• Kyodo

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The government will consider easing a rule on eating at movie theaters, economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said Monday, in an additional relaxation amid a recent decline in the number of novel coronavirus infections.

While movie theaters have been allowed to sell all their seats since Sept. 19, eating is only allowed if audiences are limited to 50 percent of seating capacity to prevent infection.

Movie theater operators had asked the government to ease the restriction, Nishimura, who is in charge of responding to the pandemic, told a news conference.

While the government has determined that it is safe to consume beverages in movie theaters, Nishimura said people need to take off face masks for longer periods to eat.

He added the government will make a decision on whether it is safe to relax the rule based on scientific data.

While the number of infections in the country has been on a downward trend since mid-August, an advisory group for the health ministry warned last week that the pace of decline has been slowing recently.

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