?742 bil in reserve funds added to subsidies for restaurants

The cabinet decided Friday to use 741.8 billion yen in reserve funds for fiscal 2020 to increase subsidies for restaurants and bars cutting business hours following the latest emergency declaration over the resurgent coronavirus pandemic.
The funding will be provided so that municipalities can offer financial support to operators more easily in return for complying with local requests to shorten their hours, with state subsidies of up to 60,000 yen per day available.
The government increased the upper limit of the subsidy from 40,000 yen when Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared the country's second state of emergency over the virus in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures last week amid a third wave of infections.
The declaration was expanded on Wednesday to cover a total of 11 prefectures also including Osaka, Aichi and Fukuoka.
Under the state of emergency through Feb 7, restaurants and bars are asked to stop serving alcohol by 7 p.m. and close by 8 p.m.
The central government had allocated about 270 billion yen by the end of last year for local governments to provide such subsidies.
The government has set aside a total of 11.5 trillion yen in reserve funds under two extra budgets for the current fiscal year from April to be used in response to the pandemic. Following Friday's cabinet approval, 5.66 trillion yen remains in the funds.

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