How Effective Was the Restaurant Restraining Order against COVID-19? A Nighttime Light Study in Japan

Discussion Papers


by Kazunobu Hayakawa, Souknilanh Keola, and Shujiro Urata

July 2021


In this study, we examined the effect of the order of shortening business hours of the restaurants, which are considered a major source of spreading the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Specifically, we empirically investigated how this order changed the nighttime light (NTL) in regions with restaurants in the Greater Tokyo area from January to June 2020. Several local governments in Japan had implemented the order to combat COVID-19. Our investigation found evidence that the order significantly decreased the NTL in regions with many restaurants, indicating the effectiveness of the order and its negative economic/business impacts on restaurants. Notably, this order increased the NTL in other areas, such as in residential areas.

Keywords: COVID-19, Japan, nighttime light

JEL classification: I14, R11, R14

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