National

Scaled-down beer garden in Sapporo to serve as test for 'new normal'

Kyodo

One of Japan’s largest beer gardens opened Friday at a park in Sapporo, but the event was scaled down to cope with the novel coronavirus pandemic.

This year’s event, renamed “Mini Beer Garden” because capacity was slashed to about 250 seats from around 13,000, welcomed visitors who pre-booked tickets to avoid catching the virus from crowds.

The event at Odori Park was canceled in April as infections soared in Hokkaido. But organizers later decided to open the beer garden and will use it as a test case for holding events amid the “new normal” brought about by the pandemic.

“I am so happy that the event was held this year because I have been looking forward to it every year,” said Yuko Suzuki, 40, who is self-employed.

“The beer tastes good, especially under fine weather like this,” said Suzuki, who visited the beer garden with her friend.

The organizer requires all visitors to buy tickets in advance as part of efforts to keep crowding to a minimum. Other countermeasures, such as disinfecting thoroughly every time visitors leave, will also be taken.

The beer garden will run until Aug. 16.

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