Japan's izakaya, a staple of after-work socializing, crippled by pandemic
Japan Times -- Jun 26
Japan’s after-work drinking scene has been disrupted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, forcing its often jam-packed izakaya dining bars to reinvent themselves to survive.

For decades, izakaya — a mainstay of late-night drinking and the nation’s working culture — have thrived by offering cheap drinks to thirsty office workers in cozy settings.

Even though lockdown measures to contain the virus were lifted in late May, izakaya are facing an existential crisis as more people work from home and social-distancing rules force most eating and drinking outlets to halve their seating.

The government hasn’t given a time frame for how long the restrictions will last. But officials warn they must stay in place until an effective vaccine is developed. That may prod more companies to allow employees to work from home and reduce opportunities for drinking outings with far-flung colleagues.

Restaurants make up 16 percent of coronavirus-related bankruptcies in the nation so far, according to data from think tank Tokyo Shoko Research.

The gloom could put a dent in consumption for months if not years, and prolong Japan’s already deepening recession.

News source: Japan Times
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