October 1 (WNN) — The state of emergency in several prefectures in Japan running through the Summer Olympic Games was lifted mostly on Friday after the country was rapidly eased.
Restaurants, theme parks and other high-traffic businesses prepared for crowds as the Japanese government lifted restrictions in time for the weekend. Japanese officials signaled Tuesday that the state of emergency was ending.
The state of emergency was in effect, the government said, as the coronavirus infection rate fell from a record 25,867 on August 20 to 1,576 on Thursday.
The sanctions had a negative effect. Minoru Sasaki, president of the liquor wholesaler company Sasaki Company, told media outlet Asahi Shimbun that they lost 20% of their customers because they permanently closed their business during the pandemic.
Sasaki said, however, that lifting the ban would benefit those still in business.
“Employees are looking forward to getting back in business,” Sasaki said. “So far, they’re talking about how they’ll have to diet to lose weight in the meantime. Everyone’s thinking positively, which is a big help.”
Despite the end of the state of emergency, some restrictions remain. Restaurants and bars that have been certified to comply with COVID-19 safety measures will be allowed to serve alcohol till 8 pm and remain open till 9 pm, with a capacity of four. They still can’t offer karaoke.
Events will be capped at 50% capacity and the government asked for caution when traveling between provinces and gathering in large crowds. It is still banning alcohol on the street and in parks.