On October 20, the national government decided to end the period of restrictions in place to prevent a rebound of infections as of October 24 for Kanagawa and the three neighboring prefectures. A period of basic restrictions has been put in place from October 25 through November 30.
In response, starting October 25, the City of Yokohama will allow normal hours to resume at public facilities, the serving of alcoholic beverages, and the normal operation of city-organized or co-organized events in principle. The attendance cap of 10,000 will remain in place for city-organized and co-organized events until the end of October.
I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to all residents, businesses, and health care workers for their substantial cooperation during this challenging time.
In particular, thank you to our local businesses that have cooperated with the requests to shorten business hours and suspend alcoholic beverage service for very nearly eleven months since December last year. Allow me to express my sincere appreciation once again.
I believe we are at last gradually reaching the stage where we can resume measures to drive economic recovery.
Starting October 15, Yokohama has resumed issuing coupons for local accommodations and subsidized day trip packages, though they are currently limited to residents of Kanagawa Prefecture. In December, we will launch a new campaign where residents can accumulate points based on their receipt amounts from restaurants.
We will continue to work closely with our local businesses affected by the prolonged pandemic and swiftly implement support measures as needed.
We have also started to see days where the daily number of new cases has been fewer than 10, and I believe the number of new infections is steadily decreasing.
However, we must remain vigilant.
While cases have comparatively decreased in Yokohama, the city is currently preparing for the arrival of a sixth wave of infections.
Most importantly, it remains an urgent issue to accelerate the vaccination rollout for residents, and especially to raise the vaccination rate for those in their teens, 20s, and 30s. We recently set up a vaccination venue operating late at night and early in the morning aimed at younger residents. We aim to move the plan forward by a month and reach the target vaccinated resident rate by the end of October.
It is also necessary that we secure more hospital beds. At one point during the fifth wave, the bed occupancy rate for patients with moderate or severe symptoms approached 90%. We are continuing to work to expand the number of available beds to avoid a shortage during a sixth wave. A specialized hospital to treat COVID-19 patients is also under development.
The city is also planning to organize advisory boards to get feedback from health care workers treating patients.
“Protect the lives and livelihoods of Yokohama residents while restoring the city’s economy.” We will continue to devote the full efforts of the city to achieve both of these priorities.
To all department heads:
We now face the daunting challenge to stop the spread of infections and revitalize the local economy. Please gauge the current needs of individuals and businesses accurately, and work to fulfill your assigned duties.
Make sure to implement basic preventive measures whether at work or not, and continue to ensure that every employee is informed to avoid actions that increase the risk of infection.
To Yokohama residents and businesses:
The autumn holiday season is approaching, and I expect there will be more opportunities to go out and enjoy means as a group. However, it is still possible to catch a “breakthrough infection,” even among those who have received both doses of the vaccine, and seasonal influenza requires caution as well.
To avoid a major rebound of infections, I ask that all residents observe basic measures to prevent infection. For those who wish to get the vaccine or are unsure about whether to get it, be aware that it is currently very easy to make appointments, so please consider taking this opportunity to arrange to get the vaccine.
In addition, I request that our eating and drinking establishments serve only groups of no more than four people or families that live together for a maximum of two hours, and continue to implement thorough infection prevention measures.
Please remain vigilant as you enjoy healthy and fulfilling autumn and winter seasons. Thank you.