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Japanese Zoo Wins at Social Distancing By Using Stuffed Capybaras

Izu Shabonten Zoo in Shizuoka, Japan, is winning when it comes to social distancing protocols.

The zoo released a statement on Wednesday about their restaurant, GIBBONTEI’s, cute social distancing etiquette. To prevent more COVID-19 infections, the table layouts were rearranged so customers can keep the proper distance from each other.

The plushes were then seated in between guests and around them as a new addition to what they called “securing social distance with Capybara.” In its Instagram post, it stated, social distance equals “two adult Capybaras.”

According to Colossal, this implementation was a nod to “its decades-long fascination with the giant rodent.” Mentioning the zoo’s “capybara-themed programming and souvenirs” and the 1982 formation of the “open-air hot baths,” equipped with whole floating mandarins and lemons for the water-loving capybaras “to bathe, relax, and warm up during cold winters.”

The selection of capybaras above other animals may be strategic because while the creature champions the title as the largest rodent in the world, it also holds the unofficial title of the “friendliest animal in the world.” The mild-mannered rodent can live alone or in hoards of up to 40. Images of the “friendliest animal” on the internet show capybaras cuddling or chilling next to anything from the likes of monkeys, birds, turtles, cats, dogs, bunnies and even a crocodile.

The statement continues, stating that guests are allowed to “replace” and choose whether to “share a seat with a capybara or a red panda.” The restaurant also reassures its cleanliness as they’ve installed multiple hand-sanitizing stations and say they will be sure to disinfect the tables, chairs and stuffed animals with alcohol when customers are swapped out.

“Please enjoy your meal with peace of mind in a restaurant where people are not lonely,” it closed.

Feature Image via @izu_shabotenzoogroup (left), @chacha0rca (right)

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