The Tokyo Olympics are less than three months away, but with the number of active Covid-19 cases still worrying, the Japanese government has decided to extend the current state of emergency until May 31.
Last month, the four prefectures of Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo and Kyoto were placed under the third state of emergency April 25. Although emergency measures were initially scheduled to last until May 11, government officials have estimated that more time is needed to bring the rate of coronavirus infections back to safer levels.
In addition to extending the state of emergency in these four prefectures, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that the prefectures of Fukuoka and Aichi would also be placed under a state of emergency on May 12.
According to Kyodo News, restrictions for the rest of May will differ slightly from measures imposed at the end of April, and some restrictions will be relaxed during the three-week extension:
- Places serving food and beverages must continue to close at 8 p.m. and refrain from serving alcohol at all times
- Establishments that only serve alcohol are requested to remain closed for the duration of the emergency.
- Businesses will also be banned from offering karaoke services for the rest of the month.
- Some outlets, including cinemas and department stores, will be allowed to reopen for business but must close at 8 p.m. Check out our guide to shopping and department stores as well as our list of museums and attractions to see which sites in Tokyo will remain closed during the state of emergency.
- Events can again be organized with spectators, but will be limited to 5,000 participants or 50% of the room’s capacity and must end before 9 p.m.
- Nikkei Asia reports government still calls on people to stay home and avoid all non-essential outings, with goal of cutting commuters by 70%
NHK reports that some prefectures apply stricter restrictions than others during the emergency extension. For an overview of emergency rules outside Tokyo, check out this NHK Guide.
Prefectures that are currently observing near-urgent measures will also see restrictions extended until the end of the month. According to NHK, that includes Chiba, Saitama, Okinawa, Kanagawa and Ehime as well as the prefectures of Hokkaido, Gifu and Mie – the latter three were added to the near emergency as early as Sunday.
Tokyo reported 925 new cases of Covid-19 on May 11.
This article was originally published on May 7 and updated on May 11.
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