In what can only be seen as a promising sign, Japan let the COVID state of emergency protocols expire in all prefectures at the end of September.
Tokyo and neighboring areas have been under restrictions since before the Olympics in July. The emergency protocols were extended to most of the country and extended as recently as the beginning of September.
According to an article in TimeOut, the government felt comfortable relaxing the restrictions because of a decrease in cases and increased vaccination rates nationwide.
While these changes will not affect visitors, they will significantly impact people living in Japan.
- Restaurants and bars that have been certified for following Covid-19 safety measures will be allowed to serve alcohol until 8 pm and stay open until 9 pm.
- Restaurants and bars that have not been certified have been asked to still refrain from serving alcohol and close by 8 pm.
- Table capacity will be limited to four people per group.
- Restaurants and bars must continue to refrain from offering karaoke services.
In addition to these changes, there are changes to locations serving large groups:
- Large-scale entertainment facilities (including Tokyo Disneyland) will be allowed to increase their maximum capacity from 5,000 people to 10,000 people per day.
- Commercial facilities, including department stores and cinemas, will be allowed to stay open until 9 pm.
- Events will be capped at 50 percent of venue capacity, or 10,000 people for venues with a maximum capacity of more than 20,000 people.
- Karaoke parlours that thoroughly sanitise their facilities and follow Covid-19 safety measures will be allowed to resume business.
Like several other Asian countries, Japan has taken a very cautious approach to control COVID and I think they would have been even more protective if not for the desire to hold the 2020 Olympics in 2021.
It’s apparent the government isn’t willing to let people enter the country until they’ve gotten the situation under control with their citizens. With cases going down and vaccinations increasing, the next month is called the ‘rebound prevention period.’
The safety measures put in place will be reviewed on October 24, when the government will decide how to proceed. I think everyone hopes they’re successful with the plan and eventually we’ll see the restrictions on the border relaxed a bit.
I wish I could have visited Tokyo Disneyland with a daily cap of 5,000 guests.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary