Tokyo bans on-trade alcohol salesBy Melita Kiely
Japan’s prime minister has declared a state of emergency in Tokyo ahead of the Olympic Games this month, banning bars from selling alcohol.
As Delta Covid-19 cases in Tokyo rise, prime minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency for the capital to slow the spread of the virus.
Set to run from 12 July to 22 August, the state of emergency means alcohol sales in on-trade venues, including restaurants and karaoke bars, will be suspended. Venues will also have to close by 8pm.
Furthermore, the Olympic Games in Japan – which will take place from 23 July to 8 August – will be held without spectators at venues in and around the capital.
In a conference on Tuesday 7 July, the prime minister said: “Although the number of severely ill patients and the occupancy rates of hospital beds have remained at a low level, the impact of the mutated strains must be taken into account.
“We must strengthen the countermeasures to prevent the infections from spreading to the rest of the country again.
“Given the situation, we will issue a state of emergency for Tokyo, and extend [the current state of emergency] in Okinawa until August 22.
“In areas under the state of emergency, we will continue with the measures we have been undertaking and will uniformly suspend the serving of alcoholic beverages at restaurants.”
Japan is not the only nation to have imposed alcohol restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic.
South Africa’s government has introduced multiple nationwide alcohol bans since the start of the pandemic. The most recent ban was imposed for 14 days at the end of June, despite trade groups warning this could lead to an increase in illicit trade.
South African drinks group Distell felt the effects of the prohibitive measures on its 2020 fiscal results, with revenue down by 14.6%.
Earlier this year, The Spirits Business explored the impact the string of alcohol bans has had on the drinks trade in South Africa.