The “Declaration of a State of Emergency in response to the Novel Coronavirus Disease” was lifted for the remaining five prefectures today, including Kanagawa, ahead of the May 31 target.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the cooperation from our residents and businesses, as well as for the dedicated efforts of our medical professionals, over the seven weeks since the state of emergency was declared on April 7.
We have faced an unprecedented situation with the state of emergency declaration. Going forward, I hope to work with residents and businesses to create a “new normal” and a new daily life.
In response to the state of emergency being lifted, the City of Yokohama’s basic policy direction will be to “prevent the spread of infection and drive socio-economic activity to create a new normal for residents.” The city will work under the two pillars of “resuming city projects and services as soon as infection control measures are in place,” and “providing active support for the recovery of economic activity based on national and prefectural policies.”
Starting in June, public facilities that were closed, civic services that were suspended, and city-sponsored events that were postponed or cancelled will soon reopen and resume once infection prevention measures are fully in place, based on national and prefectural policies, alerts, and specific guidelines.
Municipal schools will also reopen in stages, observing “staggered attendance,” “reduced school hours,” and other measures. This year will also have a shorter summer vacation, so school management will differ from a typical year. Teachers, parents, and the City of Yokohama will think of students first, and provide all the support we can.
We will promote activities in cooperation with the public to help prevent infection at shops and businesses. For example, we will work with shōtengai shopping districts and restaurant associations to raise awareness and support preventive measures at food and beverage establishments.
In addition, we hope to examine detailed plans for entertainment facilities like movie theaters and live music venues through dialogue with businesses.
Kanagawa Prefecture intends to rescind the request for business of all types to suspend their operations, on the condition that appropriate preventive measures are implemented based on industry-specific guidelines. Yokohama will coordinate closely with the prefecture to support businesses and take further measures as appropriate.
This month, the City of Yokohama compiled the largest-ever supplementary budget of 574.3 billion yen and an economic stimulus worth 769.4 billion to fund measures supporting daily life and the economy. The city is currently working under the three main pillars of protecting “lives and healthcare,” the “well-being of 3.75 million residents,” and the “vitality of Yokohama.”
Furthermore, in anticipation of the June City Council meeting, we will examine preventive measures in preparation for a second wave of the new coronavirus infections, as well as further measures to support daily life and the economy based on the national government’s second supplementary budget. To secure the needed funds for this purpose, we will make use of the public funds allocated in the second budget as well as review projects that were slated for the 2020 fiscal year.
Specifically, the budgets assigned to projects related to the Olympic and Paralympic Games that have already been cancelled or that will not proceed on schedule will be withheld. We will also consider delaying or cancelling projects that have little impact on residents’ lives or that do not address immediate problems.
I ask that Task Force members give thought to the actual situation faced by our residents and businesses: their needs and what problems they currently face. We will reevaluate city projects to secure funds and swiftly implement support measures while ensuring they reach the people and businesses that need them.
With the state of emergency lifted, the law does not require the city to maintain a task force headquarters. However, the virus has not been eradicated, and there is a possibility of a second wave. We will therefore keep the task force headquarters in place for now. The City of Yokohama will continue to be united in its resolve to protect the lives and livelihood of all our citizens. Thank you to all our task force headquarters personnel.
The number of new patients testing positive today was zero. While we should avoid becoming preoccupied with every single number, I believe today’s result was achieved thanks to the cooperation of our residents.
For its part, the City of Yokohama will maintain sufficient health care systems to prepare for a second wave. The economy is currently in a critical condition. It will come to a halt if restrictions are not lifted soon. If the economic wheels stop turning, it will be unable to maintain the daily lives of our residents. The city must respond to the prefecture’s policy of rescinding closure requests for businesses, regardless of industry. By placing socio-economic activity on track to recover, Yokohama will develop a new normal as soon as possible.
We continue to ask for cooperation from all residents. Please continue to take steps to protect yourselves, and the city will maintain its support for measures to prevent the spread of infections. Help us overcome this difficulty together.