Japan will formally decide on Friday to lift an existing audience limit for attending major events, as well as relaxing the rules on eating and drinking establishments, which mainly relate to a future COVID-19 state of emergency as the country has seen a sharp drop in new and new ones severe cases of the novel coronavirus.
The new plan, approved by a government expert panel earlier this morning, will allow full attendance at the venues under certain conditions, including setting up a system to check if visitors have been vaccinated or tested negative for the virus. The upper limit will not be re-imposed in virus emergencies.
Spectators watch a professional baseball game between the Yakult Swallows and the Hiroshima Carp at Jingu Stadium in Tokyo on November 1, 2021. (Kyodo)
“We will take all possible steps to protect people’s lives and health during the next wave of infections so that people can continue to lead a safe and secure everyday life,” said the Minister for Economic Affairs, responsible for the government’s response to coronaviruses Resuscitation, Daishiro Yamagiwa. at the panel meeting.
Up until now, attendance at major events such as professional sports games and concerts has been limited to 5,000 spectators or 50 percent of the event capacity, whichever is greater. However, these limits will be lifted if organizers present their own antivirus plans to the prefecture in addition to checking vaccination and testing statues, including steps to ban cheering.
The Minister for Economic Revival in charge of the Japanese government’s coronavirus response, Daishiro Yamagiwa, speaks during an expert meeting in Tokyo on November 19, 2021. (Kyodo)
The new rules are expected to come into force at the end of November. The move comes because more than 75 percent of the country’s population is fully vaccinated.
Restaurants and bars that have been recognized by local governments as appropriate measures to prevent the virus from spreading are allowed to remain open and serve alcohol until 9:00 p.m. in any future state of emergency, compared to 8:00 p.m. under current rules.
People walk down a street full of restaurants and bars in Tokyo’s Shimbashi district on October 25, 2021. (Kyodo)
There will be no time restrictions for such facilities in the less stringent quasi-emergency state.
A current requirement that customers are asked to limit the group size to four people per table is lifted as long as the entrepreneurs confirm the vaccination certificate or the negative virus test result of the customers on site.
Vaccination certificates are issued 14 days or more after receiving the second vaccination. Negative test results are valid for three days after sampling.
COVID-19 test results for children under 6 years of age are not required when accompanied by a legal guardian, while children between 6 and 11 years of age require a negative test result.
In addition, travelers and business travelers can now freely cross the prefectural borders even in a state of emergency if they present proof of vaccination or a negative virus test result.
In the previous virus emergencies, people were asked not to go on minor excursions.