Japan convenience stores ease COVID-19 policies

Japan has officially downgraded COVID-19 to a low-level infectious disease, ranking it alongside the seasonal flu. The change means the government can no longer legally restrict public movement.

It also has implications for business. And one place where that's already clear is convenience stores.

The operators of the Lawson, Seven-Eleven and FamilyMart chains wasted no time responding to the change.

They say they're giving individual outlets the freedom to set their own policies on masks, hand sanitizers and partitions.

Staff at this Lawson store in Tokyo have already taken down posters asking customers to practice distancing and take their change from the tray. Some attendants are now working unmasked.

They have also taken down the plastic dividers from the counters and removed hand sanitizers from the entrance.

The manager says things are flowing more smoothly again, and hopefully that means a bump in sales.