Japan's government on Thursday approved lifting Tokyo's virus emergency just over a month before the Olympics, but set new restrictions that could sharply limit fans at Games events.
The state of emergency in place in Tokyo began in late April and largely limits bar and restaurant opening hours and bans them from selling alcohol.
What this will mean for the Olympics is:
- The measures will slightly relax the rules on alcohol, allowing sales until 7:00 pm, but still asks restaurants and bars to shut at 8:00 pm.
- With just five weeks until the pandemic-postponed Games open, Tokyo is likely to maintain strict limits on the number of spectators allowed at large events.
- The current state of emergency allows only 5,000 people or 50
percent of venue capacity, whichever is smaller. And on Wednesday, the
government approved an upper limit of 10,000 spectators for areas not
under any restrictions. Those rules are likely to guide Olympic
organisers when they decide in the coming days how many domestic fans,
if any, will be allowed to attend.
- Overseas fans have already been banned from the Games for the first time, and organisers said they would wait to rule on domestic spectators until the emergency was lifted.
- Olympic organisers have given up on selling any more tickets and are weighing a lottery system to determine which ticketholders will be able to attend events, Kyodo news agency reported.
- Newly updated virus rulebooks released this week warn athletes they could be expelled from the Games if they violate requirements like mask-wearing and daily testing.Organisers say more than 80 percent of athletes will be vaccinated and they will be barred from interacting with the Japanese public.