Leaving extra space between yourself and other people is the safe, and in this case adorable, thing to do.

In Japan, cuteness isn’t just for kids, but an important part of any organization’s PR efforts. So you can be sure that if even an enema company has an adorable mascot character in Japan, one of the country’s largest banks does too.

That right there is Resonya, the official mascot of Tokyo-based Resona Bank (the “nya” at the end comes from nya, the sound of a cat meowing in Japanese). Like a lot of mascots, Resona appears in ads and promotional items for Resona Bank, but on a visit to a Resona branch in the city of Yokohama earlier this month, Japanese Twitter user @yoxtuka found the spokeskitty out in force.

But all those Resonya plushies aren’t just there to welcome customers in the cutest way possible, nor are they there to keep lonely customers company, like the stand-by Pikachus at the old Pokémon cafe. No, those stuffed animals are actually working, and their job is to make sure there’s some extra empty space between any customers who’re waiting, in order to lessen the chance of coronavirus transmission.

Not all Resona Bank branches are posting Resonyas on crowd control duty, but those that do have been getting smiles and applause online, with reactions such as:

“You should never underestimate the power of stuffed animals.”
“Nice job, Resonya!”
“’Sorry, these seats are occupied.’”
“I’m glad Resona is my bank.”

As clever and heartwarming as the idea is, however, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that health experts advise staying two meters (6.6 feet) away from others during the pandemic, a greater distance than the width of one empty seat. Still, this is better than nothing, but hopefully Resona will improve the plan by having its mascot take up two spots on each three-person bench, thereby increasing the distance between customers and boosting the number of plushies, both of which would be things to be happy about.

Sources: Twitter/@JcRs2CMBGIKF8dD, The Sankei News via Jin
Featured image: Twitter/@JcRs2CMBGIKF8dD
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