The spectatorship to the Tokyo Olympics has been limited to the local crowd to keep the further spread of COVID-19 apart. With the Olympics all set to roll out in a month, its organizers on Monday announced that spectatorship has been limited to a capacity of 50% at the Olympic venues with a maximum of 10,000 local fans.
The decision was announced after an online Five Party talks, including the local organizers, the International Olympics Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, the Japanese government, and the local government of metropolitan Tokyo.
The officials have made it clear that the limited capacity of fans will have to adhere to strict rules. They must wear masks, won’t be allowed to cheer, and be directed to go straight home after the game.
Moreover, they added that the stakeholders, who include the sponsors and sporting federation officials, would not be counted in the maximum capacity of spectators allowed in a given venue.
It is already evident that this year’s post-covid Olympic would be unlike any other, with the muted celebration and the absence of a sea of fanfare crowding the streets of the host country. Although the decision to ban the fans from abroad was finalized several months ago, the country’s top medical adviser, Dr Shigeru Omi, had recently advised it would be best to hold the game without spectators, as the risk of the spread of the virus will transcend the boundary of the game venues.
Despite the warnings being issued by health experts, who fear that in a country where half the population is yet to be vaccinated, the crowd at the game might cause a major spike in cases. The organizers are still double-minded to host the tournament as billions of dollars in broadcast rights, and ticket sales are at stake.
3.6-3.7 million tickets are in the hands of Japanese residents alone, which are about 9,00,000 more than the seats that are likely to be available. Seiko Hashimoto, the President of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, has also mentioned a ‘no-spectator Olympics’ possibility if the conditions worsen due to the pandemic.
“We need to be very flexible. If there is an abrupt change in the situation, we will hold a five-party meeting again to make other decisions. If there is an announcement of a state of emergency during the Games, all options like no-spectator games will be examined.” said Hashimoto.
Yoshihide Suga, Prime Minister of Japan, who favoured allowing fans, had announced that he took Dr Omi’s recommendations seriously. Still, if need be, spectators would be banned. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike held the same opinion as Dr Omi.
According to the figures from the Prime Minister’s office, Covid has attributed to more than 14,000 deaths in Japan. The decision to hold the Olympics had seen a mixed reaction from the people of Tokyo. Although the support to host the game seems to be increasing, the opposition to the same remains strong as the risk of the spreading infection continues to remain high under the current scenario.