Restaurant and bar operators in Tokyo are angry at the metropolitan government over a new program to provide coronavirus relief to those meeting requests for business suspensions and other measures, which comes as an existing aid program faces delays.
The new system, devised by the central government, was introduced so that relief money can be paid in advance to establishments that comply with the requests.
The metropolitan government has started accepting applications for the payments while also delaying procedures to accept relief applications for past months under the existing system, drawing fire from many operators.
The metropolitan government is asking establishments that serve alcohol to suspend operations, while those that don’t serve alcohol are being asked to close by 8 p.m. Compliant businesses are eligible for the aid money.
But the metropolitan government has been criticized for being slow to distribute the money. In response to this, the central government decided on the speedier payment system before putting Tokyo under its fourth coronavirus state of emergency on July 12.
Under the new system, restaurant and bar operators submitting written promises to comply with metropolitan government requests can receive ¥40,000 per day quickly after submitting the paperwork. They can also apply for more help later on.
On July 19, the metropolitan government started accepting applications for the relief money under the new system for the period of July 12 to Aug. 8.
But the start of applications for aid money under the existing system for the period form May 12 to June 20 has been delayed to Monday from July 15 as the metropolitan government shifts its focus to the new system. The government hasn’t even decided when it will open applications for relief for the June 21 to July 11 period.
The metropolitan government says it has a system in which the existing relief money can be paid in five days on average after applications are received. But payments tend to be delayed because there are various relief benefits, which can confuse applicants especially when application periods overlap, a metropolitan government official said.
The manager of a traditional pub in Nakano Ward criticized the metropolitan government’s handling of the payments, saying his establishment had yet to receive aid money for previous periods.
“Some eateries are receiving relief even though they are serving alcohol. We want the problem to be resolved,” the manager said.
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