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Japan’s Pachinko Parlors ordered to halt operations amid “Fourth Wave” of COVID-19

Pachinko parlors have been requested to suspend operations once more till May 11th to help curb the spread of the pandemic

With the daily new cases of COVID-19 hitting record highs in Japan, the central government has declared a new state of emergency in four urban Japanese prefectures: Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo. Medical experts have described this as a "fourth wave" of the pandemic and imposed further restrictions including the suspension of various pachinko parlors.

Pachiko parlourThe nationwide tally topped 4,300 new cases, the highest since Jan. 23, with Hyogo Prefecture adjacent to Osaka also confirming a record 507 cases, as highly contagious variants are spreading around Osaka with Tokyo also seeing them rising.

According to Asia Gaming Brief, Pachinko parlors with a floor area of over 1000 square meters, including those smaller parlors, have been ordered to suspend business until May 11.

In line with this, a blanket ban has been imposed on bars and restaurants from serving alcohol, and operations will run only until 8pm, and businesses which resist these orders could be fined.

Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura previously stated the government is considering requesting schools to switch to online lectures and suspend student club activities as part of efforts to curb the infections.

The Tokyo Amusement Business Cooperative Association has advised member companies that do keep their outlets open to adopt a low profile, shortening business hours, stopping outdoor advertising, and turning off all neon lights by 8pm.

SiGMA News has recently reported that according to the regular monthly survey of All Japan Amusement Business Cooperative Association, to which about 90% of all pachinko businesses are in, at the end of March the number of pachinko outlets were 111 lesser compared to the end of February.

Furthermore, according to Asia Gaming Brief, pachinko parlor revenues are running at about 75 percent of the levels that they attained before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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