Japan to decide on easing curbs on events, eateries


Japan will formally decide on Friday to remove an existing spectator cap on attendance at large-scale events and relax rules on food establishments, mostly relating to any future Covid-19 state of emergency.

According to the new plan approved by a government panel of experts in the morning, full attendance at venues will be allowed under certain conditions even during future emergency measures, requiring having a system in place to check whether visitors have been vaccinated or hold a negative test result for the virus, reports Xinhua news agency.

“We will take every possible steps to protect the lives and health of people even under the next wave of infections so people can continue to lead safe and secure everyday lives,” said economic revitalization minister Daishiro Yamagiwa, in charge of the government’s coronavirus response, at the panel’s meeting.

Currently, attendance at large-scale events such as professional sports games and concerts has been capped at 5,000 spectators or 50 per cent of the venue capacity, whichever is larger. However, such limits would be lifted if event organisers could both check vaccination and test results as well as submit to prefectural governments their own anti-virus plans.

The new rules will possibly be implemented from late November. The move is made as Japan has seen a sharp decline in new Covid-19 infections and serious cases, and over 75 per cent of the country’s population have been fully vaccinated.

Food establishments, which have been recognized by local governments as having taken proper measures to prevent the spread of the virus, will be allowed to serve alcohol and stay open until 9 p.m. under any future state of emergency.

In addition, no time restrictions will be applied for such establishments under the less strict quasi-state of emergency.

Until now, restaurants and bars are still required to limit customers group sizes to four people per table.

The restriction will be lifted as long as business operators confirm customers’ proof of vaccination or negative test result on site.

Individuals can get the vaccination certificates 14 days after receiving their second shots.

The Covid-19 negative test results will be valid for three days after samples are taken. The test results will also be required for children aged six to 11 but will not be needed for those under six if they are accompanied by a guardian.

Meanwhile, travellers who hold proof of vaccination or a negative virus test result will be allowed to cross prefectural borders freely even under a state of emergency. The previous virus emergencies asked people to refrain from making nonessential outings.