Kyoto/Sendai – The Kyoto Prefectural Government decided Friday to ask restaurants and bars in 16 municipalities in the prefecture to move up their closing times to 9 p.m. or earlier to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The request, decided upon at the day’s meeting of the prefectural government’s coronavirus task force, will take effect on Monday and last until April 21.
The prefecture saw the need for tighter rules as neighboring Osaka, as well as Kobe and three other cities in Hyogo Prefecture, will be subject to stronger coronavirus countermeasures under a pre-emergency status starting Monday and continuing until May 5.
The seven-day average of infections in Kyoto Prefecture has topped 30, the threshold set by the prefectural government for sharply raising its alert level for the virus. On Friday, the prefecture reported 68 new cases.
“We need to take stronger countermeasures before the infection situation in our prefecture worsens to levels similar to those in Osaka and Hyogo prefectures,” Kyoto Gov. Takatoshi Nishiwaki told a news conference after the meeting.
The Kyoto government will pay ¥40,000 in aid per day to establishments that accept the request for shorter business hours.
Residents of the prefecture will be asked to refrain from traveling to Osaka and Hyogo prefectures, as well as to Tokyo, which is also seeing a rebound in coronavirus cases.
Also on Friday, the Miyagi Prefectural Government, whose capital, Sendai, will also be subject to pre-emergency measures, developed plans to enhance coronavirus countermeasures in the rest of the prefecture as well.
As part of the measures, restaurants serving alcohol and bars will be requested to end daily operations by 9 p.m. during the period from Monday through May 5. Compliant facilities will be given ¥40,000 in aid per day.
The prefectural government’s plans were approved at Friday’s meeting of mayors of Miyagi municipalities and will be formalized on Saturday.
“The prefecture’s finances are tight, but saving the lives of local residents is more important than anything else,” Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai told reporters on Friday.
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