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Tokyo to lift '8 per table' rule for COVID countermeasure-certified eateries

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government headquarters are seen in this file photo. (Mainichi/Makoto Ogawa)

TOKYO -- Restaurants in the Japanese capital certified as taking proper coronavirus countermeasures will be able to drop the current "up to eight people per table" rule after May 22, when the Tokyo Metropolitan Government ends its COVID-19 infection rebound "alarm period."

    Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike told the metropolitan government's coronavirus task force meeting on May 20 that Tokyo has decided to end the alarm period as "a post-Golden Week holiday period spread of infections that had been a concern was not observed." She added, "From now on, we would like to move to a phase where we contain infections by thoroughly taking basic preventive measures." She explained that the capital's COVID-19 patient hospital bed occupancy rate has fallen to around 15%, and strain on the medical care system has eased.

    While the metropolitan government will lift a request to follow the eight people per table rule for certified establishments, non-certified restaurants will continue to be subject to a demand that they keep customers per table to four, and stop serving alcohol after 9 p.m. Tokyo will also continue asking residents and businesses to take thorough basic infection prevention measures, including remote work and avoiding commute during rush hour.

    Meanwhile, the metropolitan government's travel subsidy program targeting Tokyoites traveling within the capital will partially resume by the end of June. Under the program, the Tokyo government will cover part of accommodation and travel costs for those who have received third COVID-19 vaccine shots and other residents. The metropolitan government will announce the details at a later date.

    (Japanese original by Hitomi Saikawa, Tokyo City News Department)

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