Business & Economy

Tokyo bars, restaurants asked to shorten work hours over COVID-19

Tokyo, Nov 25 (efe-epa).- The governor of Tokyo on Wednesday urged restaurants serving alcohol, bars and karaoke parlors to reduce their business hours in a bid to contain a surge in new COVID-19 infections in the capital.

Yuriko Koike said at a press conference that these establishments will be urged to close at 10pm for 20 days, starting Saturday, until Dec. 17, and announced that the authorities will offer financial assistance of up to 400,000 yen (about $3,800) to those who do so.

The governor said that the situation of infections continues to be serious and added that strong efforts needed to be made to prevent the health system from collapsing.

This is one of the measures adopted by the city to stop the spread of COVID-19 infections in the capital region, which recorded 401 new infections on Wednesday after seeing several days last week with daily new infections of over 500.

Tokyo had made a similar request between August and September, when the country was in the middle of a second wave of infections.

This measure by the local authorities comes after the number of patients in need of a ventilator reached its highest level – 54 until Wednesday – since the state of emergency in the country was lifted at the end of May.

In addition to asking bars and restaurants to shorten their operating hours, Koike also asked residents to refrain from making unnecessary trips outdoors and to take the necessary preventive measures in case they had to.

The Japanese leader also urged companies to promote teleworking.

Tokyo also announced the suspension until Dec. 17 of the Go To Eat program, launched to encourage people to eat out, but the governor said that the Go To Travel travel subsidy program could continue to be used.

Koike’s position contrasts with that of her counterparts in Hokkaido and Osaka, who asked the central government to be excluded from the program due to an increase in infections.

In response, the government on Tuesday announced the suspension until Dec. 15 of new reservations under the tourism program from and to the cities of Sapporo and Osaka, in the above mentioned regions, two of the four most affected by the virus in the archipelago along with capital area and neighboring Kanagawa. EFE-EPA


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