This zoo’s thought up the cutest possible way to keep some barriers up between diners at their eatery.

Now that Japan’s state of emergency has been lifted, businesses find themselves having to re-open even while the threat of coronavirus persists. Tourist destinations are having to feel their own way around the new normal, mostly by setting social distancing guidelines and eliminating features that force people to be in close contact with one another. This is tricky in the case of eat-in restaurants; part of the draw of a restaurant is how you can sit down with your companions and enjoy each other’s company! Thankfully there’s a cute little solution cooked up by Forest Animal Restaurant Gibbontei, the primary restaurant at Izu Shaboten Zoo in Shizuoka.

▼ It involves cute, cuddly capybara plushies.

Izu Shaboten Zoo is famed for its resident capybara, and even claims to have started the tradition of offering citrus-tinted bathing facilities to said rodents in the winter. The restaurant on the premises, Forest Animal Restaurant Gibbontei, is fittingly decked out in capybara paraphernalia, and now the staff plan to help guests sit a recommended distance apart by filling the seats with capybara plush toys.

In fact, you don’t merely have the option of sitting with a capybara as you eat! You can even eat one of the adorable critters…or at least a hamburger fashioned in the image of one.

▼ The “Capyburger” costs 1,200 yen (US$11.13) plus tax and is garnished with potato chips, salad, and a cute widdle smiley face.

Despite this intense capybara theming, there are stuffed animals of other species present if you’d rather sup alongside a red panda or giraffe. The tables and seating plan have been revised to allow for more distance between guests, but the fact that every other seat is occupied by a cute stuffed animal will hopefully keep everyone aware of the need to stay distant.

▼ These plush toys seem to be having a blast even without any human companions.

▼ The safari theme is boosted with this flock of fluffy flying flamingoes.

The social distancing initiative will take place throughout the zoo itself, of course, not just in the restaurants, and they have the perfect metric to help you remember an appropriate distance.

▼ Imagine two adult capybara between you… Or two lesser anteaters. Or six fennec foxes. Take your pick!

Of course, you’ll want to be extremely alert and take precautions while out and about in general, and ideally limit your exuberant screaming and gesturing too.

Related: Izu Shaboten Zoo
Source, images: PR Times

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