Photo/Illutration Many visitors wear face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus at Tokyo’s Ueno Park on March 21. (Shiro Nishihata)

Although cherry blossom viewing season has started, the outbreak of the new coronavirus has sobered those looking forward to drinking in the shadow of the pink spring flowers.

Signs posted on March 21 at Tokyo's Ueno Park, famed for its sakura trees, warned that parties with alcohol are not allowed.

The Tokyo metropolitan government has called on the public to refrain from holding drinking parties during the “hanami” cherry blossom viewing season to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

At Ueno Park, somei-yoshino cherry trees were half in bloom on March 21, and many visitors were wearing face masks as a precaution against infections.

Every spring in the park, large numbers of groups of people eat and drink while sitting on tarps spread out on both sides of a road lined with cherry trees, while strollers also admire the flowers.

The temperature rose to 21 degrees in central Tokyo on March 21, almost the average in late April, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.