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Restrictions to be lifted for restaurants and bars in Tokyo area


Restrictions on the business hours of bars and restaurants in Tokyo and nearby prefectures are expected to be fully lifted Monday as improvement in the infection situation has been seen in Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama.

The Tokyo metropolitan government is preparing to lift most pandemic-related restrictions on designated bars and restaurants. According to the metropolitan government, there are about 120,000 restaurants and bars in Tokyo. Of those, 102,248, or 85%, had received government certification by Oct. 15. The Tokyo government will request that noncertified establishments finish serving alcohol before 9 p.m.

Tokyo will keep in place a voluntary restriction of no more than four customers per table, but is also considering the option of exempting customers with vaccination certificates from that limit. The final decision was to be made at a meeting of the metropolitan task force on Thursday, based on the opinions of experts.

Following the lifting of the fourth state of emergency at the end of last month by the central government, Tokyo designated Oct. 1 to 24 as a period for measures to prevent a resurgence of infection cases. During this period, the metropolitan government has requested that certified restaurants and bars close by 9 p.m. and noncertified ones close by 8 p.m. Only certified establishments are approved to serve alcohol, up to 8 p.m.

According to sources, the metropolitan government discussed the idea of continuing business hour restrictions for noncertified establishments and approving them to serve alcohol only before 8 p.m. However, since Tokyo also decided to stop payments to establishments that comply with the requests, it concluded that further easing of restrictions will be needed.

The governments of the three nearby prefectures also decided Wednesday that restrictions on business hours, time of serving alcohol and the number of customers to be accepted would be lifted Monday for all eating establishments including noncertified ones. Regarding the Go To Eat campaign to support eating and drinking establishments, the prefectures will allow customers to use discount vouchers for meals.

The Chiba and Kanagawa prefectural governments have designated the period until the end of November as a transitional observation period of continued vigilance against the spread of infection. Kanagawa asks restaurants and bars to cooperate by aiming to have “four or fewer customers per table for two hours.” Chiba has called on people to use certified establishments and said that it will make another decision on what to do after Dec. 1 based on the infection situation. Saitama plans to restart selling discount vouchers for the Go To Eat campaign on Nov. 4.

Published : October 22, 2021

By : The Japan News