COVID quasi-emergency for 13 more prefectures

NHK -- Jan 20
The Japanese government has decided to declare a quasi-state of emergency for 13 additional prefectures, including Tokyo, over a surge in coronavirus infections. The declaration will be in place from Friday through February 13.

The 13 prefectures are: Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Gunma, Niigata, Aichi, Gifu, Mie, Kagawa, Nagasaki, Kumamoto and Miyazaki.

The latest move will expand the areas under the declaration to 16 prefectures. Intensive measures are already in place in Okinawa, Yamaguchi and Hiroshima prefectures, where cases increased earlier.

The government has also decided to temporarily suspend, in principle, a program using COVID-19 vaccination records or negative test results to relax social restrictions. This is because there is concern that fully vaccinated people could still become infected.

But the government will also allow each governor to utilize the program according to the local situation.

Details of the quasi-emergency measures that some of the 13 prefectures plan to implement are as follows:

Tokyo:

The metropolitan government is set to ask pubs and restaurants in Tokyo to cut business hours starting on Friday through February 13.

Eating and drinking establishments that have been certified as taking anti-virus measures will be able to choose their operating hours with or without serving alcohol: those serving alcohol can remain open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., including 9 hours of serving alcohol until 8 p.m. Those not serving alcohol should close at 8 p.m.

People who eat or drink together will be limited to four per group. But more than five will be allowed if all of them provide negative test results.

Non-certified establishments will be asked to close at 8 p.m. without serving alcohol. The number of customers will be limited to four per group.

Establishments that serve alcohol and close by 9 p.m. will be paid 25,000 to 200,000 yen a day.

Those that close by 8 p.m. without serving alcohol will be paid 30,000 to 200,000 yen per a day.

Facilities other than eateries will not be requested to shorten hours, but will be asked to follow the guidelines set for each industry.

Tokyo residents will be asked to refrain from non-essential outings or to avoid crowded places and crowded times when they go out. They will be also asked not to frequently go to eateries that don't shorten their hours.

Saitama Prefecture:

A quasi-emergency measure will be applied to the entire prefecture. Pubs and restaurants, both certified and non-certified, will be asked to close by 8 p.m. and not to serve alcohol.

Establishments will be allowed to open until 9 p.m. if they have pre-registered for the government's program.

No restrictions on the number of customers will be imposed for those establishments if they confirm customers' vaccination records or negative test results.

The eateries will be able to serve alcohol between 11 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Chiba Prefecture:

The prefecture will not ask certified restaurants and pubs to stop serving alcohol, but they will be urged to close at 9 p.m.

Those that comply with the request will be eligible for financial support.

Non-certified establishments will be asked not to serve alcohol and to close by 8 p.m. They won't be paid any compensation even if they comply with the requests.

People who eat or drink together will be limited to four per group. But for wedding receptions, more than five people will be allowed per table if negative test results are confirmed. The prefecture is calling for advance notification of such events.

Kanagawa Prefecture:

The prefecture will apply a quasi-emergency measure to the entire region.

It will allow certified eating and drinking establishments to choose from two options. One is to close by 9 p.m. and stop serving alcohol by 8 p.m. The other is to stay open until 8 p.m. without serving alcohol.

Uncertified establishments will be asked to close by 8 p.m. and not to serve alcohol.

Establishments that comply with the requests will be paid compensation. If they stay open until 9 p.m., they will be paid 25,000 yen to 75,000 yen, according to their sales. If they stay open until 8 p.m., they will be given 30,000 yen to 100,000 yen.

For wedding receptions at certified establishments, no cap will be imposed on the number of participants if they all test negative on the day of the ceremonies.

The upper limit for large-scale events is set at 20,000 people. But the cap will be lifted if attendees test negative on the day of the events.

Niigata Prefecture:

While the quasi-emergency measures are in place, all eating and drinking establishments in the prefecture are expected to be asked to shorten their operating hours.

Certified establishments will likely be able to either serve alcohol until 8:00 p.m., one hour before closing, or to stay open until 8:00 p.m. without serving any alcohol.

Non-certified places are expected to be asked to close at 8:00 p.m. without serving any alcohol.

Aichi Prefecture:

Anti-infection measures will be applied in 52 municipalities, excluding Toei Town and Toyone Village.

Eating and drinking establishments that have been certified as taking anti-virus measures will be able to choose whether to remain open until 8:00 p.m. without serving alcohol, or to serve alcohol until 8:00 p.m. and close at 9:00 p.m.

Larger subsidies will be available for establishments that do not serve alcohol.

Non-certified establishments will be asked to close at 8:00 p.m. without serving alcohol.

People who eat or drink together will be limited to four per table.

For large-scale events, including sporting events, up to 20,000 spectators will be allowed if their organizers' anti-infection plans are confirmed by the prefectural government. The attendance cap will be set at 5,000 for other events.

Schools will be asked to consider staggering hours or having students attend classes on alternate days or hours, as well as providing lessons online.

For extracurricular activities, schools will be asked to refrain from holding practice matches and going on training camps.

They will be urged to take precautions for other events outside school, including school excursions, by closely checking the situation of the destinations.

Gifu Prefecture:

The prefecture is to ask local pubs and restaurants, both certified and non-certified establishments in all municipalities, to close by 8 p.m. and not to serve alcohol.

Eating and drinking establishments that comply with the request will be paid 30,000 to 200,000 yen a day.

The prefecture will not follow the government's program using COVID-19 vaccination records or negative test results to relax social restrictions.

Kagawa Prefecture:

The prefecture will take anti-infection measures targeting seven cities, including its capital Takamatsu, and four towns.

Restaurants and pubs that are not certified by the municipalities will be asked to close by 8 p.m. and not to serve alcohol.

Certified establishments will be given two options. They can serve alcoholic drinks up to 8 p.m. and stay open until 9 p.m., or open until 8 p.m. without serving alcohol.

The prefecture will adopt the central government's plan to temporarily suspend a program to utilize proof of vaccinations or negative test results in relaxing anti-virus restrictions.

It will not limit the number of people eating together if all of them have taken PCR tests.

Nagasaki Prefecture:

The prefecture has decided to apply the quasi-emergency measures to the cities of Nagasaki and Sasebo. Eating and drinking establishments in these cities have been asked to close at 8:00 p.m. and refrain from serving alcohol throughout the day.

Small and mid-sized establishments that comply with the request will be paid 30,000 to 100,000 yen a day. Large establishments will be paid 40 percent of the losses they incur for abiding by the request. There will be a ceiling of 200,000 yen per day.

The Nagasaki governor has called on residents to refrain from non-essential travel outside the prefecture. Residents of Nagasaki and Sasebo cities are being asked to refrain from non-essential outings. If they dine out, they are requested to use certified establishments with a limit of four people who are often together and with a time limit of less than two hours.

Miyazaki Prefecture:

The prefecture will take anti-infection measures targeting Miyakonojo City and Mimata Town, where coronavirus infections are surging.

The prefecture has already asked eating and drinking establishments in the two municipalities to close at 8:00 p.m. and to refrain from serving alcohol throughout the day, starting January 16.

The establishments that comply with the request are now eligible for daily payments of 20,000 yen from the prefecture. The prefecture plans to offer subsidies of 30,000 to 200,000 yen per day using funds from the central government.

The prefecture will not ask residents to refrain from going out. But it is asking residents of two target areas, as well as the cities of Miyazaki and Nobeoka where infections are surging, to stay in their municipalities unless they are going out for essential reasons, including work or school.

全国の新規感染者は初めて3万人を超え、過去最多を更新しました。  18日、全国の新規感染者が3万人を突破、過去最多です。急速に感染が拡大するオミクロン株に政府は・・・。