An office worker, surnamed Lee, recently visited a meat restaurant in Seocho-gu, Seoul, with her colleagues but was kicked out of the place even before 10 p.m. The restaurant staff repeatedly warned the customers that they were about to close and didn’t even take orders from 9:30 p.m. “Meat restaurants in Seocho-gu used to be open until midnight, but these days things are different,” said Lee.
The landscape of the “republic of nightlife” is changing. The number of nighttime customers has decreased due to people returning home earlier even though Covid-19 is over, and the cost of gas, electricity, labor, and ingredients has skyrocketed, leading to an increasing number of shops reducing their business hours.
On Monday, the Dong-A Ilbo and SM C&C survey platform “Tilian Pro” surveyed 1,552 men and women in their 20s to 60s and found that people’s average time of returning home was 67.6 minutes earlier than before COVID-19. That is more than an hour earlier than before the pandemic. One in three respondents (36.7%) said that their “dinner plans end before 9 p.m.”
Earlier return was also seen in the number of dinner parties a day. 70.9% of respondents have ended their evening plans in the first round, significantly more than those who ended in the second (24.7%) and the third or more (4.4%).
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