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Tokyo area set to end COVID-19 restrictions on eateries

A man hails a taxi in Roppingi neighborhood, an entertainment district, in Tokyo on Oct. 20, 2021, as Tokyo Tower is silhouetted against the sunrise colored sky in the background.(AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures are set to lift COVID-19 restrictions on dining establishments from next week amid a steady decline in the number of infections, officials said Wednesday.

    Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures decided to no longer place any restrictions on dining establishments serving alcohol or their operating hours from Monday. They will also remove limits on the number of customers who can visit eateries at the same time.

    The Tokyo metropolitan government is expected to make its decision after hearing opinions at a meeting Thursday.

    Nationwide infections peaked at around 25,000 per day in August, triggered by the highly contagious Delta variant, but have since steadily declined. A state of emergency covering Tokyo and 18 prefectures was lifted on Oct. 1.

    On Wednesday, 391 cases of infections were reported nationwide.

    The western prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo are also planning to lift restrictions on eateries this week.

    Once the restrictions are eliminated in Tokyo, some 102,000 eateries certified as taking coronavirus measures will no longer be asked to stop serving alcohol by 8 p.m. and to close by 9 p.m.

    The metropolitan government is also considering easing restrictions for about 18,000 noncertified establishments.

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