Japan looks to shorten restaurant operating hours through subsidies
As Japan battles a wave of COVID-19 cases, its government is reviewing regulations that would allow the use of subsidies and penalties to enforce shorter business hours at bars and restaurants.
Under the special measures law, subsidies would be paid to businesses that comply with requests for shorter hours, while those that refuse would face penalties.
At a news conference, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that shortening the business hours of restaurants and bars is believed to be one of the most effective measures to contain the virus.
Research has thus far shown that there is an obvious correlation between restaurant openings and the spread of COVID-19, regardless of whether the business has complied with hygiene, social distancing and rules like having staff keep their masks on at all times. This is due to direct air flow, as masks cannot be worn while eating and drinking.
Suga also added that officials were studying the revision of the regulation with a panel of experts, which is divided between those who support penalties and those who are cautious about limiting the rights of private companies, according to NHK World.