Tokyo Will Pay Nightclubs to Close to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
Tokyo reported 243 new cases on Friday — a new record.
Tokyo will pay nightclubs that volunteer to close amid a spike in COVID-19 cases there, according to reports.
The measure comes after Japan's capitol city reported 243 new cases on Friday, a new daily record, The New York Times noted.
Of those, most were recorded among people in their 20s and 30s and may be linked to increased testing at nightclubs — more than 3,000 people were tested in popular nightlife districts, including Shinjuku and Ikebukuro, according to The Guardian.
But in an effort to mitigate the spread, Tokyo officials said the city will pay any nightlife business that agrees to close for 10 days or more a sum of 500,000 yen (or nearly $4,700) to offset the loss of revenue, The Guardian reported.
Additionally, workers considered hosts or hostesses — whose job it is to talk to customers — who are diagnosed with COVID-19 will be paid 100,000 yen (or about $937) to stay home from work.
“The many cases of infection that have been confirmed may cause trouble for other areas of business, for which we are truly sorry, but we are trying to take precautions to prevent infections at many of our establishments,” a spokeswoman for the Japan Night Entertainment Business Association told public broadcaster NHK, according to The Guardian. “Many people in our industry need to work to survive, so we are asking the authorities to support us.”
These measures are necessary to encourage the businesses to close since Japan does not have any legal power to force businesses to close, Bloomberg reported.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe first declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and six other prefectures in early April, requesting people stay at home. The Olympic Games in Tokyo, originally slated to start in July, were postponed as well. But by mid-May, restrictions had been lifted in most of the country and by the end of May, they were lifted in Tokyo as well.
In total, Japan has recorded just over 21,000 confirmed cases of the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Nightclubs aren’t the only businesses in Japan that are taking action to prevent the spread of the virus. Theme parks are asking thrill seekers to avoid screaming on roller coasters as it could produce droplets from people’s mouths.