Change in restrictions with the lift of the State of Emergency
The state of emergency and priority preventative measures issued in April 2021 were lifted in all prefectures on September 30, 2021.
We would like to ask for your continued cooperation in preventing the spread of infection.
Key points to be shared with the public
- After an evaluation of the current situation of infections and the public health/medical care system was conducted on September 28, 2021, it has been decided to end current measures taken as of September 30, 2021, as no prefectures fell under conditions of the state of emergency or the priority preventative measures.
- In regards to areas removed from the state of emergency, restrictive measures will be relaxed in stages, and necessary measures will remain in place until the spread of the virus is curbed to the equivalent of stage 2 or lower. Furthermore, effective and strong infection control measures shall promptly be implemented in case of a resurgence in infections.
- Residents are to continue basic infection prevention measures such as avoiding "The Three Cs," keeping a safe distance between people, wearing masks, and handwashing and other hand hygiene practices.
- In regards to the relaxation and revision of restrictions areas under emergency measures, we will adapt accordingly based on technical demonstrations of the "Vaccine and PCR Testing Package," discussions with local governments, business operators, and citizens, as well as the progress of vaccination statuses, and ideas of the Novel Coronavirus Infectious Disease Control Subcommittee (compiled on September 3, 2021) and the ideas for restoring daily life as vaccinations increase of the Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters (compiled on September 9, 2021).
■Prefectures that have been removed from the state of emergency are requested to take the following actions.
- In regards to outings, please cooperate with the following request from the prefectural government:
- Move in small groups, and avoid crowded locations and times
- Shift to flexible work styles based on working from home (telecommuting)
- Follow restrictions regarding nighttime activites, such as shortened hours at dining and drinking establishments
- When traveling to other prefectures for family visits, leisure, or business trips, please follow basic infection prevention measures. We ask for those who have not been vaccinated to get tested prior to traveling to prevent the spread of infection to other areas.
- In addition to the above, requests to refrain from non-urgent outings and unnecessary travel between prefectures may be made based on the situation of infections at the discretion of the prefectural governor.
- As a transitional measure in prefectures where the state of emergency has been lifted, large events and gatherings should be held either with a maximum of 5,000 people or a maximum of 50% of the capacity (with an upper limit of 10,000 people), whichever is larger, for one month. In addition, prefectural governors may decide to limit operating hours based on the infection situation in the area. Please hold the events following the restrictions set by the prefectural government.
- For the time being, dining and drinking establishments will be requested to shorten their business hours and cooperate based on the infection situation in the area. Measures will be relaxed in stages up after one month, based on the infection situation in the area. Establishments that meet certain requirements (e.g. the third-party certification system) and are fully committed to infection control will be allowed to open until 9 p.m., and establishments that did not receive third-party certification will be allowed to open until 8 p.m. The request to shorten the opening hours will be made by the prefectural governor according to the situation of the area.
- For dining and drinking establishments that offer karaoke services in stores (e.g. daytime snack bars and karaoke cafes), please follow the prefectural government's request to refrain from using such facilities for one month. After that, the prefectural governor will make a decision to ease the restriction, taking into consideration the infection situation in the area, vaccination status, and infection prevention measures in the store. For establishments offering karaoke services in karaoke box rooms, ensure that the rooms are not crowded and take all other preventative measures against the spread of COVID-19.
- Business operators should comply with industry-specific guidelines.
- Please do not drink alcohol in groups on the streets or in parks.
- Business operators are requested to reduce the number of employees commuting to work by 70% by utilizing teleworking and encouraging employees to take leave. As for workplaces that require employees' physical presence, please promote rotating shifts to reduce human contact. Companies that have not introduced teleworking are encouraged to start with what is possible. For example, out of the five weekdays, start with half a day of working from home and then increase it to two days.
- Business operators are requested to proactively announce their implementation status to reduce the number of employees commuting to work by 70% through telecommuting and other measures.
■Other prefectures are requested to take the following actions.
(1) Going out / Traveling
- Avoid situations that increase the risk of infection, such as "The Three Cs" and "Five Situations that Increase the Risk of Infection."
- Please follow basic infection prevention measures, such as keeping a safe distance between people, wearing masks, handwashing, and hand hygiene practices.
- Follow the "new normal" way of life to prevent the spread of infection.
- When traveling across prefectural borders, for example, for leisure trips and family visits, please take basic infection prevention measures, including avoiding "The Three Cs," and refrain from dining in a large group. If you have symptoms such as fever, refrain from such traveling.
- Refrain from unnecessary travel to areas where the infection is spreading.
- Use facilities that comply with industry-specific guidelines.
(2) Holding of social gatherings, events, etc.
- As a transitional measure in prefectures removed from the priority preventative measures, large events and gatherings should be held either with a maximum of 5,000 people or a maximum of 50% of the capacity (with an upper limit of 10,000 people), whichever is larger, for one month. In addition, prefectural governors may decide to limit operating hours based on the infection situation in the area. Please hold the events following the restrictions set by the prefectural government.
- In other prefectures, large events and gatherings should be held in accordance with the size requirements set by each prefecture (e.g. a maximum of 5,000 people or 50% of the venue capacity, whichever is larger).
- Regardless of the scale of the event, basic infection prevention measures should be taken, such as arranging seats so that "The Three Cs" does not occur, maintaining a safe distance between people, wearing masks, and the management of performers and participants during and after the event by the organizer. In addition, please prepare a list of participants, obtain their contact information, and encourage performers and participants to use the Contact Confirmation Application (COCOA).
- If the number of new cases of infection shows an increase, dining and drinking establishments may be requested to shorten their business hours according to the situation in the area. In this case, as the basic rule, certified establishments are to close by 9 p.m., and establishments that are not subject to the third-party certification system are to close by 8 p.m.
(3) Work commutes / Telework
- Please take steps to reduce human contact, such as working from home or teleworking, staggered work hours, and bicycle commuting. Companies that have not introduced teleworking are encouraged to start with what is possible. For example, out of the five weekdays, start with half a day of working from home and then increase it to two days.
- Business operators are requested to proactively announce their implementation status to reduce the number of employees commuting to work through telecommuting and other measures.
- Thoroughly implement measures, utilizing practical examples, to prevent infection in workplaces, including handwashing, hand hygiene practices, cough etiquette, maintaining a safe distance between employees, ensuring ventilation in the workplace, disinfecting areas that are touched by multiple people, ensuring that employees with symptoms such as fever refrain from going to work, testing employees with mild symptoms using tests like rapid antigen test kits, utilizing video conferencing to reduce the need for employees to travel for business, staggering lunch breaks, and taking preventative measures in communal living spaces such as dormitories. Also, take thorough preventative actions, such as avoiding "The Three Cs" and "Five Situations that Increase the Risk of Infection." Stay cautious when moving room to room at work, especially in common areas such as break rooms, change rooms, and smoking rooms, and use carbon dioxide measuring instruments in the workplace to monitor ventilation rates. Furthermore, in commercial establishments, including offices, please follow industry-specific guidelines.
(4) Use of facilities, etc.
- When cooperation is requested, such as restriction on the use of facilities, please follow the request of the prefecture.
- Facilities where clusters have previously occurred or where "The Three Cs" are known to occur are asked to cooperate with local government requests based on the infection situation in the area.
How to prevent resurgence in daily life
Points about dining
Choose a restaurant that is well ventilated, has sufficient distance between seats, has appropriately sized acrylic panels, and is not crowded.
Have your meal in a short time, do not drink alcohol in excess, do not talk loudly, and wear a mask when talking.
The more people you have in your group, the higher the risk. Try to eat only with family members or limit the number of people in your group to four.
Points about daily life
When going out, choose quiet times and places. Regardless of whether it is a weekday or holiday, refrain from eating in crowded locations.
Company management should strive to promote safe conditions in the workplace and opportunities for remote work.
Five situations that increase the risk of infection.
Situation 1Social gatherings with drinking alcohol
- Drinking alcohol improves mood and at the same time decreases attention. In addition, hearing is dulled and it leads to speaking in a louder voice.
- The risk of infection increases when large numbers of people are in a small space for a long time.
- In addition, sharing glasses and chopsticks increases the risk of infection.
Situation 2Long feasts in large groups
- Long-term meals, dinner receptions, and drinking alcohol at night increases the risk of infection compared to a short meal.
- The risk of infection is increased by eating and drinking in a large group of people, for example, 5 or more people, because in groups you have to talk louder and droplets of saliva spread more often.
Situation 3Conversation without a mask
- Talking at close range without a mask increases the risk of airborne or micro-droplet infection.
- Cases of infection without masks were observed during gatherings at daytime karaoke.
- Please be careful when traveling by car or bus.
Situation 4Living together in a small limited space
- Living together in a small limited space increases the risk of infection because the enclosed space is shared by several people for a long time.
- There have been reports of suspected infections in common areas such as dormitory rooms and bathrooms.
Situation 5Switching locations
- When you move to another location, such as when you take a break in a workplace, the risk of infection may increase due to the feeling of relaxation and changes of the environment.
- Suspected cases of infection were identified in break rooms, smoking areas, and changing rooms.
Points to keep in mind during dining
To all people
- If you are going to drink alcohol, you should:
- (1) Drink in small groups and for a short time.
- (2) Drink only with people you usually spend time with.
- (3) Don't drink too much or too often, and drink in moderation.
- Do not share chopsticks and glasses.
- Seating should be arranged diagonally across the table. Try to avoid sitting directly in front of or beside each other. There have been reports of infection where people were sitting in front of or right next to each other at meals, but not when sitting diagonally across from each other.
- Remove your mask only when eating and wear your mask when talking.
(Note that face shields and mouth shields*1 are less effective than masks*2.)
- Choose an establishment that complies with the guidelines*, such as proper ventilation and other measures.
- Do not participate in social activities if you are not feeling well.
- Establishments should follow the guidelines*.
(For example, make sure employees are in good health, wear masks, use effective acrylic panels at each seat, and use appropriate fans in combination with ventilation.)
- Encourage customers and staff to comply with the above practices and to download the contact verification application (COCOA).
Guidelines to keep following in all situations, including drinking situations
- The basic rule is to wear a mask and avoid "The Three Cs." Also, ensure good ventilation indoors.
- Keep social gatherings small and short.
- Don't talk loudly and keep conversations as quiet as possible.
- Clean and disinfect common facilities, and thoroughly wash hands and disinfect with alcohol.