Shibuya, nightlife
Photo: Andre Benz/UnsplashStock photo of Shibuya nightlife

Japan may lift alcohol restrictions and resume Go to Travel later this year

Some restrictions could be loosened even during the extended Covid-19 state of emergency

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Emma Steen
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The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have come and gone, but parts of Japan are still under a state of emergency as the nation battles another outbreak of Covid-19. Though the state of emergency, which currently covers Tokyo and 20 other prefectures, was set to expire after September 12, the government is now gearing up to extend this deadline to September 30.

There is, however, a roadmap on the way to ease restrictions in the coming months for when most people have been fully vaccinated. Japan is already considering shortening the quarantine period for vaccinated travellers entering the country as early as this month. Plus, there are plans to relax rules for certain activities and business operations around November. 

Kyodo News reports that the plan could include ditching bans on the sale of alcohol at bars and restaurants and allowing people to attend large-scale events as long as they are fully vaccinated or test negative for Covid-19.

Restarting the Go to Travel campaign is also on the table, with the government expected to drop the advice to refrain from domestic travel once most people have been vaccinated. 

Restrictions on operating hours and the number of customers allowed at certain venues will also be eased, says NHK. Businesses, however, will still be required to follow certain safety guidelines being drafted by the government.

According to The Japan Times, the plan – if formally approved – will likely be implemented around November with trial runs of some eased restrictions expected to begin as early as next month. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to hold a press conference with more details following a task force meeting on Thursday evening.  

This article was originally published on September 3 and updated on September 9.  

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