Photo/Illutration Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, second from right, checks anti-virus measures at a restaurant in April in the capital's Shinjuku Ward. (Pool)

From next week, bars and restaurants in Tokyo and Osaka Prefecture will be able to serve alcohol--but only until 7 p.m. and under certain conditions.

The eased restriction is part of pre-emergency measures that will take effect June 21 following the lifting of an extended COVID-19 state of emergency the day before.

In Tokyo, eateries will still be requested to close at 8 p.m., according to the Tokyo metropolitan government. They will be allowed to serve alcohol between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. with a 90-minute limit for each customer. Only customers who come paired or alone will be allowed to wine and dine.

“We are trying to implement measures that win the cooperation and understanding of the public while lowering the risk of an ‘infection rebound’ as much as possible,” Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said June 17.

The metropolitan government was to formally announce the decision later on June 18.

Osaka prefectural authorities decided in a meeting the same day that 33 cities, including Osaka and Sakai, will remain under pre-emergency measures.

Eateries in those areas will be allowed to serve alcohol until 7 p.m. But they have to meet certain requirements and obtain a “gold sticker” from the prefectural government showing that precautions against the novel coronavirus are in place.

Requirements include setting up acrylic boards, ventilating interiors properly, disinfecting the premises frequently and enforcing the wearing of masks for patrons who come to dine.

Eateries in the 33 cities will still be requested to close at 8 p.m. Only customers who come paired or alone will be allowed to wine and dine, in principle.

(This article was compiled from reports written by Rihito Karube and Ai Asanuma.)