Japan Declares State of Emergency in Tokyo as Covid Cases Rise
Written by tokyoclub on January 28, 2021
Still, the nation has a pressing reason, beyond saving lives, to stop new infections from spiraling: It is hoping to host the postponed 2020 Olympics this summer.
The biggest targets of the state of emergency will be restaurants. With a large majority of the public wearing masks on trains, at stores and in schools, experts have said that a significant share of transmissions was likely to be taking place during indoor dining, when people must take off their masks to eat.
With a request to close by 8 p.m., Takayuki Kojima, 56, manager of Platinum Lamb, a grilled meat restaurant in Shimbashi, a popular Tokyo neighborhood for after-work gatherings, said the restrictions would deprive businesses like his of their most popular operating hours.
“It’s the busiest time,” Mr. Kojima said. “Honestly, I feel like we are being told to stop running the business” altogether. He said many restaurants may go bankrupt. In addition to the restricted opening hours, he said, many of his usual customers will now be working from home.
Keiji Dobashi, 46, manager of Itamae Baru, a Japanese restaurant in Ginza, a popular shopping and nightlife district in central Tokyo, said that many sectors aligned with the restaurant business would suffer, including fish, vegetable and meat vendors, liquor shops, florists, uniform makers and even companies that manufacture the small hand towels known as oshibori, which restaurants provide to all customers before serving a meal.
But Mr. Dobashi said he was resigned to the restrictions. “I don’t think we have any other choice,” he said. “Until the pandemic is controlled, the economy won’t recover.”