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Osaka Prefecture, city launch restaurant patrol groups amid virus 'quasi-emergency'

This partially altered photo shows a member of the Osaka prefectural and municipal governments' patrol group checking a restaurant's infection prevention measures, in Osaka's Kita Ward on April 5, 2021. (Mainichi/Tatsuya Fujii)

OSAKA -- The Osaka Prefectural Government and the Osaka Municipal Government on April 5 jointly launched a patrol group that will call on eateries to observe thorough anti-coronavirus steps in accordance with the prefecture's "quasi-emergency" measures currently in effect.

    Under quasi-emergency measures, eateries are urged to make stronger anti-infection provisions, and noncompliant businesses can be subjected to administrative penalties. The rules came into effect on April 5 in six municipalities in Osaka, Hyogo and Miyagi prefectures amid a resurgence in coronavirus infections.

    On April 5, a departure ceremony for the patrol group was held at the Osaka Municipal Government office building. Mayor Ichiro Matsui said at the event: "We do not aim to accuse violators. I want you to offer sincere explanations, and increase the number of compliant eateries."

    After the ceremony, a total of 40 prefectural and municipal governments employees went in pairs to visit each restaurant in the city's Kita Ward and other areas. They checked if they had installed plastic boards to block airborne droplets, and told businesses to urge mask-wearing among dining customers. They also looked to see if restaurants were cooperating with government requests to shorten business to 8 p.m. The patrol group will continue to be active until the quasi-emergency period ends on May 5.

    In neighboring Hyogo Prefecture, government officials will patrol some 16,000 restaurants in the cities of Kobe, Amagasaki, Nishinomiya and Ashiya.

    (Japanese original by Mirai Nagira, Osaka City News Department)

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