Photo/Illutration A transparent sheet separates a teacher and a student to prevent COVID-19 infection at a cram school in Tokyo’s Toshima Ward on May 21. (Nobuo Fujiwara)

The Tokyo metropolitan government plans to take Step 2 in its COVID-19 road map as early as May 30 by easing restrictions on movie theaters, theaters, cram schools and most commercial facilities.

Although the decision depends on the daily number of new COVID-19 cases in the capital, metropolitan government officials said the recent trend has been favorable for the three-stage road map on relaxing restrictions that have been in place since early April.

Tokyo wants to stimulate economic activity by speeding up the transition from one stage to the next.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said at a May 22 news conference that her government will move to Step 1 of the road map from midnight May 25 if the state of emergency is lifted for Tokyo.

Under Step 1, restrictions will be eased for museums, libraries and schools, while sport facilities can hold events without spectators in the stands.

The Tokyo government expected each of the three stages to last for two weeks, but it also considered shortening the duration depending on the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Tokyo had an average of 7.1 new cases per day over the week through May 24. The figure meets the Tokyo government’s criteria on easing restrictions.

Tokyo’s board of education plans to reopen municipal schools on June 1 if the state of emergency is lifted. The board is also considering temporarily opening the schools by May 29 so that students can visit to prepare for a resumption of classes.