Tokyo 2020 organizers ban alcoholic beverages at venues, defend spectator permission
30 days before the start of the Olympic Games, plagued by the coronavirus pandemic and controversy, Tokyo Olympics Organizers decided Wednesday not to sell alcohol at venues while defending plans to allow thousands of spectators.
Organizers pushed ahead with preparations for the Games, postponed from 2020 due to the pandemic, despite strong concerns from the Japanese public that hosting delegations from around the world could lead to new outbreaks of COVID-19.
Media reports that organizers were considering allowing alcohol consumption at Olympic venues sparked an outcry earlier this week, with the hashtag “cancel https://www.reuters.com/article/olympics- 2020 / factbox-tokyos-pandemic-hit-olympics -in-numbers-idUKL3N2O310S the Olympic Games “collecting tens of thousands of tweets.
“Following expert advice, the organizing committee decided not to sell and drink alcoholic beverages at the venues in order to prevent the spread of infections,” the Tokyo Olympics president told reporters, Seiko Hashimoto, adding that sponsor Asahi Breweries agreed with the decision to ban alcohol sales.
Alcohol sales were restricted in and around Tokyo after health officials warned that drinking alcohol would encourage close contact, loud talking and mingling in bars that could help. spread the virus.
Previously, Hashimoto had defended the decision of the organizers to allow spectators to enter the Olympic venues.
Japanese medical experts said banning spectators was the least risky option, but also included recommendations on how best to host the Games if spectators were admitted.
Organizers said Monday that up to 10,000 domestic spectators would be allowed to enter the venues. Foreign visitors are prohibited.
“We decided that it would be best to make the best possible preparations for a Games with spectators,” Hashimoto said at a media roundtable attended by Reuters on Tuesday, saying the decision was in line with the recommendations of the medical experts.
“Of course, I understand that holding the event without spectators would reduce the risk, but there is evidence that there have been no clusters at other events and tournaments,” Hashimoto said.
Organizers said on Wednesday they would decide whether or not to allow spectators to nightly screenings, taking infections into account, by July 12, when virus brakes are expected to be lifted in Tokyo and others. regions.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga still does not rule out holding the Games without spectators if Tokyo is returned to a state of emergency, from which he did not come out until June 21. The opening ceremony of the Games is set for July 23.
“The main challenge at the Tokyo Games is to curb the flow of people and limit the feeling of celebration,” Hashimoto said Wednesday. “We are working to make the Tokyo Games safe and secure, so that they are not full of celebration.”
Many Japanese remain skeptical about the possibility of hosting even a small-scale Games safely during a pandemic.
In another blow to organizers’ promise that the Games will be safe, a member of the Ugandan delegation who arrived in Japan over the weekend has tested positive for the coronavirus despite having been vaccinated and tested negative for COVID-19 before. His arrival.
The nine-person delegation canceled its training plans and is currently in quarantine in a hotel, local media reported.
Hashimoto said the incident was proof of the effectiveness of the coronavirus measures in place.
“We were able to identify this person at the border precisely because we had the appropriate border measures in place,” she said.
But the arduous preparations for the Olympics also appeared to have taken their toll on organizers.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike was hospitalized on Tuesday after the metropolitan government said she would take the rest of the week off due to fatigue.
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