Local newspaper Yomiuri reveals Japanese authorities are mulling over expanding eligibility criteria, including a negative COVID-19 test or vaccination history, for fans before entering the Tokyo Olympics this summer. Once inside, spectators might be forbidden from eating, drinking, and cheering.
Yomiuri said the government is considering that all spectators be required to show a negative COVID test within a week before attending the event that is set to run between July 23 and Aug. 8.
Reuters quoted the government's top spokesman Katsunobu Kato, who told reporters that he's unaware of any decision on eligibility criteria.
"To make the Games a success it's necessary to take into account the feelings of the people," Kato said, adding that organizers were planning to ensure measures were in place.
In addition to those measures, wearing masks will be mandatory at all times inside each of the sporting venues. Authorities are considering a ban on eating and drinking at the venues to avoid the virus from spreading. Chaotic and loud cheering, hugging, and high-fiving may also be banned, according to Yomiuri.
Expanding eligibility criteria to enter venues and restrictions within will only apply to Japanese fans because foreign fans and volunteers have been banned. This is a massive blow to the event because it already sold 900,000 tickets to overseas visitors.
This all comes as the island country in East Asia extended a state of emergency covering major metro areas until June 20. Another wave of the virus pandemic has hit nine regions.
Demands for Japan to cancel the Olympics have grown louder since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Japan due to the recent outbreak. There are restrictions in place affecting U.S. citizen entry into Japan.
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Toshiaki Endo, vice president of the Tokyo Olympics, told Reuters that some fans could be allowed into venues. He suggested a total ban would be more assuring to prevent a widespread virus outbreak.
People on social media are appalled by the proposed new restrictions. One Twitter user said:
"If you can't eat, cheer, or do high-fives, what's the point in paying for a ticket and an expensive test?"
The Olympics have already been canceled once, and the latest outbreak of infections threatens to cancel the event for the second time.