Full capacity events to be OK’d under government’s new coronavirus measures

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Spectators watch a baseball game between the Yomiuri Giants and Hanshin Tigers at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, on Nov. 6.

According to a government draft of coronavirus-related measures seen by The Yomiuri Shimbun, spectator caps for large-scale events will not be mandatory under certain conditions, even during a state of emergency.

Event organizers that compile infection mitigation plans will not be obliged to limit spectator numbers. Full capacity will even be allowed during a state of emergency if organizers confirm people’s vaccination certificates or negative test results in accordance with the government’s so-called vaccine and testing package.

The government plans to ease coronavirus-related restrictions as infection numbers have remained low. It also wants to establish measures that will enable economic activity to continue in the event of another wave of infections.

The measures are expected to be finalized on Nov. 19 and implemented in late November at the earliest.

Currently, the number of spectators at large events such as concerts or sports games is capped at 5,000 for venues with a capacity of less than 10,000 or 50% of capacity for larger venues.

Under the new measures, full capacity will be permitted if organizers compile infection mitigation plans that include efforts such as ensuring spectators do not cheer loudly.

Under a state of emergency, full capacity will be allowed at events that implement the government’s so-called vaccine and testing package.

If organizers do not confirm vaccination certificates or test results, spectator numbers will be capped at 10,000 under a state of emergency or 20,000 under less strict “priority measures.”

According to the draft measures, pandemic-related requests for restaurants and bars will also be eased. Currently, eateries are asked to limit group diners to four people per table.

Previously, eateries in the emergency area were asked to close by 8 p.m., not serve alcohol, and limit customer numbers. Under the new measures, certified eateries would be able to serve alcohol and stay open until 9 p.m. if another COVID-19 state of emergency was issued, and if they confirm customers’ vaccine certificates or test results there will be no limits on group sizes.