TOKYO -- One of Japan's biggest operators of izakaya-style casual pubs will swab doorknobs, toilet seats and other surfaces to check for coronavirus in an effort to reassure customers.
Tokyo-listed Watami said Tuesday it will conduct polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests at about 160 pubs in the capital and surrounding areas over the next two months.
The initiative comes as Tokyo experiences an elevated level of new COVID-19 cases. On Tuesday, 54 new infections were confirmed, the fifth straight day over 50.
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike announced new criteria on Tuesday for monitoring the spread of the virus, replacing an earlier alert system.
Watami also will disinfect pubs monthly using ozone, which is said to render coronavirus 99% inactive. The company, whose chains include its namesake pub and grilled-chicken purveyor Torimero, said it will become the first restaurant operator in Japan to use ozone to sanitize locations.
Watami plans to test pubs once a month starting in September. It may expand the testing initiative beyond the Tokyo area.
"We will make every effort at prevention so that not a single person is infected at our locations," a spokesperson said.