Sparse turnout on first day after shortened business-hours request was withdrawn in Hokkaido

The shortened business-hours request was withdrawn but turnout was sparse in Susukino, Sapporo. March 1, 10 p.m.

A request by the Hokkaido government for bars and restaurants in the city to shorten their business hours as a Coronavirus measure was withdrawn at the end of February, allowing them to open after 10 p.m. from March 1. However, the turnout was sparse on the first day, with some establishments choosing to close at 10 p.m.

On the evening of March 1 – the first day after the request was withdrawn – the neon signs of the restaurants and bars in Sapporo’s entertainment district of Susukino shone brightly, but the sparse turnout was similar to that of before the request was withdrawn.

 On the first, a man who runs a bar in Susukino spoke of his situation. “The 4 months of shortened business hours was very long. There are not many people out after 8 p.m. I don’t know whether or not the regular customers will return immediately after the request is withdrawn,” he said with a worried expression on his face.

 The request to refrain from unnecessary and non-emergency travel issued in Sapporo and Otaru was also withdrawn at the end of February. However, visitors were not conspicuous at tourist spots in Otaru on March 1.