Following a Covid-19 task force meeting on April 23, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a new state of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures. The declaration comes after the prefectural governors formally requested that the central government declare a state of emergency in light of rising Covid-19 cases.
Until now, the prefectures had been observing quasi-emergency measures, where bars and restaurants were asked to close by 8pm, but the surge in new infections has made it necessary for more drastic steps to be taken.
Kyodo News reports that emergency measures are set to be in place from April 25 to May 11 and will effectively run through the national Golden Week holidays. Here’s what you need to know about the new restrictions placed on Tokyo:
- Cinemas, theme parks, department stores and other non-essential businesses with a floor space of over 1,000sqm are asked to close. Here is a roundup of major stores that are closed or reducing their trading hours during the emergency, as well as museums and other popular attractions that are temporarily closed
- Stores selling daily necessities will be allowed to remain open
- Venues that only serve alcohol (ie, bars) and karaoke parlours will be asked to close entirely for the duration of the emergency
- Restaurants will be allowed to remain open, but are asked not to serve alcohol at any time and to close by 8pm
- Large-scale events and sporting matches are asked to ban spectators
- Companies are asked to make sure that at least 70 percent of their employees work remotely
- Transport operators will be asked to stop running trains and buses earlier on weeknights and reduce services on weekends and holidays
- Schools will remain open, but universities are urged to switch to online classes
While this is not a hard lockdown, meaning people’s movements are not legally restricted, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike is imploring citizens to avoid non-essential outings and to refrain from leaving their homes after 8pm.
While the emergency declaration comes just three months before the opening of the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Prime Minister maintains that the temporary restrictions will not affect the Games.
This article was originally published on April 23 and updated on April 26.
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