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Tokyo’s karaoke bars are reopening with new coronavirus safety rules

The rules vary, but expect limited capacity, temperature checks and masking up – unless you’re the one singing

Kaila Imada
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Kaila Imada
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On June 11, Tokyo officially began stage three of its reopening plan. The third stage includes extended trading hours for restaurants and allowing businesses without previous Covid-19 coronavirus clusters to reopen, along with the city’s karaoke bars. Of course, the government’s recommended new lifestyle, which includes measures like social distancing, means karaoke venues – known for their small, crowded rooms – have had to adapt.

Outside of Tokyo, some karaoke bars have been open since June 1, with a range of new coronavirus safety measures in place. The Japan Karaoke Box Association has drafted a set of guidelines for both karaoke operators and visitors. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Temperature checks must be taken before entering the karaoke room
  • Cashless payments are encouraged; for those using cash, the cash tray will be regularly disinfected
  • Room capacity will be limited to less than half the usual maximum, and rooms will be ventilated
  • Seats will be rearranged to keep a distance of 1.5m to 2m apart and will all be facing the TV screen, so guests won’t be facing each other
  • Food and drink orders must be placed through the intercom to reduce the amount of direct human interaction
  • Use of face masks and hand sanitiser will be mandatory, although certain chains will allow customers to remove their masks while they are singing

These are just industry guidelines so, like Tokyo’s newly reopened gyms, the exact rules may vary from chain to chain. Karaoke company Big Echo has shared a helpful video explaining its specific safety policies. Although it’s all in Japanese, the visual examples clearly show the new rules. Karaoke chain Karaoke no Testujin has also posted similar safety videos here

For tips on how to go out safely in Tokyo, or anywhere for that matter, read our guide.

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