6, the government extended the country’s state of emergency until the end of the month, while introducing controversial “new social behavior guidelines”.
A panel of experts told the population to constantly adopt measures such as wearing face masks and keeping two meters between people.
Other advice was to tell restaurant patrons to sit outside, side by side while keeping the conversation to a minimum. This left people wondering why Japan’s advice differed from that of many other countries.
“I am stunned … There are no other experts in the world who recommend this kind of advice – just experts in Japan. It is as if they had studied the virus, but not human behavior What is more frightening than the virus is the ignorant who give society advice on how to deal with it, “said a Twitter user.