Owners of restaurants and bars in Tokyo, as well as Kyoto and Okinawa prefectures have expressed concerns after their areas were added by the government to the list of regions subject to stricter anti-virus measures.
Amid a sharp rebound in infections, the governors of Tokyo and the two prefectures were on Friday granted the authority to order establishments serving food and alcohol in targeted areas to close by 8 p.m. and impose fines of up to ¥200,000 ($1,800) for noncompliance.
“The atmosphere usually starts to warm up around 8 p.m. but we have to close the door by then,” said a 26-year-old manager of a Japanese-style izakaya pub near the capital’s bustling JR Ikebukuro Station.
“Damage will be big, even if it is just one hour difference,” he said before the new steps were to take effect Monday. The measures will last through May 11 for Tokyo.
Closing times for these establishments in Tokyo were just extended by one hour with the lifting of the second state of emergency at midnight on March 21.
A 32-year-old manager of another izakaya criticized the central and local governments’ handling of the pandemic, saying it seemed like they’re just reacting to the situation without a clear vision.
“I want (the governments) to take drastic measures,” he said.
Meanwhile, Yuko Miso, who runs a bar in Tokyo’s upscale Ginza district, expressed understanding of the Japanese and Tokyo metropolitan governments’ virus policies.
“Until we get infections under control, we have to cooperate with the request to shorten business hours,” she said.
However, the 48-year-old also added that preparations were key in advance of new measures.
“We need to prepare for it beforehand. I hope they will disclose their plans as early as possible,” she said.
Similar opinions were heard at restaurants and bars in Kyoto.
“We were pinning our hopes on the Golden Week holidays (from late April),” said Yoshiko Murata, a 77-year-old manager of an izakaya in Kyoto.
In Okinawa, April to May is the traditional season that people pay respects to their ancestors.
“I think it will be scaled down,” said Sachie Sonan, a 65-year-old resident who runs a sweets shop in Naha, the Okinawa’s prefectural capital.
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