Omoide Yokocho
Photo: Watcharapong Thawornwichian/DreamstimeAn undated stock photo of Omoide Yokocho in Shinjuku

Confirmed: Tokyo will lift early closure rules for bars and restaurants on Monday

Covid-19 restrictions in Tokyo, Osaka, Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa will be relaxed from October 25

Emma Steen
Written by
Emma Steen

Though Tokyo officially ended its monthslong state of emergency on October 1, some rules were kept in place as the metropolitan government announced a plan to cautiously ease restrictions over a period of several weeks. The roadmap included the resumption of alcohol sales at bars and restaurants as well as extending opening hours until 9pm for venues that comply with a set of coronavirus safety measures. Those rules were set to be reevaluated near the end of the month. 

Opening hours for bars and restaurants extended

Now, Kyodo News reports that the Tokyo government will remove the limit on opening hours altogether following a task force meeting held on Thursday. Restrictions are set to be lifted from Monday October 25, though this will only apply to the roughly 102,000 eateries and bars across the city that have been certified for following Covid-19 safety measures. The remaining 18,000 venues that have not been certified will be asked to stop serving alcohol by 9pm.

But limits on group size remain

While opening hours are set to be extended, the maximum number of people per table will still be limited. In principle, only four people will be allowed at one table, but five people may be seated together if all members of the group can provide proof of vaccination. The limit on the number of people allowed per table will be in place throughout November, but the government may relax this rule after careful observation in the coming weeks.

Other prefectures are following suit

According to The Japan Times, this will be the first time Tokyo has had no restrictions on trading hours since November last year. But Tokyo isn’t the only area moving to ease restrictions. Hyogo and Kyoto prefectures are lifting restrictions as of Friday October 22. OsakaChiba, Saitama and Kanagawa have also announced plans to lift restrictions on business hours from Monday. 

NHK (in Japanese) reports that Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disneysea have already announced they will extend park operating hours from November 1, with Disneyland set to open from 9am to 8pm while Disneysea will operate from 9am to 9pm. 

Meanwhile, Okinawa is gearing up to relax restrictions on eateries from November 1.

This article was originally published on October 21 and updated on October 22. 

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