The gold medal for the quietest Olympics will go to this year’s Tokyo Games.
Organizers on Monday said they will allow venues to either hit 50 percent capacity or no more than 10,000 fans, according to Fox News.
However, attending fans cannot cheer for the athletes, and all fans must be Japanese residents. In March, organizers banned foreigners from coming into the country for the Olympics.
That is the plan if all goes well.
“We need to be very flexible. If there is any abrupt change in the situation, we will hold five-party meetings again to make other decisions,” said Seiko Hashimoto, the president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee.
“If there is an announcement of a state of emergency during the Games, all the options like no-spectator games will be examined.”
The Olympics have become a flashpoint for divided public opinion.
A poll taken from June 19 to 20 by the Asahi News Network found 65 percent of respondents wanted the Olympics, first scheduled for 2020, postponed again or canceled altogether, according to the Australian Broadcasting Network.
Nearly 70 percent of those polled doubted organizers’ claims that the Olympics can be held safely.
So far, only about 18 percent of Japan’s population has received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 7.3 percent are fully vaccinated, according to The New York Times.
Japan’s top medical adviser has come out in favor of banning spectators from the Olympics. Dr. Shigeru Omi has said it would be “abnormal” to have the event amid a pandemic, according to NBC.
The risk that comes with fans is not just during events, but through increased crowds in public transportation and other public places.
For that reason, Olympics crowds will be told to go directly home after any event they are allowed to witness.
“We would like people to go directly home from the venue without stopping by anywhere,” organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said, according to Fox News.
Tokyo has just emerged from a state of emergency and is under “quasi-emergency” status until July 11 — 12 days before the Olympics are scheduled to start.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he wants fans to attend, but will ban them if he must.
“If a state of emergency is necessary, I will be flexible and open to no fans in order to achieve that the Games give top priority to safety and security for the people,” Suga said.
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