Osaka prefecture announced on Thursday that it has achieved its target as per its model for a staged removal of closure requests over the next seven days.
A special task force has now decided to gradually lift the requests in stages, according to the Mainichi Shimbun, with the lights of Osaka’s Tsutenkaku tower turning from yellow to green to mark the milestone.
The “Osaka model” is to lift restrictions of certain establishments based on decreases in three indicators, such as use of intensive care beds, and these conditions having been met for an entire week.
At the meeting, a wide range of industries were announced as subject to reopening as of midnight on 16 May.
Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said, “I want to aim for a society that lives with this virus while maintaining economic activity. However, we need to continue to remain vigilant.”
In addition to movie theaters, libraries, schools and universities being allowed to reopen, other commercial operations will also be allowed to resume regardless of whether their activity is deemed essential or not. Gaming and entertainment facilities, such as pachinko halls and internet cafes with a total floor space of 1,000 square meters or less, are also allowed to reopen.
Meanwhile, those industries that have been sources of infection clusters, such as night clubs and concert venues, are asked to remain closed.
The prefecture has also prepared manuals to prevent the spread of infection in preparation for a “second wave” of infections. In addition to asking restaurants to refrain from offering “family-style” shared plates, there are also calls to restrict entry to cinemas and theme parks at busy times.
Osaka prefecture began requesting businesses to close on 14 April based on the revised Act on Special Measures for Pandemic Influenza and New Infectious Diseases Preparedness and Response. However, this has resulted in serious damage to the local economy, including bankruptcies in the tourism industry.
Governor Yoshimura established Osaka’s exit strategy, dubbed the “Osaka Model,” on 5 May while the national government has not yet established its own standard procedure for lifting restrictions.