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Tokyo eases COVID rules on booze, but only for 1 or 2 guests

Patrons can drink alcohol for 90 minutes, with 7 p.m. cutoff, starting Monday

An office worker visits a discount izakaya bar in Tokyo. Restaurants and pubs in the capital can serve alcohol during certain hours starting Monday, limited to groups of two people.   © Reuters

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Gov. Yuriko Koike said Friday that restaurants and pubs in Tokyo will be allowed to serve alcohol from Monday following the lifting of the coronavirus state of emergency in the capital.

People will be able to drink alcohol alone or in pairs for up to 90 minutes between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. at restaurants and bars certified as having taken steps to control infection, Koike told reporters. Osaka Prefecture has decided to enforce similar measures.

Such establishments would still be requested to close at 8 p.m., and should there be an explosive rise in infections in Tokyo, they will be requested to stop serving alcohol immediately if health experts deem it necessary, the Tokyo governor added.

If the situation improves, the metropolitan government will consider further easing measures based on the progress of vaccinations, Koike said.

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