A staff member of an izakaya pub in Tokyo prepares to close up on Friday night. Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato
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Japan's restaurant alcohol ban sets new COVID-19 emergency apart

52 Comments
By Rocky Swift

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52 Comments
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What difference does alcohol make in the spreading of the coronavirus? Doesn't alcohol kill the virus?

5 ( +18 / -13 )

At my local izakaya the pungent smoke and generously spilled beer kills the virus.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

Who'd have thought, getting drunk, sitting at home in my underpants would be saving lives?

28 ( +29 / -1 )

Checked three of our local establishments on my way home before and they said as long as you eat, bring your own.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Its a good start to ban alcholism here way to go! Wait if you do that then the alcoholic rehab centers will go out of business.

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

they said as long as you eat, bring your own.

Same experience here.

My favorite Mom and Pop izakaya said, I can bring my own Sake.

Anyway, in my opinion that is completely nonsens to ban alcohol in restaurants.

How about smoking? In the smoking areas and rooms where people stick together and blow the smoke in other person faces.

-1 ( +14 / -15 )

Drinking a can of chu-hi on the way home from work in the trains are fun way to spend your time home if you cant get to a pub. They don't complain about booze drinkers on the trains.......

1 ( +11 / -10 )

But Liquor Shops will be happy about that.

They will make a good business.

There will be a overran at these shops.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I don't understand the point. I see a LOT of "sober" jokers walking around with chinwarmers and hanging out with their boys all over the town still, many without masks. This is during business hours.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Ugh horrible puritanic alcohol bans

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

Its not the alcohol, its sitting opposite talking without a mask. The louder the voice, the more aerosol is expelled from the speakers. Add to this food dishes and glasses to catch the droplets and you have the perfect breeding ground for contamination. As the article states, hygiene also takes a hit with drunkenness. Drinking establishments have been shown to be the No.1 centers of infection in known transmissions.

Bars and restaurants will take a massive hit, while supermarkets and beer shops will be winners.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

@ OxycodinToday 04:44 pm JST

Drinking a can of chu-hi on the way home from work in the trains are fun way to spend your time home if you cant get to a pub. They don't complain about booze drinkers on the trains.......

You should have your mask on on the train, but if you snip a small hole in it, a straw works fabulously.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Hopefully the Bar rats can use this time to heal their liver! I doubt it though...they will just find some off the path joint and get their drunk in! This is one of the best moves yet! They should make this permanent!

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

@Private Internet Access

We use it also. Love the Green Demon.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

hygiene also takes a hit with drunkenness. 

I think this comment is implying drunks lack hygene. I was previously an alcoholic, but I can tell you what..Not only did I take care of the ladies, I took care of myself!

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Thumbs up to PIA

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Glad to see some teeth on the SOE. People out drinking while all this is going on is not a good idea (and that is me choosing my words very carefully). I look forward to the down votes. Have a pleasant evening.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Well just bought some chicken wings at the supermarket and will grill them up at home while drinking some very cold Japanese beer. We all must do our part.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

@reckless

Where da party at?!? lol

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Prohibition back again, other side of ocean.

Only respect of hygiene rukes , distance and mask is needed. If eating and drinking, additional space needed. Not rocket science.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Most health experts say that a general adherence to hygiene rules and social distancing have helped Japan keep overall COVID-19 cases and deaths relatively low

There is no way that there has been an adherence to social distancing in Japan.

If you are only counting the fact that places such as supermarkets, conbinis, post offices, banks etc have put some tape on the floor marking out 1.5m gaps then OK, Japan has been social distancing. But if you look beyond the tape and actually around the supermarket itself, in department stores, in offices, in classrooms, on trains etc. etc. there is absolutely no social distancing.

Actually, the sheer ignorance against practicing social distancing continues to astound me.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Playing some Call of duty coldwar on Bnet with some beer at home is a self pleaseant LAN(local area network) party!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

People are simply not as careful or self-conscious when drinking - it goes without saying. And if the government wants to see these places go to the wall, this is a sure way to do it - unless they put up their prices to reflect what they are not making on drinks, which frequently balance the books by subsidizing losses on the kitchen side.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

gokai_wo_manekuToday  04:29 pm JST

What difference does alcohol make in the spreading of the coronavirus? Doesn't alcohol kill the virus?

A typical izakaya has a sound level similar to standing next to a jet engine. Everyone, staff and customers, seem to be screaming. They're all pumping out the virus like jet engines if they have it, and if 8 people are in a room, someone has it.

Inhaling alcohol through your nose and into your lungs is probably not a good thing.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Japan is singling out alcohol consumption in bars and restaurants in a new state of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka and two other prefectures, 

Safe to assume a few high end, discreet Ginza clubs will continue catering to our political & bureaucratic elite who will quietly skate around the rules and if busted our esteemed daimyos will claim that they were checking compliance and & or no alcohol was served, oolong tea is a drink of choice amongst Kasumigaseki blue bloods recently i hear.

Most health experts say that a general adherence to hygiene rules and social distancing have helped Japan keep overall COVID-19 cases and deaths relatively low, 

Thanks for letting us know, here we were naively thinking it was the mindblowing lack if testing , Tokyo metropolis testing 9000 people daily...same level as African backwater towns....and social distancing where? Im yet to see any.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

reckless:

At my local izakaya the pungent smoke and generously spilled beer kills the virus.

The pungent smoke also kills me.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

You don't have to worry about the smoke now that there are those plastic dividers on the tables.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Kyakusenbi_ArimasuToday 05:01 pm JST

@ OxycodinToday 04:44 pm JST

Drinking a can of chu-hi on the way home from work in the trains are fun way to spend your time home if you cant get to a pub. They don't complain about booze drinkers on the trains.......

You should have your mask on on the train, but if you snip a small hole in it, a straw works fabulously.

Yeah @Kyakusenbi

The only problem with that drinking from a straw will make you drunk x3

I do wear mask when I drink on the fun fun trains thanks for the advice

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

What difference does alcohol make in the spreading of the coronavirus? Doesn't alcohol kill the virus?

Alcohol reduces inhibitions and makes people more likely to engage in riskier behaviour.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Is alcohol truly the problem ???.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"Alcohol is potentially a physical risk to the person through an increased risk of aspiration of droplets," said Jason Tetro,

The govt is repsonsible for the spread of the virus by not implementing measures when the virus was first apparent.

So now they waffle on and want to punish or curtail everyone else's privileges and social conditions.?

How about the people start to decide who is going to make their decisions for them in future and toss these politicians out on their asses.

.

You will soon notice large open air parties outside conbinis, supermarkets and any other place that sell alcohol, its already happening.

The cops will march around with their batons drawn and threaten and intimidate the masses , watch the result.

People need social interaction after working 10 hour days and doing gamman.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Pukey2Today 09:07 pm JST

reckless:

At my local izakaya the pungent smoke and generously spilled beer kills the virus.

The pungent smoke also kills me.

Smoking has been banned in most bars in tokyo in the last year or so, and most decent respectable places have been no smoking long before the new laws.

You been drinking in some dodgey places ?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Is alcohol truly the problem ???.

Its certainly a contributor.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

State of emergency is the god damn govt for crying out loud, they have no idea !!

Wake up !!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Pachinko still open right ?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

We’re permanently closed now but lots of local bars are just preparing excuses for the boys in blue. They brought it with them etc. BS from both sides!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Latest uni research reveals people’s voices get louder when they consume alcohol. 17 months into the pandemic.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yes this is the best thing. But the alcohol data is just BS. Alcohol swobs are used with every vaccine injection.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Congratulations, you found a new scapegoat! Because with all foreigners gone it would be a difficult sell to blame them! How about banning Kansai slang as well, bc with the huge rise in the west, surly drunk Kansai people must be much more noisier than Kanto salarymen?! Did anybody even try to search for a reason, bc the only reason I heard that made some sense was that the Senbatsu high school baseball tournament was to blame as it took place in Hyogo. But I guess it would be an inconvenient truth on multible sides to cut down on big sporting events!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So don’t wash your hands with alcohol???

0 ( +2 / -2 )

What difference does alcohol make in the spreading of the coronavirus? Doesn't alcohol kill the virus?

Reading the article would help before asking, the answer is right there!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Ok the whole 20:00 closure seems a bit strange but just looking at other countries doing better jobs at contact tracing many major outbreaks are soon traced back to a single event often bars, Karaoke clubs, BBQ parties, and other gatherings where large amounts of alcohol is consumed and by that simple factor behavior that helps spread the virus.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One of the biggest problems in Japan is the lack or more precisely the incapability of the government to effectively or properly communicate to the public facts and what it knows.

In Canada several large outbreaks of covid-19 were traced back to bars, Karaoke bars, and gyms.

The names of these places made public so people could get checked and to explain the reasoning behind closing similar places down.

I suspect that the Japanese government has similar data but as always the secretive nature of the government here means they rarely make that information public.

Making this information public, explaining where, when and how the clusters happened would make people understand better why closures are needed but also Perhaps make people less likely to chance going to those place if they are open.

Total failure of leadership.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All this ban is doing is driving people to go drinking out on the streets since drinking in public is perfectly legal in Japan. Thus, instead of people clustering in groups inside a bar or restaurant, they'll just be clustering together in groups outside. All they've managed to change is the location where people will be drinking. Nuts.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yes, and next is newspaper reading as it increases air circulation dramatically when changing the page. Not to forget switching off all AC, as they blow you the virus loads into the whole room or even directly into your open or masked face. And also stop that damned breathing in general, that’s the minimum effort expected from you. lol

0 ( +1 / -1 )

benjo How embarrassing...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So... Japanese People are Quiet spoken without Alcohol ?

Rubbish!!!

Total and utter Rubbish !

And if they speak loudly, they're classified as Yakuza .....

Same old rubbish....

Here we go again.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Ok, so no booze with your meals.

But come tomorrow morning, don't forget to get on your packed commuter trains and stand cheek by Jowl to hundreds of strangers for an hour, then sit in offices with your masks on your chin until the boss leaves.

Then get on another packed commuter train home.

The virus can't touch you so long as you aren't having a good time.

Pathetic.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Avoiding infection requires responsible behaviour. Alcohol dramatically reduces responsible behaviour.

The result of the pubs and clubs closing in the UK lockdown (entirely, not at 8pm) was a rise in people drinking at home and domestic violence. But it did play a part in getting the infection rate down. Anyone organising an event that broke the rules got a £10,000 fine.

If you really can't get through the day without alcohol, it may be time to chat to someone about it.

Golden Week was always going to have to be locked down. The govt. could have been more honest about that in advance.

Ultimately lockdowns just buy the hospitals time until vaccinations have been rolled out.

Israel has had no covid deaths for the first time in ten months and may be nudging herd immunity. The UK has now given one jab to 33½m people - half the population, and both jabs to the 12m most vulnerable people. All the research and stats from Israel and the UK suggest that the vaccines work, reducing transmission, severe cases and deaths.

Japan really needs to roll out the vaccines now, as fast as they can. Without them, the social, cultural, political and economic damage is brutal, and the chance of a new, severe variant appearing increases. The clock is ticking. Implement an emergency licence and offer all the vaccines currently available. Look at India's current plight. There are worse things than not having alcohol on demand.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All this ban is doing is driving people to go drinking out on the streets since drinking in public is perfectly legal in Japan

Yeah right!

In over 30 years in Japan I am trying to think how often I have seen people congregating in public to drink not associated with some special event like Hanami parties in parks or after a matsuri all of which will not be happening.

The times I have seen such gatherings not part of a local event, it is mostly non Japanese standing around the entrance of a conbini.

The idea that the Japanese are suddenly going to start doing something they rarely if ever do just to stand around and drink in groups is ridiculous, they will just go home and drink.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

We understand the concern @TARA TAN KITAOKA Apr. 24 9:21pm, as sales from one source of your revenue , evening eating and drinking establishments, will be significantly affected by these periodic SOE’s:

“Is alcohol truly the problem ???.” -

Yet, we would think this would also be another opportunity for wine importers such as yourself. You’ve had a year to realign your business model like many small business had no other choices but to do to survive. Can’t you cut out your distributors and continue to profit from alcohol delivered direct to those returning home instead of going to nomikai each evening?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yeah right!

In over 30 years in Japan I am trying to think how often I have seen people congregating in public to drink not associated with some special event like Hanami parties in parks or after a matsuri all of which will not be happening.

The times I have seen such gatherings not part of a local event, it is mostly non Japanese standing around the entrance of a conbini.

The idea that the Japanese are suddenly going to start doing something they rarely if ever do just to stand around and drink in groups is ridiculous, they will just go home and drink.

@Antiquesaving - of course you'd have to point fingers at all the expats and non-locals. Typical xenophobic hogwash, As for your "experience" having lived in Japan for over 30 years, you've clearly been walking around with your eyes closed and not reading/watching the news - people have taken to congregating in public parks, riversides etc. to drink and hang out BECAUSE izakayas, restaurants, bars etc. have to close early. The situation has forced people to consider other options.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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