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The government on Thursday decided on a new policy of providing different amounts of aid to eating and drinking facilities that accept requests to cut opening hours in areas under states of emergency related to COVID-19, or new countermeasures against the disease, based on the size of their operations.

The move is designed to encourage cooperation with such requests from as many businesses as possible.

The government will apply the policy to six cities where new countermeasures will be imposed for one month from Monday. The six cities are Osaka, Kobe, the cities of Nishinomiya, Amagasaki and Ashiya in Hyogo Prefecture, and Sendai.

The government decided to introduce new COVID-19 countermeasures for Osaka, Hyogo and Miyagi prefectures on Thursday, with measures to curb infections set to be taken intensively in the six cities during the one-month period.

Under the previous aid system, up to ¥60,000 was paid per day for each outlet, regardless of business size.

But this was unpopular among large restaurant and pub chain operators, with many of them complaining that the amounts were not enough to cover labor and other expenses.

Eating and drinking establishments run by small companies will receive daily aid equivalent to 40% of their one-day sales in the previous business year or the year before that, with an upper limit set at ¥100,000, if they are asked to close at 8 p.m. or earlier. A facility with daily sales of ¥100,000, for example, will get ¥40,000 per day. The aid amount will be ¥100,000 for a facility with daily sales of ¥250,000 or more.

The minimum amount of daily aid will be ¥30,000 under the new mechanism. During the period until May 5, however, the minimum level will be ¥40,000, the same as that under the previous system.

For establishments run by large businesses, the amount equivalent to 40% of the size of sales decrease will be provided in aid per day, with an upper limit at ¥200,000.

In addition, outlets operated by small firms and sole proprietors will receive up to ¥200,000 and up to ¥100,000, respectively, if their sales drop by half due to the impacts of the new virus countermeasures.

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