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Supermarkets in Japan are planning to stay closed for longer than usual during the New Year’s holidays in an effort to relieve staff workers of the heavy burden of taking measures against coronavirus infection.

The moves are also part of work-style reform efforts.

At major food supermarket Life Corp., all of its roughly 280 stores will be closed for two days through Jan. 2. In 2020, all Life stores were closed on New Year’s Day but some reopened the following day.

Rivals Yaoko Co., Summit Inc. and Inageya Co. will increase the number of days closed from ordinary years by one, closing almost all stores for the first three days of 2021.

General supermarket Ito-Yokado Co., a unit of Seven & I Holdings Co., will have 33 stores closed for New Year’s Day, almost double the figure from the previous Jan. 1. It will continue to seek customer cooperation to avoid crowding.

Stores run by rivals Aeon Co. and Seiyu G.K. will be open on New Year’s Day.

Most department stores, including those of Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd. and J. Front Retailing Co., will be closed on New Year’s Day, as they were in 2020.

Takashimaya Co. will suspend in-store sales of fukubukuro (New Year’s lucky bags) for two days from Jan. 2.

Convenience stores, however, will mostly stay open during the holiday period.

Some Seven-Eleven Japan Co. and Lawson Inc. stores closed or shortened their operating hours for New Year’s Day earlier this year.

But this Jan. 1, convenience stores are “expected to see an increase in customer traffic due to the closures of supermarkets and eateries,” an official at a major chain said.

Seven-Eleven and FamilyMart Co. will keep all stores open, while Lawson will only close around 85 stores in business districts and other areas that are expected to see reduced customer numbers.

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