Tokyo will enter a second phase in its relaxation of business restrictions in the capital over the coronavirus pandemic starting Monday, which includes reopening cinemas, sports gyms and cram schools, Gov. Yuriko Koike said Friday.
"I want (the operators of those facilities) to take thorough measures to prevent the spread of infection using this weekend," Koike said at a press conference.
Other facilities to be allowed to reopen include retail stores selling products other than daily necessities. Meanwhile, pachinko parlors, karaoke boxes and game arcades among other leisure facilities will remain shut, awaiting a third, or the final, phase of relaxation.
As in the current first phase, restaurants and bars still cannot serve alcoholic beverages after 10 p.m.
As for indoor events, organizers are required to cap the number of participants at 100, while also meeting another standard of not exceeding 50 percent of the capacity of the venue. For outdoor events, the number of participants is limited to 200 or less.
The Tokyo government initially planned to enter the second phase on Saturday but rescheduled it to ensure that business operators have more time for preparation and to coordinate with neighboring prefectures set to take similar steps, said Koike.
On when the third phase might start, Koike said she will make a judgment flexibly, suggesting it may be before two weeks, a standard duration to move into another phase in the road map.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday fully lifted Japan's state of emergency over the pandemic. But fears of the virus have resurfaced.
The Tokyo government reported 22 new infections in the capital on Friday. Figures of daily increase had dropped to as low as two just before the state of emergency was lifted.
Koike defended the decision to start the second phase, saying Tokyo has sufficient capacity for medical care as the numbers of patients with severe symptoms and inpatients at hospitals have declined.