On Friday May 22, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike officially announced the plan for reopening the city after the state of emergency expires. Tokyo is still under the order but has been reporting lower numbers of new Covid-19 coronavirus cases; the past week's total of new infections was 53.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the state of emergency in Osaka, Hyogo and Kyoto, which join the other 39 prefectures that have started to reopen. The state of emergency for Greater Tokyo is set to expire on May 31 but could be lifted as early as Monday, according to The Japan Times.
Last Friday, Koike unveiled the four-step roadmap for restarting Tokyo’s economy while avoiding a future spike in coronavirus infections. The Japan Times reports that right now, Tokyo is at step 0 – non-essential businesses are still closed and residents are staying inside as much as possible.
Step 1, the first stage after the state of emergency is lifted, includes the following changes.
- Museums and libraries will reopen with strict social distancing policies
- Restaurants will close at 10pm instead of the current curfew at 8pm
- Public events for a maximum of 50 people will be allowed
If the number of coronavirus cases remains low, the government will move onto step 2.
- Businesses without a previous cluster of outbreaks will reopen with shortened hours
- Public events for a maximum of 100 people will be allowed
And finally, step 3.
- All facilities without a previous cluster of outbreaks will reopen
- Restaurants and hospitality businesses will be allowed to stay open until midnight
- Public events for a maximum of 1,000 people will be allowed
A new system called ‘Tokyo Alert’ will be used to warn residents in case of a second spike in infections. To prevent that, residents are encouraged to adopt a new lifestyle, which includes social distancing, wearing masks and avoiding crowded places. At the time of writing, there are 5,113 confirmed cases in Tokyo.
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