For a time, Tokyo felt like a shadow of what it once was, with restaurants closing uncharacteristically early and famed bars going teetotal with mocktails instead of the usual fantastic cocktails. Covid-19 has changed our lives and the city as we know it, but following the government’s recent decision to lift the restrictions imposed on local businesses, it looks like Tokyo is closer than ever to being back to business as usual.
For the first time in 2021, Tokyo’s restaurants and bars are no longer required to stop serving alcohol or close by a certain time as of October 25. Well, at least the majority of them, anyway. The 102,000-plus bars and eateries that have been certified for following Covid-19 safety protocols will be cleared to stay open and serve alcohol for as long as they like. For the roughly 18,000 businesses remaining that haven’t been certified, they are still asked to stop serving alcohol by 9pm.
A similar ease in restrictions is also happening in Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, Osaka and Kyoto prefectures. Meanwhile, Okinawa is preparing to ease restrictions on eateries from November 1.
While a drop in new Covid-19 infections paired with higher rates of vaccination is a promising sign for the city, the Tokyo government is still urging people to remain cautious, with a premonition that infections could spike again near the year-end holidays. Restaurants are asked to limit the number of people to four per table, though larger groups may be seated together if everyone can provide proof of vaccination.
Additionally, drinking on the streets and in undesignated public spaces is still discouraged. To curb crowds from gathering on this Halloween weekend, The Mainichi reports that Shibuya ward has requested 42 shops to refrain from selling alcohol from 6pm to 5am on October 30 and October 31. Similarly, citizens are requested to participate in a virtual Shibuya Halloween instead.
Hopefully this is the last of the restrictions, so that we can get back out there and enjoy our beloved city to the fullest before we ring in 2022.
More from Time Out
Want to be the first to know what’s cool in Tokyo? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest updates from Tokyo and Japan.