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Hokkaido: Susukino bars taking coronavirus prevention measures

HOKKAIDO (TR) – On Tuesday, the Hokkaido Prefectural Government announced the confirmation of 11 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the prefecture.

Of those persons, one was connected to a bar in the Susukino red-light district of Sapporo City, which brings the total for the district to 47.

Given the rising figure, the city and prefectural governments were planning to visit 500 establishments beginning on Tuesday night to call for them to take preventative measures, reports NHK (Aug. 5).

In making the rounds, members of the governments are handing out pamphlets that recommend the clubs use masks, providing sufficient ventilation and engage in frequent hand washing — measures dubbed the “New Hokkaido Style.”

On Wednesday, a specialist spent 30 minutes spraying disinfectant on the seats, counters and doors of one Susukino hostess club.

“With the district in a severe situation due to the novel coronavirus, I want to take all possible measures to prevent infections so that customers enjoy themselves with peace of mind,” said Masato Yamada, the director of the management company for the club.

A specialist disinfects a hostess club in Susukino on Wednesday (NHK)

“Nobody gets infected”

At the club, a so-called “girl’s bar,” one preventative measure is already incorporated into the business model: Customers and female employees converse at a distance, exactly the width of the counter, which is also the case when there is no pandemic.

Meanwhile, the club is also adhering to the recommendations by the governments. Employees are wearing masks, disinfecting their hands and seating customers two meters apart.

Yukari Kimura, the manager of a “snack” hostess club in Susukino, says that the entire district must operate under the “nobody gets infected” motto. “That will lead to customer peace of mind,” she said.