Starbucks Japan Closes to Avoid COVID-19... Attracting Huge Crowds

Tokyo Culture Coronavirus 2020.04.14
Out of 1,200 Starbucks locations in Japan, 850 are closing or shortening their hours, causing some unintended consequences.
As a massive, international brand, it's no surprise that Starbucks has a dedicated fanbase in Japan. The Japanese locations of the coffee shop chain are especially popular, even among travelers, for their frequent limited-edition drinks and unusual flavors.

With the coronavirus outbreak causing Japan's Prime Minister Abe to call a state of emergency in seven Japanese prefectures, Starbucks decided to take action. Like restaurants and other facilities where people spend time close together, in danger of infecting one another, Starbucks looked into limiting access. After testing out the idea during one March weekend, Starbucks Japan announced that for 850 locations, they'd be either shortening hours or temporarily closing altogether.
As is clear from just one look at this tweet from user @iiiikasu, this decision from Starbucks was a problem for some of Tokyo's coffee lovers. The tweet explains "Since Starbucks is closed starting today, last night there was this long line. Do the people lining up even understand the point of Starbucks closing? lol"

Indeed, completely ignoring the reasoning behind Starbucks' closures and shortened hours, dozens of people lined up, ignoring social distancing and getting up close and personal with each other, just for one last fix of Starbucks. Of course, Japanese Twitter had plenty to say on the matter, commenting things like:

"This might just become their last drink ever."

"Since Starbucks is closing and we won't be able to go there for a while, one last drink is tempting. Yeah, I get it. But with things the way they are, let's try not to defeat the purpose."

"When did Japan get like this?"

"Do people really want Starbucks that bad? For 500 yen I'd rather buy a bento lunch."

"Speaking of which, everyone's lining up to buy what exactly?" "Right! Is there really anything you can only get at Starbucks? ^_^;"

In the end, we can only hope that (out of sheer luck) those lining up avoided infection. It's a confusing time for the average person, but for now, let's at least try to stay 2 meters away from others.
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