Hospitality in the COVID Era - 1: Kyoto City's Theater, Bike Rental Shop,and the City Bus
Now, in the COVID era Kyoto, various facilities are taking initiatives to safely provide their services. This time we are introducing the thorough safety measures taken in places in Kyoto City including theaters, bike rental shops, and public transportation systems (Kyoto City Bus).
1. The small theater GEAR popular for its dynamic stage performances
GEAR is a stage performance that has its exclusive theater on Sanjo-dori Street. One of the characteristics of the show is that it is carried out non-verbally, without a single line spoken.
The "story" proceeds through the performers' breakdance, juggling, and pantomime interacting with light and sound, creating an energy-packed stage that has become very popular for its broad appeal to audience of all ages, including children.
At GEAR, meticulous provisions have been taken to enable their audience to enjoy the stage at ease. Let's have a look at how everything is actually done!
When you first arrive at the scene, you will notice a red mark on the floor that says "Temperature Check." This is where the temperature of all visitors to the show are monitored through thermographic cameras before they enter the theater. While waiting for your turn to have your temperature monitored, visitors can secure distance by each standing on the footmark-shaped marks on the floor that are adequately spaced.
Of course, not only the audience but also the performers and staff also go through temperature and health monitoring procedures.
After having your temperature checked, you enter inside. There is a sign by the hall entrance, which says "Antiviral & Antibacterial Coating Treated." Apparently, the entire theater is covered by an "Antimicrobial" coat that controls the propagation of microorganisms.
Also, each seat and handrail is carefully disinfected by alcohol between the shows.
Inside the theater, sneeze guards and barriers are located between the seats. The seats are also placed with plenty of space between them. The theater's seating area was entirely renovated, decreasing the capacity to about a seventh of the initial. Furthermore, for the time being, the number of the total audience is capped to about half of the initial total.
In addition, GEAR's theatre has been officially approved as a venue by Kyoto City according to the Entertainment Facilities Act and satisfies the ventilation standards set by the public health center. The ventilation system operates as required, and windows and doors are opened for ventilation before and after the show.
Of course, there are hand sanitizers all around the venue, including the entrance and bathrooms, allowing for frequent antiseptic care.
If you feel you're getting sick or have a fever, if you contact the theatre more than one hour before the show, you will be able to change your reservation to another date free of charge. If you feel even slightly under the weather, consider getting assistance from medical facilities, and wait to visit the theater until you've recovered.
2. Bike rental "Kyoto Cycling Tour Project - Kyoto Station Cycle Terminal"
The next on our list is Kyoto Cycling Tour Project that offers cycling tours and rental bikes in Kyoto. The company has nine terminals within Kyoto City and also offers a variety of guided cycling tours.
Although touring Kyoto by bike seems like a safe option since you can avoid the 3Cs (Crowded places, Close-contact settings, and Confined and enclosed spaces), you might wonder, "What happens when I pick up and return the bike?" So, to answer your questions, we decided to see how Kyoto Cycling Tour Project's Kyoto Station Cycle Terminal has adopted safety and hygiene measures.
Kyoto Station Cycle Terminal's reception desk is located outdoors, and a staff member welcomes you outside! They said this is part of their efforts to avoid the 3Cs. Now, this would certainly decrease the risk of close-contact during your reception.
The hand sanitizer set up at the reception is an auto-spray type. They also recently started operating a contactless payment system using QR codes and IC smartcards, allowing us to minimize risks during payment procedures.
Also, everything at the reception counter, from pens to credit card machines, is disinfected after every use.
If you are joining a cycling tour, you will be with your guide during the tour, so your temperature will be checked in advance.
Of course, the bike will always be carefully disinfected: Everywhere that possibly would come into contact with skin; including the brakes, handle grips, transmission, saddle, and the bicycle keys; is disinfected using parts cleaners that contain alcohol.
Now that you know that you're able to minimize risks, you're ready to relax and enjoy cycling.
Kyoto Cycling Project – Kyoto Station Cycle Terminal
Address: 552-13 Higashi Aburakoji-cho, Aburakoji-dori Shiokoji-sagaru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto City
3. The essential way to get around the city, the "Kyoto City Bus"
Finally, an essential part of Kyoto sightseeing: the Kyoto City Bus system. Operating over 80 lines and covering most of the city, Kyoto City Bus is not only convenient for tourists but also an important means of transportation for locals.
As part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Kyoto City Bus has been taking various countermeasures, including ventilation and disinfection. Here are some of the actual measures that have been taken.
When you board a Kyoto City Bus, you may notice the ventilation fans on the ceiling. While you might imagine the air inside the bus to be somewhat stuffy, these fans actually keep the air well ventilated.
There are usually two ventilation fans installed inside each bus, but the new models, that have started to be introduced since January 2021, also have an additional ventilation fan installed above the center door area, increasing the total number of ventilation fans operating to three.
If you've been on a Kyoto City Bus before, you might notice that there is a baggage space where the front seats used to be. This change was made to secure distance between the driver and passengers, allowing both sides to feel safe.
Also, the upholstery of the seats on the new buses uses fabric featuring a high-durability antiviral effect created by permeating the fabric with antiviral disinfectants.
Furthermore, all areas that often are subject to contact with passengers, such as the hand straps, railings, windows, seats, walls, and doors, are antiviral & antibacterial treated in all buses.
Kyoto City Bus is making every effort to prevent the spread of COVID. And, of course, it's also important that each passenger takes care on their own part by wearing masks and minimizing conversation on buses, making the experience of riding on a Kyoto City Bus a comfortable one.
Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau
Phone: +81-75-863-5153 (Inquiries on Kyoto City Bus vehicles)
This time we had a close-up look at the special measures taken by three different facilities in Kyoto City: a theatre, a bike rental shop, and a public transportation system(Kyoto City Bus). The measures ranged from basic steps such as ventilation, disinfection, and staff members' wearing masks to more progressive tactics involving renovations, reorganizations, and antimicrobial treatments of the facilities.
We hope that everyone can enjoy using facilities like these while taking precautions that each of us can do, such as wearing masks and using disinfectants whenever needed. Not only for yourself but also for protecting your loved ones, we hope that paying attention to health and safety measures becomes a part of your plan and that you find this article to be a useful reference.