Tokyo Olympics to allow up to 10,000 local fans for each event; shouting banned

Up to 10,000 local spectators will be allowed to watch the upcoming Summer Games at each venue in Tokyo, the International Olympic Committee announced Monday.

Organizers have set a 50% capacity for each event, capped at 10,000 people, according to a five-party collective made up of the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Government of Japan.

Officials previously announced that no foreign fans will be allowed into the venues.

The announcement comes amid an ongoing fight over the safety of the Games, which were already delayed from last year, proceeding as COVID-19 continues to run rampant. Last week, Dr. Shigeru Omi, the top medical advisor in Japan, advised banning fans entirely.

“We believe it would be most desirable not to have fans inside venues,” he said during a press conference Friday.

“Regardless of holding the Olympics or not, Japan has continuing risks of a resurgence of the infections that puts pressure on the medical systems.”

Seiko Hashimoto, the president of the local organizing committee, said she had consulted with local baseball and soccer leagues, which have been running with fans, but also warned that the restrictions were likely to be tighter for the Olympics.

The IOC said Monday that masks will be required at all times and that “speaking in a loud voice or shouting will be prohibited.”

Officials also said that they withhold the right to change their minds and ban fans if COVID cases rise.