Bars and restaurants in a yokocho
Photo: Emran Yousof/Unsplash

Koike calls on bars, clubs and music venues to close, restaurants and izakaya exempted

Diners can only eat in at restaurants and izakaya from 5am to 8pm, while alcohol can only be served until 7pm

Emma Steen
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Emma Steen
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On April 8, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe finally made the call to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo, Osaka and five other prefectures to combat the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. In his press conference, Abe pointed out that the affected prefectures could now call for the closure of all 'non-essential businesses'. While Abe assured citizens that all medical facilities and supermarkets will continue to operate as usual, many were left wondering what other establishments would remain open until the declaration is lifted on May 6. 

Today, April 10, Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike held a press conference to clarify the types of businesses in the prefecture that are asked to close until the end of Golden Week. Koike divided the 'non-essential' businesses into six categories: amusement facilities, universities and schools, sports and games facilities, theatres, public halls and exhibition halls, and large-scale retail facilities selling non-essential goods.

Businesses in these categories include bars and clubs, music venues, clothing stores, karaoke rooms, pachinko parlours, internet cafés and libraries, among others. Koike noted that each business asked to close will receive compensation of ¥500,000.

Some commercial spaces with a total floor area of ​​less than 1,000sqm that are used for non-retail purposes will be allowed to remain open. Establishments spared from the month-long closure include department stores, laundromats, hairdressers and barber shops, veterinary clinics and public bathhouses. 

Restaurants and izakaya will also be allowed to continue operating, although diners can only eat in from 5am to 8pm, while alcoholic beverages can only be ordered until 7pm. Local restaurants are bound to struggle with a lack of customers in the coming weeks, but they can keep regular operating hours if their food is for delivery.

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