Prefectural governors urged the central government on Sunday to clarify standards for suspending and resuming the Go To Travel tourism promotion campaign amid the resurgence of coronavirus infections.
The governors made the request through emergency proposals adopted during a videoconference of the National Governors' Association, which brought together 40 prefectural leaders.
There is confusion among businesses and would-be travelers after the government decided last week to suspend the campaign nationwide during the year-end and New Year's holiday period, the association said.
In addition to clear criteria for halting and resuming the campaign, it called on the central government to show at an early date its policy on what to do with the program after the suspension period and take flexible steps, such as restarting the program in areas where infections have subsided.
The subsidy campaign, aimed at helping the virus-hit tourism industry, is scheduled to be halted from Dec. 28 to Jan. 11 to reduce infection risks.
Regarding the special measures law on the fight against the coronavirus crisis, the association asked that governors be allowed to issue binding requests for restaurants to shorten business hours, with penalties imposed on eateries that don't comply.
Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura stressed the need to provide a legal basis for compensation payments to businesses that meet such requests.
Also in the proposals, the association asked the central government to give additional benefits to medical workers and expand the coverage of such payments, as well as provide assistance to medical institutions in weakened financial conditions.
At the conference, many governors criticized the government's abrupt decision to suspend the Go To Travel campaign for the entire country.
"The sudden policy shift has caused a great deal of confusion among people on the front line," Ishikawa Gov. Masanori Tanimoto said.
"If stronger countermeasures had been taken earlier, the government would have been able to limit the suspension to certain areas," Shimane Gov. Tatsuya Maruyama said.
Apart from the emergency proposals, the association called on the public to make careful decisions over whether to take trips to their hometowns during the holidays.
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