The organizing committee of this summer’s Tokyo Olympics said Sunday that participants will be allowed to bring alcoholic beverages into the athletes’ village for consumption in their rooms, as part of efforts to ensure the safety of the games amid the coronavirus pandemic.
To prevent the spread of the virus, the organizing committee said it will not distribute condoms to participants during their stay in the village but on their departure, a break from recent Olympic tradition.
Condoms have been given to participants since the 1988 Seoul Olympics to raise AIDS awareness, according to the committee.
With around a month to go until the start of the Olympics, five organizing bodies of the games, including the Japanese and Tokyo metropolitan governments and the International Olympic Committee, will decide Monday on how many spectators will be allowed at venues.
The organizers are considering allowing around 20,000 spectators for the Olympic opening ceremony late next month, sources with knowledge of the matter said Sunday.
The spectator cap for the ceremony at the National Stadium on July 23 would include both ticket holders from the general public and officials related to the games, the sources said.
The Japanese government has said it will allow up to 10,000 people at events such as sports games and concerts in areas that are not under a COVID-19 state of emergency or a quasi-emergency, as long as they do not exceed 50% of venue capacity.
The government and Olympic officials are considering applying the policy to the Olympics and the Paralympics, due to start on Aug. 24.
For the opening ceremony, however, organizers are expected to create a separate slot for officials related to the games, according to the sources.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has expressed his intent to hold the games with spectators, while the organizing bodies are considering leaving open the possibility of no spectators depending on the coronavirus situation.
Medical experts, however, have voiced concern that allowing spectators at venues may worsen the coronavirus situation. The Tokyo Olympic organizers have released a set of rules and measures to prevent the spread of the virus, but many have questioned their effectiveness.
A member of the Ugandan Olympic team tested positive for the coronavirus upon arrival in Japan and was denied entry to the country, in the first known case of COVID-19 among teams arriving for the games, according to government officials.
The team member, who tested positive at Narita Airport outside Tokyo on Saturday evening, was part of a second group of athletes to arrive in Japan for the Tokyo Games.
Tokyo, which has been under a state of emergency since late April, will shift to a quasi-state of emergency from Monday that is scheduled to last until July 11.
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