Shorter hours begin in Osaka nightlife areas amid COVID-19 surge
Japan Times -- Nov 28
Bars, karaoke lounges and restaurants serving alcohol in parts of the city of Osaka began operating under shorter hours Friday, a day after the prefecture saw a record daily total of 12 deaths due to COVID-19.

Osaka Prefecture recorded 383 new cases of the disease Friday. A day earlier it reported 326 cases with infection routes unknown for 206 people, and 12 deaths bringing the number of novel coronavirus fatalities in the prefecture to 297. There were 108 serious COVID-19 cases receiving care.

For the third time since the outbreak began earlier this year, Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura called on businesses serving food and drinks to reduce their operating hours, in an attempt to control the spread of the virus.

But the governor also warned that the number of cases was increasing and hospitals were nearing the limits of their ability to respond, and that it may soon be necessary to declare a state of emergency.

“It’s a bitter decision to make, asking further for something difficult when everyone is already facing a difficult situation,” Yoshimura told reporters Thursday night. “But medical facilities are severely squeezed.” If the percentage of hospital beds in use passes 50%, the prefecture is expected to issue a Stage 4 alert — which would necessitate declaring a state of emergency. As of Thursday night, the occupancy rate was 46.7%, including light and moderate cases.

Yoshimura’s request to reduce operating hours was not for all of Osaka Prefecture. Eating and drinking establishments in the Kita and Chuo wards of the city of Osaka are being asked to operate only between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. until Dec. 11. Nightclubs and karaoke lounges there are also being asked to close at 9 p.m.

大阪では飲食店が集中する一部の地域で、27日から接待や酒類の提供を伴う飲食店に対して時短営業や休業要請が始まりました。  大阪府は、梅田や道頓堀など代表的な繁華街のある大阪市北区と中央区を対象に、27日付で接待や酒類の提供を伴う飲食店への時短営業と休業を要請しています。府は午前5時から午後9時までの営業を求めていて、期間は来月11日までの15日間です。時短営業前の最後の夜となった26日夜、串カツ店はほぼ満席でした。  「いつも終電ぐらいまでは飲むので、時間が短くなると寂しいかなと思います」(客)  「感染者が増えることを考えたら仕方ないのかな」(客)  協力した店には、国の補助を含めて府と市から合わせて50万円の協力金が支払われる予定です。
News sources: Japan Times, TBS NEWS
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