Sadly for certain tourist hotspots, stricter measures must be enacted to protect their residents.

Under normal circumstances, Golden Week is a time many look forward to in Japan. Consisting of a loose string of national holidays starting from April 29 to May 6, Golden Week sees a large influx of travel as people spend the week vacationing or visiting relatives in more rural parts of Japan.

However, with the rise of COVID-19, the Abe administration has been pleading for citizens to stay indoors, with many unfortunately ignoring the government.

For some islands that are known to attract droves of tourists, such as Miyakojima in Okinawa prefecture, the arrival of travelers could mean disaster, heightening the possibility of an increase in local COVID-19 cases and a shortage of essential resources.

▼ Instead of traveling to Miyakojima, consider using a photo of its scenic beaches as your Zoom background instead!

As a countermeasure, the Miyakojima Restaurant Business Association has made a new decision to discourage travelers. One Twitter user, @islandlonely2, who seems to be a resident of Miyakojima, posted a photo of the important signage.

“Guests of Miyakojima will be unable to access this island’s restaurant facilities. Please abstain from traveling, and if you must travel, please do so in a careful manner.” (Translation of posted sign below)

“To our guests, concerning the restrictions for Miyakojima’s restaurants:

As a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Miyakojima Restaurant Business Association has decided to prohibit the entry of all guests to our restaurants. This includes guests who are from overseas, out-of-prefecture, and out-of-island. We deeply apologize for the inconvenience this may cause, and we ask for your understanding as well as your cooperation.”

This new decision is no big surprise. Logically, smaller islands with limited healthcare systems run the risk of being overwhelmed by patients. In a worst-case scenario, affected patients would have to be transported to health facilities outside the island just to receive adequate care.

Twitter users for the most part agree with the island’s measure, showing solidarity and support:

“It can’t be helped. This is all that can be done now.”

“All islands should do this! No one should be traveling anywhere. Stay at home!”

“Y’all better be staying home for Golden Week. Please reconsider traveling if you made plans.”

“I’m from Tokyo, but I wholeheartedly think this is a good measure for Miyakojima.”

“It would be great if people could stop traveling… they should also consider publishing this in multiple languages too.”

While we agree with the association’s decision, having non-entry into local restaurants and bars doesn’t necessarily mean the spread of COVID-19 will be entirely contained. More strict measures, such as banning travelers to the island altogether, may be the only way to fully stop COVID-19’s spread.

▼ @islandlonely2 followed up their original Tweet with a similar sentiment.
(Translation below)

“Right now the issue is that there are still people coming and going between the main Okinawa island and Miyakojima. A few days ago, there was a welcome party for new prefectural workers and they were no doubt meeting in a crowded area. Now they’re in quarantine. I hope the governor of Okinawa keeps in mind that it shouldn’t be about keeping ‘out-of-prefecture’ folks from traveling to Okinawa, but also reminding everyone not to travel so much between the islands in our prefecture.”

As Golden Week approaches, there’s no doubt that residents of more remote areas of Japan are feeling stress and anxiety. Especially in Japan where the number of infections has been increasing at an alarming rate, we can only hope that people reconsider and cancel their travel plans until COVID-19 tides over.

Source: Twitter/@islandlonely2 via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso

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