Tokyo Bars Can Stay Open Until 10 Under Governor’s Exit Roadmap

(Bloomberg) --

Bars in Tokyo can keep serving until 10 p.m. and students can soon begin to return to schools as part of a roadmap to reopen the economy in Japan’s capital outlined Friday by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.

Restrictions in Japan’s most populous metro area, already loose compared to some other major global cities, could be eased as early as next week if the national government lifts the state of emergency on Tokyo on Monday. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would convene a meeting of an expert panel advising the government, with daily new cases of the virus falling to single digits in the capital in recent days.

Koike showed a three-stage reopening, which could begin with stage one on Tuesday with libraries and museums reopening, events of up to 50 people permitted and professional sports games allowed to take place, but without spectators.

Stage two would allow theaters and cinemas to resume operations, while arcades and pachinko parlors would remain shut until the third stage is reached, when bars can open until midnight. Clubs, gyms and karaoke booths will be asked to stay closed even in the third stage. Schools would resume initially one day a week on shortened hours.

Tokyo will continue to monitor the spread of infections, using seven criteria including the number of cases, growth compared to the previous week and the amount of cases that can’t be traced. Should the situation change, such as an increase of daily infections to 50, the city could issue an alert to residents and call for tighter restrictions. Just three new confirmed cases of the pathogen were reported in Tokyo on Friday.

While Japan lacks legal power to impose lockdowns under the state of emergency, residents have largely responded to calls to stay at home and many businesses have shut their doors. The emergency was lifted Thursday for Osaka and the two adjoining prefectures of Kyoto and Hyogo, and now remains in place in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures, as well as for the northern island of Hokkaido.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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