State of emergency lifted; business slowing returning to a "new normal"

The state of emergency for the Tokyo metro area and Hokkaido was lifted on May 25, following a drop in new cases of COVID-19.


Many businesses that shut down during the 7 week "soft lockdown" are starting to resume operations with reduced hours and social distancing measures. A major barbershop chain resumed services in most of their shops with staff wearing transparent face shields in addition to masks. 


NPB was quick to announce its pro baseball season will start on June 19th and it hopes to play a 120 game season. The games will initially be played without letting in spectators. 


There is still a voluntary restraint order for non-essential domestic travel, which will be lifted on June 19th. To help the tourism industry, the government announced the "GoTo Campaign" offering coupons that will discount up to 50% of accommodation costs.


Meanwhile it is likely international travel to Japan will take time to resume. Neighboring Asian countries with low infection rates such as Taiwan, Vietnam or Thailand could be candidates of countries that will first be allowed into Japan, but there has been no mention whatsoever of specific dates or necessary guidelines.


Note (May 27): Some foreign media reported the travel subsidy is targeting international visitors to Japan but the Japan Tourism Agency mentioned these reports are inaccurate - the campaign is intended solely for the residents of Japan with the aim of stimulating domestic travel. Residents of total 110 countries are banned from entering the country at the moment.