I hope you are all keeping safe and adapting to the new realties of life in the age of Corona -- no travel, no eating out (at least like before) and for many, separation from family and friends. There's a lot of anxiety, but it's also a time for optimism -- that once this passes we will all emerge better individually and collectively.
As for Ezo Seafoods, we finished up 2 weeks early this season on March 18th after bookings collapsed due to the impact of the virus. Our staff hung on and did a great job in spite of the adversity.
Mid March had never been so quiet at Ezo.
It was a disappointing end to the season. But we count ourselves lucky that we were able to get 3 months business in for the season. It's heartbreaking to read of the difficulties restaurants, and their staffs, are facing around the world, forced to close indefinitely.
The spectre of Corona was hanging over us from the end of January. With CNY travellers descending on Niseko in late January there was a real fear that the virus would spread in Niseko, however luckily there wasn't a single case reported until April. Even now, as I understand, there isn't a single "live" case in the Niseko area.
During the season, we got into the habit of sanitising the tables and bench seats, airing the rooms between sittings, refraining from hugs and handshakes and doing our best to maintain distance when interacting with guests. As our staff are mainly Japanese, the custom of wearing masks came easily.
Looking ahead, I am optimistic of a speedy recovery but am getting prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. We will do whatever is required to make sure our staff, customers and their families feel safe.
As many guests know, we already offer seafood platters for takeout. I expect that side of the business will better suit many customers who are still on guard against social interaction. We will wait and see.
I will update the website with booking information for next season. I expect that internet bookings will open later this year, possibly in November to take into account the possibility of more uncertainty heading into the end of the year.
We are now in Izu looking to open as usual for Summer in early June but our opening will depend on emergency restrictions being lifted, hopefully by mid-May.
In the meantime, keep well everyone! Let's hope there is a silver lining to all of this which translates to a better world and healthier planet. I hope you will support your local restaurants as much as possible during this time.