Request for Biz Hour Cuts Adding to Plight of Tokyo Restaurants

Economy

Tokyo, Nov. 26 (Jiji Press)--The Tokyo metropolitan government’s decision to request eateries to shorten business hours amid what appears to be a third wave of novel coronavirus infections is adding to the plight of many eating and drinking establishments in the Japanese capital that have already been hit by a spate of cancellations due to the spread of the virus.

The metropolitan government on Wednesday decided to call on eateries serving alcoholic beverages and karaoke parlors again to move up the closing time, to 10 p.m. or earlier, over 20 days from Saturday to Dec. 17. The move will almost certainly affect the number of customers as the period will coincide with the year-end party season.

A company that operates “izakaya” pubs in the Tokyo metropolitan area has seen a considerable number of year-end party reservations being canceled. “We are usually busy at this time of year, but the request from the metropolitan government will be an additional blow so we’ll unlikely see an increase in customers for year-end parties,” an official at the firm said.

Still, it remains to be seen how many eating and drinking facilities will accept the request at a time when the epidemic has led to the disappearance of demand for large-scale parties from corporate customers and many stores are therefore relying on people who dine out in small groups for their revenues.

When the Tokyo government made a similar request in August, three major beef-on-rice restaurant operators--Sukiya Co., Yoshinoya Co. and Matsuya Foods Co.--and some other eatery chains did not move up the closing time while suspending alcoholic beverage sales.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press