coronavirus silent but cheerful mannequins enforce social distancing at tokyo bar - Coronavirus: Silent but cheerful, mannequins enforce social distancing at Tokyo bar

TOKYO (REUTERS) – They may not be helping out with chants but complete with cheerleader uniforms and pom-poms, mannequins at one Tokyo bar are helping keep customers a safe – and cheerful – distance apart.

Tokyo recently began to ease restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, a respite for bars and restaurants dependent on the city’s normally thriving nightlife even if customers are not yet back in full force.

“Our restaurant looked very empty and we wanted to add more excitement,” said Arata Funabara, owner of Cheers One, a cheerleading-themed bar in the capital’s upscale Ginza district which counts both women and men among its clientele.

Other safety measures include face shields and gloves for the bar’s cheerleader waitresses who perform karaoke songs on request. The shields and gloves are also on offer for patrons.

Waitress Chinatsu Fujii said the mannequins made for a safer work environment.

“It takes a bit of getting used to but it’s reassuring that they are here and I think of them of workmates,” she said.

Japan has recorded some 17,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 900 deaths.

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