Restaurants and bars will close early in Tokyo and a dozen other areas across Japan beginning Friday as the country widens COVID-19 restrictions due to the omicron variant, which has caused cases to surge to new highs in metropolitan areas.
The three-week restraint, which is something of a pre-state of emergency, is the first in Tokyo since September.
While many Japanese adults are vaccinated against COVID-19, few have gotten a booster, which has been a vital protection from the highly contagious omicron. Experts at a government meeting sounded the alarm at the upsurge. They say while Tokyo has adequate available hospital beds now, they worry about the virus infecting the elderly, who could get seriously ill.
The record surge in Japan has been met by swift action on the part of the Japanese government, yet as Reuters reports, many have noticed that these increased measures have shown to, at times, have diminishing results.
Restaurants have received incentives to become more strict during the pandemic with the government giving about $263 per day to food establishments that don't serve alcohol and are willing to close at 9 p.m., according to NPR. Those that serve alcohol are asked to close at 8 p.m. and can receive about $220 per day from the government.