Tokyo combats COVID upsurge by shutting bars early

Tokyo's governor on Wednesday asked bars and other places where alcohol is served to close earlier for three weeks to help prevent a resurgence of coronavirus infections from turning explosive.

Governor Yuriko Koike, after meeting with officials to discuss ways to combat the upsurge, said bars, karaoke outlets and restaurants serving alcohol in the city are being requested to close by 10 pm beginning Saturday until December 17.

"In order to prevent a further spread of infections and protect the lives of the residents of Tokyo, we are taking brief and intensive measures," Koike said, asking for the business owners' cooperation.

Tokyo will provide 400,000 yen ($3,800) in compensation to those who fully cooperate with the effort, she said.

The measures are Tokyo's first since it made a similar request at the end of August to eateries, karaoke bars and other drinking places in central and downtown Tokyo during an earlier wave of infections.

Koike also urged residents to avoid non-essential outings and return to remote working as much as possible, and be mindful of safety measures if they still choose to eat out during the upcoming holiday season. Parties should be limited to small groups and be brief, with participants not sharing food, talking quietly, and using masks while talking, she said.

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Free Press Journal