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Astudy on the efficacy of shutting down bars and restaurants to stop the spread of COVID-19 found that the restrictions were “not an efficient way” to decrease virus transmission, concluding that it “does not contribute to the suppression of SARS-CoV-2.”

“Using a large-scale nationally representative longitudinal survey, we found that the early closure of restaurants and bars decreased the utilization rate among young persons and those who visited these places before the pandemic. However, symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 did not decrease in these active and high-risk subpopulations,” explains a summary of the research paper.

The study – SARS-CoV-2 Suppression and Early Closure of Bars and Restaurants: A Longitudinal Natural Experiment – was conducted by researchers in Japan and published in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports. 

Researchers used Japan as a case study because during the first two months of 2021, the early closure of restaurants and bars was the only mitigation strategy adopted by officials. This gave researchers the unique opportunity to isolate the closure of restaurants and bars as variables they could assess the efficacy of.

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