It’s better than nothing, but….

The coronavirus pandemic has had a negative effect on many businesses, especially restaurants, since gathering in groups in tight quarters is exactly what we want to not be doing at the moment.

Some Japanese restaurants like Saizeriya have gotten creative and created special masks that allow customers to also eat, but their efficacy is debatable.

Recently though, the Hyogo Prefectural government decided on a new strategy to try and open up businesses in a more safe way: by giving out Japanese fans to restaurants for customers to use while dining.

▼ The distribution includes uchiwa fans (pictured left) and sensu fans (pictured right).

The goal of using the fans is for groups of customers to cover their mouths with them when talking to each other, preventing “splash” and the spread of the virus. Presumably the fans could also be held up while eating as well, as opposed to masks which have to come off when chewing.

Plans are to distribute 20 fans to each applicable restaurant in the capital city of Kobe, as well as three other cities, totaling 320,000 fans. Whether or not they will be cleaned between customers using them isn’t made clear, but hopefully that will be the case.

Toshizo Ido, the governor of Hyogo Prefecture, said that fans compared favorably to using masks because: “When you take off [a mask], the risk [of spread] goes up.”

Certainly that is an issue, but is using fans the solution? Japanese netizens overwhelmingly disapproved of the new measure:

“Sounds like they’re out of ideas.”
“I think they forgot about microdroplets that can get through the fans.”
“If you eat out with someone who’s infected, an uchiwa is not gonna help.”
“How was this even suggested, much less approved?”
“This has to be some shady government deal from Big Uchiwa.”
“They probably had a stockpile of fans they needed to get rid of.”
“Do you really need to eat out with others that badly?”

The last netizens hit the nail on the head. While some mouth protection is arguably better than nothing, the best course of action is still not going out if possible. Using a fan to eat with friends and coworkers at a crowded restaurant is about as good idea as heading out in large crowds to temples to pray for a return to normal.

Source: NHK via My Game News Flash
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso

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