Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike on Thursday requested residents to limit the frequency of grocery shopping to every three days as part of steps to prevent supermarkets from becoming too crowded amid the coronavirus epidemic.
While crowds in busy downtown areas have fallen after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s declaration of a state of emergency and government stay-at-home requests, concerns have been raised about an increase in the number of people in suburban shopping centers and supermarkets.
At a news conference on Thursday, Koike also stressed the need to partner with supermarket industry bodies to plan ways to reduce overcrowding.
The suggested measures include informing customers of the quietest times, limiting the number of shopping baskets, setting aside times for the elderly and disabled and suspending bonus-point campaigns for certain days and times.
Koike had earlier said the enforcement of stricter rules, such as spreading the flow of customers by using specific time slots and limiting the number of people from each household going to the shops, may be necessary.
Meanwhile, the stay-at-home requests will remain in effect over the Golden Week holidays from late April to early May.
“I want to ask (Tokyo) residents to refrain from nonessential travel, and to especially refrain from going to sightseeing spots in other prefectures,” she said.
Tokyo confirmed 134 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing its total to 3,573. It also reported six fatalities, including that of 63-year-old actress Kumiko Okae, taking the capital’s death toll from the pneumonia-causing virus to 87.
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